On-Farm Solar PV Program Resetting

  From the June 26, 2017 Issue of Agri-News
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 As Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF)’s On-Farm Solar Photovoltaics (PV) program will be closing its present terms and conditions as of June 30, 2017, applications forms under the program must be received by 12 noon on June 30 to be considered. As always under the program, this is a first-come, first-served opportunity.

“We are closing the existing terms and conditions in order to transition and transfer to a new set, and then reopen the program with those revisions,” says Kelly Lund, project engineer, AF. “We have been doing a rate review, and the revisions we are preparing will increase our grant rate to align with the upcoming residential and commercial solar programs. Once our program re-opens, our grant rate will be $0.75/watt – like the residential and commercial programs – with some differences in per cent eligible cost caps, system size caps, and overall grant caps that are yet to be determined.”

When the revised program opens, says Lund, retroactive projects will no longer be accepted.

“A retroactive project would be one that has been initiated (even if it hasn’t been completed) through project activities such as purchasing equipment, delivering equipment to site, construction of system components, etc., since April 1, 2013. This means that anyone that is in this situation must submit their application to us as soon as possible - and it must be received by us by the June 30th deadline - to be considered for funding.

“These projects will NOT be accepted in the revised program, so if applicants miss this deadline, their projects will remain entirely self-funded. We want to make it very clear that even though the existing rates are somewhat lower, the current program is the only option available to projects that have already started project activities.”

For those who are waiting for the revised program terms and conditions with the $0.75/W rate, the only work they could start would be the paperwork approvals, including the micro gen pre-approval, and any permitting. “They can’t yet do things like, for example, purchasing equipment, delivering equipment to site, or constructing system components. Any costs associated with the paperwork approvals, of course, are at the risk of the applicant, as the revised program will still be first-come, first-served basis, and will operate on a pre-approval basis only.”

Lund adds that after June 30, 2017, there will be a clear method for determining which provincial solar PV program an applicant needs to apply to. “In order to be eligible to apply for the On-Farm Solar PV grant program, an applicant must have an electrical distribution rate class that is rated as farm, or equivalent, as of January 2017. If they do not have a farm rate class, they would need to apply to one of the other programs. As an example, irrigation rates or grain drying rates are classes that would be considered equivalent to farm rate.”

For more information, go www.growingforward.alberta.ca and the program page there for the On-Farm Solar PV program for the official details as they become available. “If clients have not already done so, we recommend using the Subscribe button to sign up for notifications, adds Lund. “Potential applicants may also wish to view Energy Efficiency Alberta’s webpage to clarify boundaries between the programs. Finally, if anyone has any questions, they can contact our program contact, Diana Bingham at 780-427-3980.”

Diana Bingham

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Ken Blackley.
This information published to the web on June 14, 2017.
Last Reviewed/Revised on June 20, 2017.