- Canada’s Toronto has improved its HELP program to offer zero-interest loans for homeowners in the city
- It includes such loans of up to $125,000 to be offered for 20-year duration for retrofits for rooftop solar PV, geothermal, new windows and electric heat pumps
- Homeowners will also be able to access the Greener Homes Grant from the federal government, for up to $5,000 support
The City of Toronto in Canada has enhanced its Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) to offer zero-interest loans and incentives—including for rooftop solar PV—to enable homeowners make their homes more energy efficient.
The HELP program with its low-interest loans has been in effect since 2014 and has supported 245 home retrofit projects, but now the administration is offering zero-interest loans. These will be available till funds last post which interested homeowners can go back to accessing low-interest loans.
Specifically, there will be interest-free loans of up to $125,000 for terms of up to 15 years. A 20-year validity will be offered for retrofits for rooftop solar PV, geothermal, new windows and electric heat pumps, stated the administration.
It is also offering incentives for specific measures for rooftop solar PV and deep retrofits that can lower a home’s emissions, along with for electric heat pumps that can replace a home’s natural gas furnace and air conditioner.
Properties that will be considered eligible to make use of the enhanced HELP program include tax-exempt properties as non-profit homes, supportive housing, rooming houses, as well as detached, semi-detached, row/townhouses, duplex and triplex apartment buildings.
Toronto counts homes and buildings are accounting for the largest emissions in the city with some 57% of total community-wide emissions. This is mainly due to natural gas being used for heating and hot water supply.
Funds for the enhanced program come as a loan of up to $9.712 million from the Green Municipal Fund of the federal government to be used for zero-interest loans, and a grant of up to $4.856 million.
Part of proceeds will also be used to train and educate contractors and other industry stakeholders, to become Net Zero Renovator, qualified by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association.
In addition, homeowners will also be able to access the Greener Homes Grant of up to $5,000 at federal level.
“Today’s $14.5 Million investment will enable the City of Toronto to build on the Home Energy Loan Program’s (HELP) legacy of retrofitting hundreds of homes, in line with Toronto and Canada’s ambitious climate targets,” said Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson. “This is a tangible step towards bringing energy efficiency, job creation, and affordability to communities across Ontario and Canada.” Toronto aims to become a net zero carbon emitter by 2040.
Details about the HELP program are available on the City of Toronto’s website.
Earlier this year in January 2022, the Canadian province of Nova Scotia approved $8 million for SolarHomes program to support single-family homes to install solar PV systems (see North America PV News Snippets).