Amendments to Electricity Act Create New Renewable Energy Opportunities

The province is creating new pathways to clean, renewable energy sources with amendments to the Electricity Act introduced today, April 7, by Energy and Mines Minister Chuck Porter. 

“Nova Scotia is a national leader in fighting climate change and we have set some of the most ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction goals in the country,” said Mr. Porter. “The amendments we’re introducing will help grow the solar industry in Nova Scotia, creating green jobs while giving individuals, communities and businesses more options to use renewable energy sources and keeping rates stable. This is the first step to creating new solar programs in Nova Scotia.” 

The new Shared Solar Program will reduce barriers to solar adoption for communities and businesses. It will also allow those renting an apartment to adopt solar energy through a shared ownership or subscription model. Details of the program will be determined in consultation with communities and stakeholders, to respond to local concerns and needs. 

Under the new program, municipalities, First Nation bands, co-ops, and not-for-profits can create community solar gardens which can help reduce energy poverty and directly benefit communities. 

Amendments will also allow non-residential customers to scale up their solar installations while still benefiting from the program. A new project cap will be determined through stakeholder engagement.

The amendments introduced to the Electricity Act will continue to expand the options for renewable energy by creating an avenue for community-driven renewable energy projects and the potential for green jobs. It will not affect power rates for those not participating.

“We were excited to learn of the announcement of the Shared Solar Program. Solar power in general offers great employment opportunities in renewable energy and the scale of community solar projects takes these opportunities to a higher level, involving financing, engineering and design with high quality jobs. As a company in a rural location, SKYLIT is eager to see this program develop to create these diverse opportunities for our company and for our community.” 
     – Andrew Bagley, president, SKYLIT

“Municipal participation in community solar is an excellent way for towns to generate new revenue and save money, at the least cost to ratepayers, as we transition to clean energy.” 
     – Mayor Laurie Boucher, Town of Antigonish

“Increased usage of solar energy is an important component of Mahone Bay’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Action Plan which aligns the town with the provincial emissions reduction goals in the Sustainable Development Goals Act.” 
     – Mayor David Devenne, Town of Mahone Bay

“This change in legislation will create skilled trades jobs in every corner of the province through the construction of new large-scale solar projects.” 
     – Mayor Don Clarke, Town of Berwick

Quick Facts: 
— the provincial government recently announced it would join the federal government in moving to renewable energy sources for all its electricity needs by 2025 through the Green Choice program
— in 2015, government launched the Electricity Plan to give Nova Scotians unprecedented rate stability, which will continue for at least another three years

Additional Resources:
Electricity Act:

Nova Scotia’s Electricity Plan:

Source: Release #notw

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