2018 HAT Smart program seeking council approval

By Leah Murray
December 7, 2017 - 5:44pm Updated: December 7, 2017 - 7:08pm


MEDICINE HAT – On Thursday, the energy and utilities committee was presented with the 2018 HAT Smart residential incentive program.

City staff are proposing rebates for solar systems, air sealing, new homes that meet EnerGuide ratings and ENERGY STAR rated clothes dryers.

Several of these offers piggy-back or compliment rebates being offered by Energy Efficiency Alberta (EEA).

While the City is offering rebates on dryers, the province is offering money back on washing machines.

Deygan Fowler with the city says they wanted to have complimentary programs to help residents save more.

“The program is very popular too and we are looking at ways to optimize the savings for our homeowners,” she explained. “So, having the complimentary and stacked funding we felt that it was a balance for our community.”

Terralta Inc. Has been involved in the renewable energy business for around 15 years.

They are continuing to see more and more people investing in solar panel systems for their homes.

The HAT Smart program for this year includes funding for solar panels and 100 per cent of the rebate money has already been used.

The popularity of that program and the fact the province is also offering rebates on solar is part of the reason it’s also being included in the 2018 HAT Smart proposal.

Terralta’s director of operations, Marcus Campbell, said solar power systems have never been more affordable than they currently are.

“Prices are in the basement right now, it's never been more economical,” said Campbell.

He said an average 5 kilowatt solar system would cost a homeowner around $12,500.

For many that is a pricey investment, but the rebates from the city and the province mean ultimately the homeowner will pay less than half of that cost.

The City of Medicine Hat is proposing a rebate of $0.75 per Watt to a maximum of $5,000. EEA is also offering a $0.75 per Watt rebate to a maximum of $10,000.

Homeowners can apply for rebates from both levels of government meaning the total rebate would be $1.50 per Watt.

Those rebates would save homeowners $7,500, meaning they would only be on the hook for $5,000 of the total cost.

However, Campbell said prices for solar power systems could go up over the next few years.

“The forecast for 2018-2019 is that we're going to see prices start to rise,” he explained. “Costs are increasing [for] imports from China and lots of tariffs being increased, so it is going to push the price up.”

The city's Hat Smart proposals will be going to City Council on December 18.

If approved, the new program will go into effect January 1.

Rebates will be available on a first-come first-served basis.

Provincial government announces incentive program for large carbon emitters; local impact not immediately known