Alberta funds Solar for Schools to help meet renewables goal

Minister Phillips, Minister Eggen, MLA Annie McKitrick and MLA Chris Nielsen along with students and faculty from Archbishop O’Leary High School announced the Alberta government’s investment of $15 million in the Solar for Schools program.

Solar for Schools funded by Climate Leadership Plan

Some Alberta schools will soon begin harnessing the power of the sun to help offset their energy costs as part of the Province’s Climate Leadership Plan.

On Wednesday, the Government of Alberta announced it will invest $15 million in the Solar for Schools program to install more solar panels on schools.

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister responsible for Climate Change said “schools have stepped up as enthusiastic partners in our plan to reduce emissions, recognizing that the future will be one where economy goes hand in hand with environment”.

“I can’t think of a better class project than rooftop solar panels”.

The installation of rooftop solar panels will mean participating schools will get rebates of up to $1.50 per watt from the solar energy generated.

“This is also about building more efficient schools, so more money goes to the classroom and less goes to utility bills,” said David Eggen, Minister of Education.  Eggen said Alberta students have told him that “they want to be leaders in the fight against climate change”.

“More money goes to the classroom and less goes to utility bills,” added Eggen.

The Solar for Schools program also includes an educational component, so that students and teachers can learn more about climate change and renewable energy technology.

“We have several schools that have expressed interest in solar panels, and this new program will allow us to access funding for solar technology,” said Laura Thibert, board chair at Edmonton Catholic Schools.

“Not only do solar panels provide costs savings, they provide excellent teaching opportunities for our students on renewable energy and reducing our carbon footprint.”

The Solar for Schools program will be available to public, Catholic, francophone and charter school authorities for schools that have not received Alberta Education’s Solar Technology Systems grants.

Interest in the Alberta government’s solar funding program is growing alongside the solar industry, which has grown by nearly 500 per cent over the past three years.  Installed solar capacity has risen from six MW in 2015 to 35 MW in 2018.

Susan Petrina, chair of the Solar Society of Alberta applauds the Notley government for the program.  “Students can get inspired about the future, and neighbours of all ages can see the technology in action – learning about energy systems and the role each one of us plays in making our communities more sustainable for future generations.”

Increasing the amount of solar energy generated by schools supports Alberta’s target of 30 per cent renewable electricity by 2030 by helping Alberta transition to an electricity system that is cleaner, reliable and more sustainable.

School authorities will be able to apply for grants as of Nov. 28 on the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre’s website.

How much funding is available?
Participants are eligible to receive a rebate per watt of total installed capacity ($/W), as per the table below.

The rate tier is determined by the total installed capacity of a project submitted through a single SFS Application.

Total Installed Capacity (DC) Rebate
<10 kilowatts $1.50/watt
10 kilowatts to <150 kilowatts $1.25/watt
150 kilowatts to <2 Megawatts $1.10/watt
2 Megawatts to 5 Megawatts $1.00/watt

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