What started as a community solar pilot program to encourage Haligonians to install solar panels for heating domestic hot water has blossomed into a full blown success with more than 400 systems now installed.
Homeowners pay the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia the cost of the panels and installation as a supplement to their tax bill. Halifax set the costs to be roughly the same as the average annual energy savings per homeowner and estimates that most homeowners will have the panels paid off within 10 years.
Energy manager Julian Boyle reported in January 2015 that on an all-in cost of about $8,000 (panels, installation, administration fees, taxes) homeowners are averaging about $600/year in energy savings. “We borrow money to make the system available to them,” he said. “We use the same concept as a Local Improvement Charge but with individual properties to provide turn-key solar thermal installation to homeowners, with financing up to 10 years.”
Solar City 2.0 is now being launched, and will include both solar thermal and photovoltaic. The cost for the combined system (4 kW) will be around $12,000.