The Alberta government has launched a $36 million rebate program for the installment of solar generated power in households and commercial establishments.

This initiative aims to reduce the cost of solar energy in Alberta and is expected to generate approximately 900 jobs in Alberta for the solar sector.

"It's going to help the solar industry grow, which is very important because long term plans need to have a huge amount of solar in it," said Gordon Howell, professional engingeer with Howell-Mayhew Engineering. "The industry has been growing at 95% per year for the last seven years, but we still have a long way to go to catch to where the rest of the world is."

Approximately 99% of Canada's solar electricity is in Ontario.

The installation of rooftop solar panels for homeowners, businesses, and non-profit organizations could be as early as summer.

This rebate will cut solar installation cost by 30% for homeowners and 25% for businesses and non-profit organizations.

"This is a way to help reduce the cost of installation," Howell added. "It helps to grow the market, but it also reduces the cost because the industry is larger, there is more competition, and there is more people actively working so that makes the warehouses and installers busier so there is less overhead and cost to the customers."

Solar power reduces greenhouse gas emissions primarily from coal and methane fired generating plants. The initiative is projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the province by a half million tonnes. This is equivalent to removing 100,000 vehicles from the roads.

"It creates a lot of ideas for people to create more innovative things like starting to manufacture solar or racking systems in Alberta because the market is growing," said Howell. "Ontario put in a very large solar program for the sole purpose of helping their industry grow so they can serve the world and you do that always by having a local market to begin with."

A third party contractor will oversee the program that is predicted to have 10,000 solar panels on the rooftops of Albertans by 2020.

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