The Solar City Program provides financing for property owners — including homeowners, non-profit organizations, places of worship, co-operatives and charities in Halifax — to install solar-energy systems. Those systems can be solar photovoltaic, which produces electricity, solar hot air or solar hot water.
With the Solar City Program, the municipality pays the capital cost and puts a voluntary lien on the property through what’s called a local improvement charge. The owner pays back the municipality at a fixed interest rate of 4.75 percent over a period of up to 10 years. If the owner sells the property, they can choose to either pay off the loan or leave it with the property, to be paid by the next owner.
In multiple reports to council, municipal staff have said that the financing scheme was the first of its kind in Canada. It’s now been duplicated in other Nova Scotia municipalities like Bridgewater, Berwick and Shelburne.