Canadian city of Toronto launches a new energy loan initiative to boost solar adoption

KEY POINTS
  • The City of Toronto — with funding from the federal government — has unveiled a new energy loan initiative that will make going solar far more affordable and accessible.
  • The revamped Home Energy Loan Program will offer up to 125,000 in interest-free capital and will run until the allotted funds run out.
  • As it may only stand for a few months, Toronto homeowners should act to secure their zero-interest loan ASAP.

Toronto — North America’s fourth-largest city and Canada’s primary economic engine — has unveiled an enhanced Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) offering interest-free capital for homeowners looking to make sustainable property investments.

Homeowners can now access easy financing for solar panels, electric heat pumps, geothermal systems, upgraded insulation, energy-efficient doors and windows, electric vehicle charging stations, and more. Up to 125,000 in financing is available with 20-year amortization periods.

Eligibility for the program includes detached and semi-detached homes, townhouses, and duplexes and triplexes. Additionally, tax-exempt properties like non-profit homes, churches, and supportive housing can now take advantage of HELP, something which was previously omitted.

There are also financial incentives available — including a $1000 rebate for rooftop solar — that can be utilized in tandem with the interest-free financing.

Plus, homeowners can make use of the recently-announced Canada Greener Home Initiative, which offers grants up to $5,000 for climate-friendly upgrades (including solar panels).

Though the HELP program has existed since 2014, it formerly offered low-interest — not interest-free — loans, which are far more attractive to homeowners.

Unfortunately, the city has cautioned that zero-interest loans and grants won’t be available forever. Instead, like most other municipal green programs across Canada, it will run until “the funding allocated [is] fully subscribed, after which homeowners [will continue to have access to] low-interest financing.”

According to a press release from the City of Toronto, “ homes and buildings are [currently] the largest sources of emissions in Toronto, generating approximately 57 percent of total community-wide emissions.”

Most of these come from heating and hot water processes that rely on natural gas.

The HELP program is funded by the federal government through the Green Municipal Fund and will be administered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

“Improving the energy efficiency of our homes and buildings will be key to reaching our net-zero target by 2040 and advancing our TransformTO Net Zero climate strategy. Ongoing investment and action from all levels of government will be required to address the climate crisis,” said John Tory, Mayor of Toronto.

The city has set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2040 — a recently sped-up timeline.


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