New regulations allow businesses to generate more power from renewable sources, restrict NS Power involvement

A new commercial net-metering program will let Nova Scotia businesses generate more electricity from renewable sources like solar power.

“In the spring, our legislation cleared the way for homeowners to go green and lower their energy bills without any extra charges,” said Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables. “Now, regulations are in place to create a new commercial net-metering program that will help businesses pay less for power, support our green economy and take us another step closer to achieving our climate change goals.”

Amendments to the Renewable Electricity Regulations establish the framework for the new program, to be administered by Nova Scotia Power.

Most businesses, including licensed aquaculture operations and registered farms and wineries, will be allowed installations capable of generating up to 1,000 kilowatts, though most will not need that much capacity. The maximum in the previous program was 100 kilowatts.

In the small general customer class, most businesses, such as many retail stores and restaurants, will have a limit of 200 kilowatts. Their electricity needs are typically much lower than those of other businesses.

Installations should be sized to meet needs. Businesses will need to work within their electrical capacity and their available space, typically on roofs.

The amendments also:
— set specific duties and responsibilities for Nova Scotia Power to run the program
— allow Nova Scotia Power to count energy generated from net metering toward its renewable electricity standard target
— prevent Nova Scotia Power from imposing additional system access charges
— clarify the definition of an independent power producer so that Nova Scotia Power cannot have part ownership of any independent renewable energy projects.

Nova Scotia Power has until November 30 to finalize plans for the new program and submit them to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board for approval.

“Solar Nova Scotia is pleased with these new net-metering regulations, which will accelerate adoption of solar energy in the province. By enabling larger commercial solar installations, they will create jobs and contribute to the province’s emissions reduction goals.”
     – Dave Brushett, Chair, Solar Nova Scotia

Quick Facts:
— net metering allows customers to reduce the amount of electricity they buy from the grid by generating their own with renewable energy installations like solar panels
— any excess energy flows onto the grid and the customer gets a credit on their next power bill; if a customer needs more energy than they produce, they buy it from the grid
— changes to the Electricity Act in the spring removed the requirement for residential customers to get their installations approved by Nova Scotia Power and prevented the utility from imposing system access charges

Additional Resources:
October 2022 amendments to the Renewable Electricity Regulations:

April 2022 amendments to the Electricity Act:

Electricity Act:

Source: Release

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