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UBCM proposes increased support for solar panels, water systems

While the province supports heat pumps, there are no equivalent incentives for home and building owners to increase their own supply of renewable energy
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Vancouver Coun. Adriane Carr says people need B.C. Building Code support if they choose to incorporate solar panels in their homes.

Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) delegates have called on the B.C. government to add financial incentives for home and building owners to install solar panels and solar hot water systems as demand for renewable forms of energy increases.

A City of Vancouver resolution presented Sept. 15 at the UBCM annual convention in Whistler said the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 and BC Hydro’s five-year electrification plan promote rebates to purchase electric heat pumps that incentivize British Columbians to switch from using fossil fuels to hydro-electricity to heat their homes and hot water to combat climate change.

But no equivalent incentives exist for home and building owners to increase their own supply of renewable energy or to reduce the demand for hydroelectricity.

Vancouver Coun. Adriane Carr said most people “are acutely aware we are facing a climate crisis.”

As such, she said, movement to renewable energy sources and away from fossil fuels needs to be supported.

The resolution further asked that the province modify the B.C. Building Code, and include in a future B.C. Existing Buildings Alterations Code, specifications, including design and placement standards, and load-bearing requirements for solar and solar hot water systems.

Carr said building code requirements need to be altered for those who choose to install solar panels and solar hot water systems.

In 2009, the UBCM asked the province to provide incentives to encourage new construction to be pre-plumbed and pre-wired for future solar panels or other alternative energy installations.

In response to that, the UBCM said the province indicated it had been working to introduce regulations under the B.C. Building Code that would “allow local governments to adopt solar-ready requirements for single-family homes.”

The annual UBCM conference gives officials an opportunity to address issues impacting the province and its people. It wraps up Sept. 16.