The Province will protect solar homeowners and small businesses in the solar industry with regulations that will stop the proposed net-metering charge in Nova Scotia Power’s most recent rate application.
Premier Tim Houston sent a letter notifying the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB) of the government’s plans today, February 2.
“We agree that it is time for changes to the enhanced net-metering program but the changes we seek will support the greening of the grid, not discourage it,” said Premier Houston. “Our government will bring forward the necessary legislative and regulatory framework that will protect ratepayers and the solar industry in Nova Scotia and help achieve our environment and climate change reduction goals.”
Nova Scotia Power has proposed that, beginning February 1, 2023, new net-metering customers will pay a system access charge of $8 per kilowatt per month. While the charge is not yet in place, the Province will ensure that the charge will not take effect, preventing a direct and immediate negative impact on small businesses and homeowners across the province.
The Province’s framework will preserve the enhanced net-metering program as it was on January 26. The framework will be brought into force before the conclusion of the general rate application proceeding at the NSUARB.
“We have come too far in our fight against climate change and expanding access to renewable energy to risk that progress,” said Natural Resources and Renewables Minister Tory Rushton. “The changes we will bring forward will stop the proposed system access charge in its tracks today and provide certainty for our solar industry and rate-paying families investing in solar.”
The government is also bringing in further measures to grow the solar industry in Nova Scotia, with enhancements to the commercial and community solar programs. These enhancements will make solar power more accessible to everyone, including renters, small businesses and marginalized communities. These changes will also allow for larger solar projects for communities, farms and businesses.
Climate change is one of the biggest global issues today, and Nova Scotia has set one of the most ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Achieving that target requires a range of solutions to expand access to renewable energy, including solar energy.
“As the Minister responsible for the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act, I want to assure Nova Scotians that our resolve in achieving our greenhouse gas emission targets – which includes the use of solar power to reduce emissions – is unwavering. We want Nova Scotians to continue to adopt solar. That is why we invest in programs to encourage Nova Scotians to switch to solar, including $8 million we recently announced for solar retrofits.”
– Timothy Halman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
— the Province has committed to 80 per cent of Nova Scotia’s electricity needs being supplied by renewable energy by 2030
— there are now more than 4,000 solar homes across Nova Scotia
— the solar industry contributed approximately $30 million in private-sector investment to the provincial economy last year
— the proposed net-metering charges from Nova Scotia Power are not in line with the new Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act
NOTE: The following is an op-ed from Environment and Climate Change Minister Timothy Halman.
Many Nova Scotians have made their feelings known about Nova Scotia Power’s application to increase electricity rates by 10 per cent and increase the cost for solar power.
Solar customers and installers are justifiably concerned for the survival of the province’s solar industry.
I want to assure Nova Scotians and the solar industry that this government’s resolve in achieving our greenhouse gas emission targets – which includes the use of solar power to reduce emissions – is unwavering.
As the Minister responsible for the new and ambitious Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act, I am committed to achieving our legislated targets by 2030.
Our government will protect solar homeowners and small businesses in the solar industry by bringing forward regulations that will stop the proposed net-metering charge. I want to thank Premier Tim Houston and Minister Tory Rushton and the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables for taking this decisive action to continue our fight against climate change.
Nova Scotia has set one of the most ambitious targets in the country for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve this, we need to expand access to renewable energy – and that includes solar.
We want Nova Scotians to continue to adopt solar. That is why we invest in programs to encourage Nova Scotians to switch to solar, including $8 million we recently announced for solar retrofits. The industry creates jobs and provides economic benefits. A system access charge for net-metered installations, the majority of which are solar, is not in line with that goal.
Our government will join other intervenors at the Utility and Review Board hearing into Nova Scotia Power’s rate application to ensure any changes granted to Nova Scotia Power are consistent with the goals of the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Act and in the best interest of Nova Scotians.