Here is all the info you need to take advantage of Canada’s interest-free solar loan and $5,000 grant through the Greener Homes Program.
Canada’s Greener Homes Program provides a solar grant of $1,000/kW up to a maximum of $5,000. This typically covers 30% – 40% of the cost of an average-sized solar PV system. As a homeowner, you must apply to this solar incentive program yourself.
The Greener Homes program also offers a 10-year interest-free solar loan up to a maximum of $40,000. The loan piggybacks on the Greener Homes Grant. To be eligible for the loan, you must be eligible for the grant first. The application portals for the grant and loan are the same.
Step 1: Apply for the Greener Homes Grant
If you are considering solar, it is best to get your application to the Greener Homes Program in as soon as possible. There is no cost to apply and you can always cancel your application at any time if you don’t end up getting solar. The login process is similar to your MyCRA account in that you can use your online banking to log in and apply.
During the application process, you will be asked to select your preferred service organization (energy assessment company). For the most part, they all provide a similar service at a similar price, so this is not a critical decision. Feel free to ask anyone at Glean who they recommend for your location. Sometimes Glean can speed up the process with certain service organizations.
Step 2: Get a pre-solar EnerGuide evaluation
Your chosen service organization will contact you to schedule a pre-solar EnerGuide evaluation, which typically costs $450-$650 depending on the size and location of your home. The greener homes program provides an additional $400 towards this cost. This evaluation analyzes how your home uses, wastes and creates energy. As part of a home energy assessment, a home energy expert will:
- Complete a blower door test to identify air leakage spots
- Use a thermal imaging camera to reveal insulation gaps
- Measure the thickness of attic and wall insulation
- Provide you with an EnerGuide label and rating which is required to access grants
- Provide you with a home energy assessment report that includes recommended energy efficiency projects
We recommend double-checking with your energy advisor to ensure they include solar as a recommended retrofit on your home upgrade report. Your energy advisor must upload your EnerGuide Label to the Greener Homes program which will allow you to proceed with the grant application.
Step 3: Get 3 solar quotes
You can use Glean’s free solar quote service to save time and easily compare 3 solar quotes with the help of a Glean solar expert. Otherwise, you are free to solicit and compare quotes from 3 separate companies independently.
To use Glean’s free quote service fill in some information about your home here. We will then begin the work to obtain solar quotes for your home from our network of verified installers. Once we get the quotes we will reach out to you to schedule a quote review call to explain the differences and unique features of each quote and take some time to answer any questions you may have. You will receive a detailed summary comparing the most important aspects of each quote.
Step 4: Apply for the interest-free solar loan
You will be notified when your energy advisor has submitted your EnerGuide Label to the Greener Homes portal. At this point, you can begin your application for Canada’s interest-free solar loan. You will have to upload documentation to the loan portal, such as:
- your property tax statement
- your driver’s license or other government ID
- a utility bill
- confirmation of income and employment (for example, a job letter or a T4 slip)
- your Glean solar quote summary
Step 5: Choose a solar installer & pay a deposit
Glean will review each solar quote with you and outline the unique differences between each installer. We will help you decide which solar installer best aligns with your values. Once you have made your decision we will connect you with your chosen solar installer to finalize a contract.
The only way to secure the price you’ve chosen is to provide the solar installer with a deposit. This will allow the installer to begin the process of permitting, finalizing your solar design, engineering, and ordering equipment. Once you have been accepted to the Greener Homes Loan, you can access up to 15% of your available loan funds to contribute to your solar installer’s required deposit amount.
Step 6: Install Solar!
Your chosen solar installer will let you know when they plan to come to your house to install solar. Depending on the size of your system, it could take anywhere from 1-5 days to complete the installation. They will install racking bars, solar panels, and inverters on your roof. They will then connect the system to your electrical panel, ensure everything is working properly and connect your smartphone to energy monitoring software.
Step 7: Schedule your post-solar EnerGuide evaluation
Once your solar installation is complete, you must schedule a post-solar EnerGuide evaluation with the same energy advisor that completed your pre-solar EnerGuide evaluation. This evaluation is typically much quicker and cheaper ($250 – $350) than the first evaluation. The greener homes program provides an additional $200 towards this cost. This assessment proves to the Greener Homes program that you’ve installed solar and made your house Greener!
Note that in addition to the $5,000 grant for solar, the Greener Homes Program provides an additional $600 for the costs you incur to get both energy assessments.
Again, your energy advisor must upload your post-solar EnerGuide Label to the Greener Homes program which will allow you to proceed.
Step 8: Upload receipts to your program portal
Now that you’ve had 2 energy assessments and installed solar, it is time for the home stretch! You will be notified when your energy advisor has submitted all the necessary information into the portal so you can review your EnerGuide evaluation documents.
At this point, you will need to upload the following documents:
- 1 receipt for your pre-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation that is marked “paid”
- 1 receipt for your post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation that is marked “paid”
- All receipts and invoices marked “paid” from your solar installer for solar installation costs
- A copy of the interconnection agreement issued by your local electrical authority provided by your solar installer
Step 9: Use the loan to pay the remaining balance
You will be notified when your documents have been reviewed and approved. The final approved loan amount will be deposited into your bank account (less the initial deposit amount, if you received one) within 10 days. You can then use this amount to pay the remaining balance owed to your solar installer.
Step 10: Recieve your grant cheque
If you’ve installed a solar array over 5kW, you will receive a cheque for $5,600. Which is $5,000 for solar and $600 for the energy assessments. There is no guaranteed timeframe to get your cheque, but we’ve found that a few months is typical.
Step 11: Repay the loan with solar savings
In most cases, we’ve found that the loan payments are relatively close to the expected electricity bill savings generated by solar. This means that over the 10 years that you are repaying the loan, you aren’t out money because of the savings generated by solar. Once the loan is paid off, the electricity bill savings will continue and even grow as grid electricity prices rise!
What is Glean?
Glean is a broker of solar quotes that was built by Canadians to make solar easier for Canadians. We provide you with 3 solar quotes, an easy-to-compare quote summary (that includes a detailed financial analysis) and a quote review call to answer your questions. Our service is free for homeowners! With Glean, there’s no back-and-forth with multiple installers. You get our unbiased opinion to help you make the best decision for you and your family!