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The Solar Electricity for Community Buildings Pilot Program

The Solar for Community Buildings Program enables eligible community groups and organizations to generate solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity on their roofs or properties and sell it to their utility under a 20-year contract.

This program will reopen to applications in 2018 and 2019.

The successful applicants for 2017 are:

Applicant: Size: Price:(cents/kWh) Description:
Dalhousie University 50kW 15 Installation on the roof of the IDEA building
Town of Antigonish 50kW 23.5 Rooftop installation on the Water Treatment facility of the Town of Antigonish
Town of Yarmouth 50kW 23 Rooftop solar array on the Yarmouth Fire Department building
Municipality of the District of Argyle 25kW 22.5 Install spread across two buildings at the West Pubnico Treatment facility
Municipality of the District of Yarmouth 50kW 22 Addition of solar panels to an office building in a local business park
Parrsboro Band Association 35kW 22.5 Install on the south-facing Band Hall roof
Municipality of the District of Yarmouth 50kW 22.5 Rooftop install on the Yarmouth County Solid Waste Authority building
Glooscap First Nation 22kW 39 Rooftop installation on the yet-to-be constructed facility adjacent to highway 101
Ecology Action Centre 7kW 36 Addition to the Ecology Action Center's existing Fern Lane rooftop install
Atlantic School of Theology 50kW 25 Rooftop array on the south-east roof of the School's library building
NSCC - Ivany Campus 39kW 35 Array installed onto part of the building that was originally designed to receive solar panels
Municipality of the District of Argyle 50kW 22.5 Array on the roof of the West Pubnico fire department
Collaboration Cape Breton University and Tugliq 50kW 25 Addition of solar panels to a building on campus at Cape Breton University
Collaboration Cape Breton University and Tugliq 50kW 25 Addition of solar panels to a building on campus at Cape Breton University
Collaboration Cape Breton University and Tugliq 50kW 25 Addition of solar panels to a building on campus at Cape Breton University
The Hospice Society of Greater Halifax 12kW 26 Installation on the roof of the Nova Scotia's first residential hospice. A Passive House designed building currently under construction
St. Francis Xavier University 18kW 28 Addition of solar panels to the Physical Science Complex, at 5009 Chapel Square, Antigonish
Waycobah First Nation Band Council 15kW 38 Roof top installation on the band council office, facing the visitor entrance

This is a pilot program run by the Nova Scotia Department of Energy. The program’s goals are to

  • support community participation in renewable energy generation
  • learn more about how solar electricity can help Nova Scotia continue its clean energy transition

Eligible groups and organizations are invited to submit an application for review. In your application, you propose the price at which you want to sell the electricity generated by your project. You determine your price by first completing the workbook. The workbook guides you through the calculations needed for your application as well as eligibility considerations.

  1. Download and complete your workbook (PDF 10.3 MB)

Eligible organizations include:

  • Mi’kmaq bands in Nova Scotia
  • registered non-profit or charitable organizations, including churches
  • municipalities or organizations wholly owned by a municipality
  • universities or Nova Scotia Community College

As per the regulations, the intention is to distribute successful projects both geographically across the province and between eligible groups.

Buildings and ownership

The program works on a one application per building process. Eligible organizations must submit separate applications for each suitable building.

You do not have to own your building to participate in the program; however, you will need to consult the building’s owner and obtain written permission. The building’s owner should be aware of the size, timing, funding model and construction impact of the project.  You will need to agree on what will happen to the installation if your organization moves to a new building.

The contract with your utility contains a clause to allow you to pass on the contract in the case that your organization needs to move or sell. There may be a change to the rate paid for electricity if the new owner is not eligible for the program.

Size and sites for your project

There is no minimum requirement for the size of your project. Larger installations will likely be able to set a more competitive price, however organizations are welcome to apply for any size installation to a max. of 50kW.

Solar PV can be installed on your roof, or on property within 100m of your building on adjacent structures (such as a parking garage) or the ground.

Note: You must not clear forested or agricultural land to make space for the panels.

Costs and benefits

Under ideal conditions, a well-sited solar array produces about 1,100 kWh every year for each kW of panels. If you constructed a 20 kW solar array, and sold your electricity for 25 cents per kWh, you would make around $5,500 each year from your utility.

The cost of buying and installing solar PV equipment for this project can range from $20,000 to over $200,000 and there are other costs as well. You must be in a position to finance all project costs.

Data collection

Data such as solar production, construction costs, geographic area, and building orientation of successful projects will be collected and made public on the Nova Scotia Government’s Open Data web page.

Obligations

There is no obligation to install your system once the contract has been awarded to your organization. We simply ask that you inform us so that your capacity can be recycled back into the next cycle of awards.

Program timeline

The program will run over three years, with the next intake occurring in 2018. If chosen for this program, you will sell electricity to your utility under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

Contact us

Questions about the program

Send your questions about the program to

Technical questions

If you have technical questions about interconnections, metering, inverters, or sizing requirements, you can contact or your municipal utility.