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How Much Can I Save With Home Solar?

Updated: Jun 21

There has never been a better time to invest in solar. Prices are lower than ever as global solar production accelerates. There are also incentives up to $5,000 for home solar in Nova Scotia. Add the reassurance that the sun always rises and you have a very attractive (and lucrative!) investment indeed.

Financial Benefits - Make Money From the Sun!

If your home has good solar exposure such as a sunny roof facing South (+/- 90º East or West), solar can be one of your best and most reliable investments. Many of our quotes for residential grid-tied solar in Nova Scotia have a return on investment (ROI) between 7% and 10% with a payback period typically between 8 and 10 years. Once a system has paid for itself, it will continue to generate savings every day the sun shines with additional savings up to $85,000* for a 12 kWp system over 30 years (up to $40,000 for a 6 kWp system).

Homeowners can save up to $85,000* and 295,000 kg in green house gases over 30 years with a 12 kWp solar system.

This takes into account the purchase price of the system, which generally costs between $15,000 and $26,000 for a 6 kWp to 12 kWp system (including tax and rebates).

Roof mount system facing True South at 34º to the horizontal (8/12 pitch roof)
12 kWp Grid-Tied Home Solar System in Halifax, Nova Scotia (typical*)

Not only does solar make economic sense, it can also greatly improve our environment, curb climate change, and benefit future generations.

Environmental Benefits - Cleaner Skies With Solar!

Every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of solar energy produced can reduce green house gases (GHG) such as carbon dioxide (CO2). Solar systems 6 kWp to 12 kWp in scale will typically generate 7,000 to 14,000 kWh of emission free electricity every year, significantly cleaning up the air while reducing the demand for coal and oil, and the need for more mining and drilling and the resulting environmental impacts.

Solar systems 6 kWp to 12 kWp in scale will typically generate 7,000 to 14,000 kWh of emission free electricity every year.

In Nova Scotia, we rely heavily on imported coal and oil for our electricity resulting in high GHG emissions per kWh from the electrical grid. A study in 2018 concluded that each kWh of electricity produced in Nova Scotia results in 720 grams** of GHGs. In other words, a 12 kWp solar system can save well over 10,000 kg of GHGs per year, eliminating up to 295,000 kg of GHGs over 30 years! That is a tremendous benefit for everyone around the globe, especially our children and future generations.

Residential Solar Rebates

If you had an energy audit prior to February 2024 as part of the Canada Greener Homes Grant program, your solar PV system could be eligible for up to $5,000 ($1.00/watt DC).

Another option is the Nova Scotia Solar Homes Rebate up to $3,000 ($0.30/watt DC). Although this rebate does not require an energy audit, it does require pre-approval by Efficiency Nova Scotia (we apply on your behalf). This rebate is still open to new applicants.

Note that the above two rebates can NOT be stacked or combined.

Additionally, if you install a home battery system you could be eligible for up to $2,500 ($300/kWh) as part of the Nova Scotia Home Battery Pilot Program. This rebate CAN be combined with either of the above solar PV rebates.

Financing Programs

To help pay for your solar system (if needed), there are financing programs such as the federal Greener Homes Loan, a 0% interest loan up to $40,000. The Greener Homes loan requires a home energy audit, after which, homeowners can then apply for the loan prior to installation. Loan processing time is typically less than one month and once approved, a 15% loan advance can be requested. The remainder of the loan can be requested after installation is complete and following the post-retrofit energy audit (to confirm installation is complete and validate solar system details). Funds are typically transferred to the homeowner within a few weeks.

Note that although the Greener Homes rebate is no longer open to new applicants, the 0% interest loan is!

There are also PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing programs throughout Nova Scotia including the Halifax Solar City Program, which allows you to pay for your home solar system via your property tax, typically financed at 4.75% over 10 years. Such programs allow you to pay back the loan with the solar savings you make so you hardly notice a dent in your bank account. That said, if you have the funds available and can avoid the cost of borrowing, you will maximize your savings.

More PACE financing options for outside Halifax Regional Municipality are offered by PACE Atlantic and Clean Foundation. Learn more here.

With or without loans, solar is an excellent investment and is one of the best things you can do for your bank account, property value and the environment.

More than 348,000 Nova Scotians were left without power after Hurricane Dorian
Hurricane Dorian caused massive power outages

Emergency Back-Up Power

If you are also interested in adding battery back-up power to your home (or cottage, RV, boat, or business) solar generators and solar battery systems can be life savers and absolutely necessary for critical operations and heat in winter. Unlike grid-tied solar systems that require the grid to be operational in order to generate power (e.g. no solar power during blackouts - a safety feature to protect power line workers), solar generators and solar battery systems can provide solar power and back-up power anytime, anywhere.

Although more expensive, solar battery systems are generally favoured where the grid is unstable or selling to the grid is not possible or economical, where energy independence is highly valued, for mobile applications, and of course, beyond the reach of the grid.

Solar Hot Water

Heating water with the sun is another great way to save money and help the environment. In Canada we also have one of the best solar hot water heating systems in the world, The Solar Boiler System, manufactured in Nova Scotia. Thermo Dynamics Ltd. has been refining the art of solar thermal and pioneering solar in Canada since 1981!

The Solar Boiler System has been installed all over the world, from Siberia to Africa, Switzerland to Japan, and was selected for the award winning Halifax Solar City program when it first launched in 2012.

It was also the highest performing system in Canada out of all CSA approved 2-panel solar water heaters, and features a solar powered pump for a 100% solar powered solution! Even after hurricanes, ice storms, and black-outs, the Solar Boiler System can faithfully heat water for homes without power.

The Solar Boiler System generally produces 2,000 to 3,000 kWh per year and costs $6,547 to $7,694 plus tax (1-panel and 2-panel system, respectively). In Nova Scotia it is eligible for a $1,000 rebate that, when factored in to the total cost with tax, results in an ROI from 5.6% to 7% for year one, depending on which system and whether you install it yourself (installation cost starts at $1,600 plus tax). Keep in mind that ROI will improve each year as heating costs increase, and the savings can certainly exceed the above estimates with increased hot water demand and cooperative usage (e.g. using the hot water when the sun shines).

Together we have over 100 years of combined experience in solar!

Join The Solar Family

If you would like to know how much you could save with solar, contact us for a free estimate. We are happy to help and can provide you with a quote that details costs, savings and return on investment for your home.

We work with our partners (and literally our family) at Thermo Dynamics Ltd. and Quality Solar to provide unparalleled service and solar expertise. Together we have over 100 years of combined experience and have been leading the solar industry since 1981.

Read more about Alto Solar and the Allen family here.

Exhibiting solar pumps and solar systems at Intersolar Europe Munich 2011 with Thermo Dynamics Ltd.
Exhibiting our Solar Systems and Solar Pumps at Intersolar Europe 2011

Tomi Allen is the founder of Alto Solar Inc. a Canadian solar technology company specializing in the design, development and deployment of solar products and systems for off-grid adventures and on-grid demands. Learn more at

* Estimated Savings for 12 kWp Grid-Tied Solar System = Total savings after purchase price of system including tax and rebate. Calculations based on $0.1842 per kWh (average residentical electricity cost + 5% tax), 2.9% annual electricity inflation, 0.5% annual solar panel degradation, 15% total system losses (shading, electrical, dirt, availability, etc.), 1.3 DC to AC ratio, and 96.5% inverter efficiency for a 12 kWp DC solar PV array facing true south at 34º to the horizontal (8/12 pitch roof) in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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