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  • Writer's pictureSpencer Newson

"Is the End of the $5000 Greener Homes Grant a Setback for Environmental Progress?"

In short yes, but for a long answer, no. Lets dive in to this below!


Energy Canada has announced the end of the Greener Homes Grant. The $2.6B budget has been nearly all used up with 550,000 applications to date. Rumor has it applications will close on February 12th, 2024. So the question is, should you rush to get it now, or wait for future grants?


Only the $5,600 grant will be getting the axe on the 19th, the Greener Homes program will continue with the Greener Homes Loan offering a $40,000 zero-interest loan set to proceed well in to 2025. While the grant has certainly helped people install heat pumps and solar on their homes, we believe the loan is the more important part of the program - especially for lower income households.


Don't get me wrong, the grant helped bring a typical home solar payback period from 10 years to about 7 years, which is a substantial difference! But a 10 year payback with a 25 year system is still easily worthwhile. A typical homeowners monthly expense is reduced during the loan payback period. After this they should easily have 15 years of generation from the paid off system. With only the loan as an incentive, solar is easily cost saving and worthwhile for the vast majority of homeowners.


GET THE GRANT NOW!!!

With all this information the questions remains, "Should I rush to get the current $5,600 or wait for a possible future grant?"


We have no reason to believe any grant will be added again. The program is still effective without the grant so it is entirely possible we won't see an incentive like this again. I would highly suggest signing up for the grant ASAP at the link below below rather than waiting.



TIME FOR SOME SPECULATION


In my opinion this program is far from over. While we know the Greener Homes Loan will continue for at least another here, there are some significant improvements that should be made to this program to streamline the process and increase uptake over the next 26 years.


1 - LET US DEAL WITH THE GOVERNMENT

One of the biggest issues we have seen throughout these projects is all of the confusion as homeowners try to navigate such a complicated process. The process is complicated for good reason, but I don't see a good reason for the homeowner to have to bare the brunt of coordination. We do everything we can to streamline this but if the government would work with businesses instead of just individuals we believe we could increase the convenience factor for homeowners.


2 - MORE FUNDING UPFRONT

Currently the program includes a 15% maximum down payment. Since most installers (including us) require materials to be paid before installation and the materials account for 50-70% of a project, this is wildly insufficient! Most customers require bridge financing or some other method to pay us and then are stuck paying interest on that debt while they wait for the program to reimburse them. If the program could issue 60% upfront direct to qualified businesses, we could further simplify the process and ensure that lower income homes that need the cost-of-living reductions solar provides will have access to them.


3 - OPEN THE FLOODGATES

Canada has set some impressive and required goals for the energy transition. 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2050. We believe these goals are within reach and we are loaded and ready to help Canada achieve our goals. If we are to believe the governments (federal, provincial and municipal) are actually intent on achieving these goals, we will need to see a drastic increase in incentives and a huge reduction in regulations.

I firmly believe the biggest thing we need to do in order to electrify Canadian homes is streamlining the process. Regulators need to get out of our way so we can do our jobs and governments need to remove microgeneration limitations and take control away from private enterprises that are doing everything in their power to slow down the process (looking at your Fortis). We also need to remove the ups and downs by depoliticizing electrification and ensuring programs made to reduce emissions are immune to less responsible governments that could potentially win elections and intentionally slow down the process for wrong founded ideological reasons.


Lets make this a industry more robust and immune to politics so that we can move forward on our global commitments and avoid climate catastrophe. We can and will win this battle.



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