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How climate change has helped greener energy businesses take off in Canada

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Many Canadian businesses have been hit hard in recent years, from the pandemic to the war in Ukraine to climate change.

But for some, climate change is also a boon. government subsidy Canada aims to improve energy efficiency Net zero emissions by 2050.

All this is part of a global shift towards greener energy options. Solar energy now provides the most renewable jobs in the world — 4.3 million jobs by the end of 2021 — report By the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in cooperation with the International Labor Organization (ILO) of the United Nations.

IRENA reports that 700,000 new renewable energy jobs have been created worldwide in the past year, bringing the total number of jobs in the sector to nearly 13 million.

Sellers and installers of solar panels, heating and cooling systems, and fuel also say the drive to find greener ways to combat heat and cold snaps caused by extreme weather events caused by climate change is fueled by solar and electric power generation. It is driving unprecedented demand for options. Efficient upgrades like a heat pump.

The federal government has announced details of a new grant to help low- to middle-income Canadian households switch from oil to heat pumps, electric appliances that can both heat and cool their homes. . (Yvette Blend/CBC)

Consumers choose heat pumps

A heat pump is an electrical device that uses many of the same components as refrigerators and air conditioners, such as compressors, condensers, expansion valves, and evaporators, and can be used to both heat and cool a home.

Canada on Monday Oil to Heat Pump Affordability (OHPA) Grantdesigned to help low- to middle-income households switch from oil to heat pumps.

This grant provides up to $5,000 depending on household income and covers costs such as the purchase and installation of heat pumps and the safe removal of oil tanks.

But even before that announcement, the heat pump installer said business was already booming.

Based in Toronto, Ricardo Ramberansingh runs heatpumps.ca, ductless.ca and Boiler Shoppe.

He says he sells hundreds of heat pumps in Ontario because customers are “ripping gas furnaces” out of climate change, fuel costs and environmental concerns.

Watch | New grant helps homeowners switch from oil to heat pumps.

Ottawa announces $250 million grant to help homeowners switch to heat pumps

The federal government has announced a new $250 million grant called the Oil-to-Heat Pump Affordable Grant.

According to Lamberanchine, the business is spectacular.

“In fact, we made a conscious decision to move in this direction. We are consciously aware of the impacts of climate change and are doing all we can.”

For competitive reasons, Ramberansingh does not disclose the exact number of heat pumps installed, but said sales have increased by 300% over the past few years.

“I think the world has seen the dramatic impact of climate change. It is the reality we live in.”

A sea of ​​solar panels stretches to the horizon, and several workers in safety vests can be seen.
Workers install 1,000 solar panels on the roof of Snowcap Enterprises in Burnaby, British Columbia. (Kurt Petrovich/CBC)

Shift to solar

Kaleb Rodgers of Rikur Energy Inc. in Burnaby, British Columbia, said solar sales increased significantly when the pandemic hit. The company was installing about 30 systems a year, and has grown to about 75.

Each system costs between $15,000 and $30,000, but Rodgers says: Canada’s Greener Housing Initiativewill launch in May 2021 to help people offset their “large upfront payments”.

Rodgers points out that many people are very proud of their system, and customers say that because solar power means “bringing clean energy back into our environment,” only the environment She says she feels she is contributing not only to people, but to the general public as well. hydro grid. “

This is also an incentive, as BC Hydro allows customers to use the surplus energy generated by their solar PV system to offset future energy bills.

Federal and provincial grants, including Greener Homes and OHPA grants and rebates provided by BC Hydro, are in place to help Canada reach its zero emissions goal by 2050, helping people We help you renovate your home.

Brad Gordon (left), owner of Rikur Energy, talks with Rodgers about inventory for installing solar arrays. Rodgers says many customers feel that solar power makes a difference because it allows them to bring clean energy back into the hydroelectric grid. (Ben Nerms/CBC)

Greener Homes grant sparks interest

Natural Resources Canada’s Greener Homes initiative provides grants of up to $5,000 and interest-free loans of up to $40,000 for energy-friendly home renovations.

As of September, the program had more than 196,000 grant applications, according to the government, with more than 38,000 in the first week of the program’s launch in 2021. $69 million in grants to nearly 19,000 homeowners

As of November 14, the program had issued 3,202 grants for solar panels, 8,572 grants for heat pumps, and 11,123 grants for window and door upgrades.

According to Chris Palliser, spokesperson for The Shift Energy Group in British Columbia, the program is helping to initiate change.

He said Canada is about five years behind the United States in adopting solar energy, but is following the same path when it comes to energy efficiency.

“The United States is like our crystal ball. Now in California, all new buildings are mandated to have solar power,” Palliser said.

Shift Energy Group began designing and building solar energy storage systems in western Canada and is now expanding to the east coast.

According to Palliser, the cost of solar panels has dropped dramatically over the past decade, and it’s now cheaper to generate electricity using solar arrays than it is to pay for hydroelectric power. How cheap it will be depends on the prefecture.

He says falling solar panel prices aren’t the only reason business is booming.

“Climate change is playing a big role,” said Palliser. “What’s happening in our face is a heat dome, a river in the atmosphere. I think people are paying attention and thinking something has to be done.”

View | Workers install solar panels on the roof.

Solar panel installers work on the roof of Snow Cap Enterprises in Burnaby, British Columbia.

When complete, the array is expected to generate 0.5 gigawatts of power annually, offsetting the company’s $19,000 monthly hydroelectric bill by a third.

He said a diverse group of thrifty investors, climate activists, energy independence seekers and tech trendsetters are facing rising energy costs and changing weather.

Since 2020, The Shift Energy Group’s solar installation rate has increased sixfold and has hired 35 new employees in the past six months, Palliser said.

“There is a demand, everyone is looking at solar,” he said.

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