In Nova Scotia, solar power contractors are raising concerns about payment delays that are impacting their business operations.
A CBC Nova Scotia report says they are waiting for up to eight months to receive payments from the Canada Greener Homes Loan program, despite the program’s promise of payment within 10 days of job completion.
The Greener Homes Loan program, a federal initiative, offers a 10-year, interest-free loan up to $40,000 to homeowners for energy efficiency improvement projects like solar power installations.
The goal of this program is to incentivize homeowners to embrace greener technologies, thus promoting sustainability and energy conservation.
John Jennex, the Executive Director of Solar Nova Scotia and President of Solar Ascent, voiced his concerns about these delays.
He emphasized that smaller installers, in particular, struggle with cash flow due to the significant upfront costs—around $35,000—associated with solar installations. Many of these costs are tied to parts necessary for the installations.
The program requires homeowners to undergo a home energy audit, obtain quotes from installers, and apply through a designated portal.
The entire process, from application to installation, can take about two months. However, the subsequent wait for payment has proven to be much longer, putting a strain on contractors.
Brian McKay, President of Aztek Solar, shares this concern. His business has grown by 300 to 400 percent due to the Greener Homes’ programs, but the delayed payments have led his company to seek bridge financing.
McKay highlighted the challenges of sustaining the increased business without timely compensation.
While the program allows for an advance payment up to 15 percent of the project cost, Jennex sees this as insufficient. He urges Natural Resources Canada, the department responsible for the Greener Homes program, to expedite payments post-project completion.
The department spokesperson, in response to these concerns, did not provide specifics on the average payment time under the program or any measures to expedite payment. They encouraged homeowners facing delays to share their experiences.
Adding to these frustrations are the extended timelines for obtaining permits and booking inspections through Nova Scotia Power.
Other contractors are expressing concerns about these additional delays affecting customer satisfaction and project timelines. With these compounding issues, the solar power contractors are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their businesses, underscoring the need for prompt action and remediation from the relevant authorities.