Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows

 

Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows,
Everything that’s wonderful is sure to come your way!

Sung by Leslie Gore – 1963

 

The summer solstice brought the formal announcement of an Alberta government rebate program to install solar panels on residential homes and commercial buildings. Homeowners can receive up to 30 per cent off solar panel installation costs up to $10,000. 

HOMEOWNERS CONSIDERATIONS

POLICY IMPACTS

From a public policy perspective it is hard to get enthusiastic about this plan:

  • The Alberta government will use Carbon Tax funds – de facto taxing one form of energy producer (i.e. coal) to subsidize and catalyze the more expensive solar option.
  • The cost of the program is $36 million over two years. The outcome is expected to be an increment of 50 megawatts. When you consider Alberta’s installed capacity is nearly 14,000 megawatts (40% coal 40% natural gas) a shift of .04 of one percent isn’t much of an outcome. But perhaps it is good retail politics.

BOTTOM LINE

  • Severely Normal Albertans should look this gift horse over very closely. The feasibility of solar electricity is very location specific, maintenance is required and the return on investment (even with the subsidy) is challenged.
  • As public policy the funding will have a negligible affect on the electric energy profile in Alberta, but maybe it will make you feel good.