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Canada experiences high demand for green heat subsidy

The demand across Canada for financial subsidy for green heat systems has exceeded expectations, but the programme is still under-allocated.

Natural Resources Canada has received 899 applications for incentives under its ‘ecoENERGY for Renewable Heat’ programme since the subsidy was launched in April 2007. The C$36 million programme to support green heat technologies expires in March 2011 and, to date, the federal government has contributed US$7.4m towards 337 completed projects green heat, split evenly between solar air heating and solar water heating systems.

The demand has exceeded NRCan's expectations, with another 316 approved green heat projects under construction (which will receive US$6.7m), says programme manager Diane Morglan. There are also 61 applications under consideration (which would receive US$1m in incentives), representing average NRCan funding of US$22,000 per system.

NRCan hopes to fund another 700 applications which must be approved by 2011, or the green heat programme could leave US$21m in non-allocated spending.

The green heat programme’s terms and conditions, set in March 2009, allow for maximum funding of US$400,000 for solar hot water system installations, compared with the previous US$80,000. The incentive is calculated as a function of the performance factor of the solar collector, the incentive rate which varies by the type of collector and geographic location, and the area of the solar collector. Eligible projects must be completed within 9 months of signing a contribution agreement.

Assistance under the ‘ecoENERGY for Renewable Heat’ programme is available only for green heat installations in the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors. Four provinces provide matching funds: British Columbia; Ontario; Quebec and Saskatchewan.

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Green building  •  Solar heating and cooling