2022-01-31 • Halifax, NS
Solar Nova Scotia is asking the Province to step in immediately to prevent layoffs and save the solar industry. Nova Scotia Power’s recent submission to the Utility and Review Board asks for a solar access charge on net metered customers that will devastate the solar industry across the province. The proposed charge of $8.00 per kilowatt per month - submitted with absolutely no consultation with the local solar industry - would result in an average annual fee of $960 to solar customers.
“This fee will have a profound impact on the solar industry in this province,” stated David Brushett, Chair of Solar Nova Scotia. “The fee will cut customer’s electricity savings in half and completely erode consumer confidence in “going solar” and will limit customer choice in terms of how they get their electricity,” Brushett further stated.
There are over 50 solar companies in Nova Scotia supporting hundreds of jobs in communities around the province. In 2021, the solar industry contributed approximately $30 million in private-sector investment to the Nova Scotia economy while helping to reduce the province’s greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 250,000 tonnes.
In 2019, the Canadian Solar Industries Association released a report projecting over 1100 solar jobs in Nova Scotia by 2030 with over 17,000 homes with installed solar. These projections are clearly unobtainable if the access charge is approved.
A number of local solar installers have expressed concern about the future of their business.
"These proposed changes have cast immediate doubt and disruption to the Nova Scotia solar industry. They have effectively destroyed any shred of consumer confidence and trust in the utility. No one will be booking an installation beyond February 1st, 2022 – I will be out of a job by the summer," stated Matt Grant, Territory Manager with Wattsup Solar.
“I started my business in 2018 spurred on by provincial and federal government support. It seemed solar energy was a big part of our future and had strong political support and huge demand from the public. We have provided our staff with valuable opportunities to learn and develop skills in the field of renewable energy. Unless the Province takes a stand against Nova Scotia Power immediately, we will be shut down within months and my team will likely have to change industries or move to a more solar-friendly province like Alberta to gain employment,” stated John Jennex, Owner of Solar Ascent.
The Utility and Review Board could take over a year to reach a decision on this matter. Even if the proposal is rejected, the impacts are immediate and catastrophic for the industry. Customers will not move forward with a project after February 1st given this uncertainty with the net metering program.