About Solar City

Solar energy for homes

Since December 2022, we’ve committed $20.1 million in financing for the installation of solar energy systems and created 7.30 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy in the municipality. These systems are expected to save property owners a total of $1.43 million annually in utility costs and reduce annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by about 6,080 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e).

The Solar City Program offers property owners in the municipality financing for solar energy options. There are complementary financing options available through the SolarHomes Rebate, which is administered by Efficiency Nova Scotia. You can apply for a Canada Greener Homes Grant or a Canada Greener Homes Loan from the federal government. All of these programs can be combined with Solar City financing to take the financial burden off property owners and accelerate our transition to green technology.

Learn more about participating in the Solar City Program.

What is the Solar City Program?

The Solar City program offers property owners in the municipality access to innovative solar energy options, which can be financed through a solar collector account with the Halifax Regional Municipality. After the completion of the pilot program, Halifax Regional Council approved the continuation of the program which aims to:

  • offer an innovative financing option to avoid the large, upfront cost of solar energy installations
  • offer the option to install three unique solar energy systems
  • provide support and guidance  to ensure the selected technology is best suited for their energy consumption needs
  • meet the municipal Community Energy Plan objectives
  • meet the municipal Economic Strategy objectives
  • meet the municipal Regional Plan objectives by supporting healthy, sustainable and vibrant communities 

Who can access the solar city program?

  • residential property owners
  • non-profit organizations
  • places of worship
  • co-operatives
  • charities

Property owners can choose to install one, or all, of following solar technologies: 

Solar electric

  •  use the Nova Scotia Go Solar Guide for information on choosing a qualified solar installer, determining  if solar is right for your home, and incentives & programs available in the municipality. 
  • generates electricity to be used throughout the building when needed. Additional electricity can be sold to Nova Scotia Power.
  • average system cost of $20,000. Estimated savings of $57,000 over 25 years
  • off-grid systems also eligible for financing
  • may be eligible for the SolarHomes rebate through Efficiency Nova Scotia

Solar hot air

  • reduces energy costs associated with space heating
  • average system cost of $4,000. Estimated savings of $6,000 over 15 years. 
  • may be eligible for the Green Heat rebate through Efficiency Nova Scotia

Solar hot water

  • reduces the energy costs associated with heating hot water and can be applied to all water based pre-heating needs including swimming pools, space heating and domestic hot water
  • average system cost of $9,000. Estimated savings of $20,000 over 25 years. 
  • may be eligible for the Green Heat rebate through Efficiency Nova Scotia

For more information on each technology view Efficiency Nova Scotia's Solar Fact Guide.

Solar City financial basics

The Solar City program involves a voluntary financing application where the property owner enters into an agreement with the municipality to access funds that offset the capital costs of installing solar energy systems on their property. The municipality places a voluntary Local Improvement Charge (LIC) on the property after the solar contractor is paid at the end of the project. The LIC is an additional annual charge and is separate from the property owner’s annual property tax bill. This LIC mechanism is described in detail in Solar City Bylaw S-500 [PDF].

The LIC payments are made over a period of 10 years at a fixed interest rate (4.75%) with the option for the property owner to pay the balance in full and subsequently remove the lien at any time without penalty. The charge for the solar energy system is applied to the property, not the individual.  If a property owner moves before the financing is repaid, the property owner has the choice of paying the remaining balance off in full at the point of sale, without penalty, or transferring the charge to the next property owner as long as both parties agree to the transfer.

Find the Solar potential at your property


Solar Energy Upgrades for Municipal Buildings

The Front of the Fort Needham washroom facility

Fort Needham Park washrooms

In June 2022, we opened a new public and universal washroom at Fort Needham Memorial Park. The new washroom is the first building that meets our new net-zero construction standards, which means that 100 per cent of the building’s energy is generated on-site or off-site through a renewable source. The washroom also meets the municipality’s Standards for Universal Access to Municipal Facilities.

The facade of the Mackintosh depot

Mackintosh Depot

Completed in December 2022, the Mackintosh Depot houses teams from Public Works and related municipal services. This new facility includes the largest solar panel installation across our facilities as well as LED lighting, electric vehicle charging stations and a bike room. With 208 solar panels, the tilt panel system provides 80 kilowatts of renewable energy.

Learn more about our solar energy upgrades for municipal buildings.