• Aubrey Blair-Pattison

Maximize your Canada Greener Homes Grant in Alberta



What is the Canada Greener Homes Grant?

The Canada Greener Homes Grant (CGHG) was launched by the federal government in 2021. It helps homeowners retrofit their property to lower their carbon footprint. The grant offers up to $5,000 for specific upgrades to homes following an energy assessment by an approved energy advisor.


What does the fund cover?

Following the energy assessment, you get recommendations on ways to improve your home’s efficiency. These can include things like adding or improving solar panels, windows, heat pumps, and insulation (see the full list here).

If you’re only going to do one upgrade to your home with the CGHG, you should seriously consider solar, since it’s the only option that will also provide you with additional income from multiple sources in the long run.


How much of the solar panels does the grant cover?

While the cost to install solar panels varies depending on whether your roof needs improvement, local costs for labour, and costs of materials – you can expect to spend between $12,000 to $25,000 for the total cost of the installation.


The CGHG will cover $1,000 per kW that you install, so if you install at least 5kW, you should see the full $5,000 applied to your system.


This can take your up-front cost of the system down to between $7,000 to $20,000. This is the investment you make before your panels start making money through their electricity production.


How can your panels make you money?

Source 1: Selling your power back to the grid/ Not having to purchase power from the grid

The cost of solar panels is offset by the value of the electricity that they produce - which is electricity that you don't need to buy from the grid. What's more, any electricity you produce that you don't use yourself, you can sell back to the grid.


The payback for a system will vary, but is estimated to take between 12-15 years. (If you are in Calgary, and want to see the City of Calgary’s solar calculator for your home, check it out here). Solar panels, however, continue to produce electricity long after the payback period has finished, with the expected lifespan to be 25-30 years. This means that you benefit from the production long after you’ve paid for the installation costs.


Source 2: Earn a decade of annual income by selling your Carbon Offset Credits through Solar Offset

In Alberta, you can now join Solar Offset, a new program specifically set up to help you earn more money from your system. The money you earn from Solar Offset, is in addition to the earnings you receive from selling excess power to the grid AND can be combined with the Canada Greener Homes Grant!


Solar Offset’s program is set up to help you access carbon markets (which you cannot do alone in a cost effective way) and to receive income for helping to offset carbon emissions on Alberta’s grid.


Carbon offsets are created when you displace electricity production that would have otherwise been produced by a carbon-heavy source such as coal or natural gas. The offsets are permanent, and eventually reduce the carbon intensity of the grid as a whole, benefiting everyone in the process.


Solar Offset’s calculator can show you how much you can get paid for your system over the 10-year carbon crediting period. The payback depends on a number of factors, including the price of carbon, which is expected to rise to $170/tonne by 2030 (source), but typically the price for an offset is ~80%-90% of the price of carbon. The bigger the system you have, the bigger your offset credit value can be.


Conclusion

By itself, the CGHG is a great way to help homeowners fund energy efficiency improvements, all of which lower your home’s energy expenses over the long run. However, using it to add solar can not only reduce your costs but actually create income - paying you above your energy savings from exported electricity and from carbon offset credits from Solar Offset.


Want to learn more about Solar Offset? Want to see if your system is eligible? Head over to solaroffset.ca/sign-up.

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