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Need money? In Canada, get low-interest financing for renewable energy upgrades.

As of January 2023, More communities will provide access to financing for renewable energy upgrades under Canada’s Clean Energy Improvement Program (CEIP). This program is a low-interest financing program that allows homeowners (and in some cases area businesses) to pay for the installation of energy-efficient materials, equipment, or the installation of renewable energy systems such as a geothermal energy heat pump. Not every community in Alberta has signed up for the CEIP yet, and not every communities’ involvement looks the same. Regardless, this can be a way for homeowners to move away from fossil fuels and into renewable energy technologies like geothermal.

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How the program works

The basis for CEIP is the same across Alberta. Participating cities and towns pay the purchase and installation costs for home improvements that are specified on the program's list of eligible upgrades. The list of eligible upgrades is the only thing that is the same for every participating community. Once accepted into the program, after the work is completed, homeowners will pay their community back over as long as 20 years, at a low-interest rate. The payment becomes part of the homeowner’s property tax bill.

The  program is administered by the Alberta Municipalities Association, and funded by each city or town. A participating community passes legislation that sets down the terms and conditions of participation. So far, a total of 12 towns and cities in Alberta have joined the program, and nine of those communities passed the prerequisite legislation in 2021.

As of 2021, these communities are taking part in Canada’s Clean Energy Improvement Program (CEIP) :

  • Athabasca
  • Calgary
  • Canmore
  • Devon
  • Leduc
  • Okotoks
  • Rocky Mountain House
  • St Albert

Each community was able to determine the details of its program, so each one is slightly different. Some communities have put a little extra into the mix with supporting financial incentives for completing the program. All of them require the project to have a minimum cost of $3,000.

What’s different here and there

The upgrade financing opportunity across the program is for existing “low-rise” housing. Most programs will let homeowners pick just one upgrade from the eligible list, but in Edmonton, a minimum of three upgrades must be on the application. No other communities have that requirement.

The repayment mechanism is the same in every community, but the interest rate attached to the loan varies. The majority of communities set their rates between 3 percent in St.Albert and 4 percent in Devon. Two communities, Rocky Mountain House and Canmore, have attached the rate in some fashion to either the BMO or ATB prime rates, both of which have been in the five percent to six percent range.

A little something extra

Some cities and towns have thrown in an extra incentive to residents that complete the program, in the form of cash. The town of Devon will give homeowners $500,  Rocky Mountain House is offering $700,  and Leduc and St. Albert have the highest incentive, with $1,350 and $1,400 incentives respectively. All of the communities say that incentives will only exist as long as the money for the incentive program is still available.

Signing up

The process for entering the program involves a number of steps. First, a prequalification form must be submitted. If accepted, the homeowner must have an EnerGuide home evaluation conducted and filled out the program application. This will include details on the proposed project or projects.  Once accepted, agreements are signed, and the project installation can get started. Homeowners must use a contractor that is registered and part of the CEIP program. Any approved contractor can help the homeowner through the application process.

No time to wait

As mentioned above, some communities have already filled up for this year, and are only taking applications for a waitlist. Others have closed the pre-qualification process for the moment. But, others including Edmonton are just launching their program, and Calgary’s program won’t launch until January 2023. A homeowner interested in the program can find out more from their communities website, the Alberta Municipalities website, or from a contractor registered with the program.  

Envirotech Geothermal proudly serves the Lakeland, Calgary, and Edmonton, Alberta regions including Canmore and Rockyview helping homeowners and builders to discover the benefits and features of geothermal heating and cooling. Contact us today to learn how you can save up to 70% on your heating and cooling bills by utilizing geothermal heating and cooling in your home. Call us at 780.220.0842 or request a Geothermal Consultation for more information.

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