- NSPI has proposed to levy system access charges for solar homes and businesses in Nova Scotia, Canada
- It aims to charge solar customers for using its grid infrastructure to feed excess power to the grid and for using grid electricity
- CanREA believes this would be detrimental for the province’s solar industry and erase close to 60% of economic value of solar net metering
Canada’s Nova Scotia Power Inc (NSPI) proposal to the provincial government to slap a system access charge of CAD 8.00 ($6.30) per kW of solar PV capacity per month for net metering customers has the Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA) up in arms.
NSPI wants to charge solar homes and businesses that generate solar power for self-consumption, for using its power lines and infrastructure to feed excess power to the grid or to use grid electricity on days the solar system doesn’t produce enough.
CanREA says the proposed charge would ‘devastate’ Nova Scotia’s solar industry and the government needs to challenge the proposal and restore consumer confidence. It explains that the system access charge would represent close to CAD 800 ($630) annually for an average solar home.
This would ‘erase’ approximately 60% of the economic value of solar net metering, says CanREA, and have a direct impact on small businesses and homeowners.
“We are calling on the Government of Nova Scotia to intervene to ensure that Nova Scotians can continue to pursue rooftop solar installations and make significant climate-friendly investments in the province,” said CanREA’s Vice-President of Policy, Regulatory and Government Affairs, Brandy Giannetta.
Taking note of this resistance, NSPI issued a statement on January 29, 2022 with its President and CEO Peter Gregg offering to reach out to meet with industry leadership to have a dialogue over the issue and dispel concerns.
However, Gregg also added, “We see a strong and fair Net Metering program as a critical part of reaching our shared goal to get Nova Scotia off coal by 2030. Today, the energy and service provided by NSP to solar customers is being subsidized by all of NSP’s other customers. Our intent in the General Rate Application is to address this fact and find a solution with the regulator that is fair for all customers.”
Nova Scotia aims to increase the share of clean energy in its power mix to 80% by 2030, and one of the ways to achieve this is to allow end consumers to become solar prosumers. It already has programs like Shared Solar and Solar Homes to support the growth of solar. CanREA counts more than 4,000 solar homes in the province at present that are helping lower carbon emissions while generating clean energy jobs.