Antigonish has new solar net-metering program

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ANTIGONISH – The town’s new program to allow property owners to install solar panels and sell clean energy back to the municipal power grid – announced yesterday – creates new incentives for green energy in Antigonish and will help the town accelerate its shift to sustainability.

With net-metering, home-owners, business owners and organizations can sell their extra solar power back to the grid during high production periods in the summer. This builds up credits to be used during the winter, when solar is less productive. As a result, the town will burn less coal, and solar system owners will enjoy faster paybacks on their investments.

Antigonishers will soon be able “bank” any extra energy they supply to the grid. In any month, if you buy any energy from the grid when you have “banked” energy, you draw down your banked balance at the rate of 1 kWh banked per 1 kWh consumed. At the end of every year, the Town buys back any “banked” energy you may have at the rate it buys from Nova Scotia Power Inc. This can knock years off the payback time for investments in solar power systems. Other jurisdictions that have introduced net-metering or “feed-in tariffs” have enjoyed huge increases in solar installation.

The news comes after a multi-year consultation process between the Town of Antigonish and local environmental groups, in particular the Antigonish Community Energy Co-op, which promotes solar power and organizes solar group-buys in northeastern Nova Scotia.

“We are extremely pleased with this initiative by the town,” beams David Morgan, Antigonish Community Energy Co-op president. “We initially approached the town in 2015 with a request to set up net-metering. We are fortunate to live in a town with leaders who appreciate that the long-term benefits of sustainable energy far outweigh the short-term difficulties involved in making the shift. We would like to extend our sincere thanks, and congratulations, to Mayor Laurie Boucher, Town CAO Jeff Lawrence, and Steve Scannell, who carried out research, and of course to the rest of our town councilors.”

The Co-op is gearing up for its second solar equipment group-buy, which will close on May 31. Co-op members can participate in the group-buy for savings of up to 15 per cent on solar panels and gear. The 2016 group-buy saw over $376,000 worth of equipment installed – the equivalent of taking approximately 103 metric tonnes of CO2 out of the air every year.

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