Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

Green subsidy: « The fall will be massive. It

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An energy advisor conducts an assessment in Nicolas Gautier's home in Calgary.

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When will it end? This is the unanswered question for Canadians who want to benefit from the federal Greener Homes Initiative. The lack of clarity on the future of the subsidy worries many companies who fear a massacre in the energy efficiency sector.

In November, Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson admitted that funds allocated to the popular energy efficiency retrofit program were running out faster than expected, but he did not give a deadline for ending the program. #x27;admission of new requests. The Initiative was expected to last until 2027.

The program will accept new applications until all currently available funds are awarded. Canadians who have already started an application process under the program will remain eligible for applicable assistance, Natural Resources Canada said in an email response without providing a specific date.

Further information on the progress of the program will be provided to owners, partners and industry stakeholders shortly. p>

Canada's Greener Homes Initiative allows homeowners to get up to $5,000 for the installation of solar panels, heat pumps or new windows with the requirement for before and after energy efficiency assessments the work.

Natural Resources Canada manages requests for most provinces except Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia. As of January 2024, 503,604 applications have been received.

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In Ontario, the company Enbridge Gas which manages the However, the federal grant with other discounts has suspended new applications since January 19 (New window). The first energy assessment, required to obtain the subsidy, must be carried out before February 29.

We were told in November that the program would end by the end of March. It could have been December, January, it could still be February, we don't know, laments Stephen Farrell, president of the VT group, which includes three energy efficiency companies in Alberta and British Columbia.

We have asked and continue to ask for clarity [from Natural Resources Canada].

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Energy Efficiency Businesses President Stephen Farrell would like clear direction from Natural Resources Canada on the future of Canada's Greener Homes Initiative.

Uncertainty surrounding the program's future has created a flood of calls from worried customers to his companies. Some already in the process fear not receiving the refund. Others want to register as quickly as possible.

I tell them: let's assume the date is the end of February and sign up by then.

Stephen Farrell canceled all its employees to respond to as many people as possible. Priority is given to the first energy assessments.

This is the year of survival . The goal is to save as many jobs as possible.

A quote from Stephen Farrell, Chairman of the VT Group

This influx of activity, however, is little consolation compared to the consequences of the premature end of the Initiative.

We're doing 500-600 [reviews] per month right now. If there are no more grants, we will be lucky to do two per month, worries Stephen Farrell.

Nicolas Gautier had his house in Calgary assessed so that he could then install solar panels and benefit from the federal subsidy.

On the other hand, the owner admits that if the process did not require him to do so, he would have skipped the evaluation stage.

I am not sure that in the context of installing solar panels, it will be very useful since the consumption before and after will be the same. […] The house is very new.

Stephen Farrell hopes to be able to keep all his employees by distributing them among the other activities of his group, but he notes that to prepare, companies must have the information on hand.

The fall will be massive. We need clarity, he says.

Energy Werx Alberta shares the same concerns. The energy assessment company has quintupled its staff over the past three years to meet demand from the Canadian Initiative.

This is so worrying. We have 20 employees who have invested their time and money. We're asking them to give their all in the next six weeks to help as many people as possible, and then what happens?, says co-owner Rachael Murphy.

She notes the federal government spent $10 million to train 2,000 counselors.

We will never have enough work to keep all our staff if the grant ends.

A quote from Rachael Murphy

However, energy advisors are not the only ones to worry. Solar panel installer Zeno Renewables has revised its targets 30-40% lower for this year in anticipation of the end of the Initiative.

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The number of solar panel installations on small sites increased by 30% in one year in Alberta.

According to co-chairman and CEO Gursh Bal, the uncertainty surrounding the future of the program is causing many customers to hesitate. Many people stop the process and wait to see what happens, he explains.

Energy efficiency advisors are busier than ever because they are the first stop. But downstream, installers like us, those of windows, those of heat pumps are suffering. We are lacking liquidity because clients are holding back for fear of not being approved.

This creates concern for our customers and concern for us. Due to the lack of communication, our teams are anxious.

A quote from Gursh Bal, co-CEO of Zeno Renewables

The Association Canadian Energy Advisors hopes that even if the subsidy ends, Canadians will recognize the importance of getting an assessment of their home.

The new building code should also encourage greater energy performance.

Energy Werx co-owner Rachael Murphy, however, fears that the sector will struggle to recover.

We could lose a huge portion of trained and specialized employees in the field. They will go find another job and then we will have to convince them to come back. It would be very destructive.

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