Electric utility rebates and incentive programs for Canada’s greenhouse growers and vertical farmers

Electric utility rebates and incentive programs don’t stop at the border. Many of Canada’s 151 electric utilities operating across 10 provinces and 3 territories offer varying degrees of award dollars, supporting greenhouse growers and vertical farmers advancing energy-efficiency construction projects.

According to Hort Americas, often the greatest challenge is understanding where and how to evaluate eligibility and qualification engagement. The company states:”You can rely on the Hort Americas team to align your needs with utility incentive programs, as evidenced by our success in securing over $3 million in incentives for Canadian growers.”

Agricultural programs cover businesses that grow crops or are involved in agricultural production. Many utility incentives may cover farm-specific equipment or more general equipment when completing an energy-efficient construction project.

“The Hort Americas team will advance your lighting, HVAC, or any other eligible measure qualification to make sure you maximize their incentive award. We simplify the Canadian utilities’ complex rules of engagement with their rebate programs, pre-approval processes, and lighting product compliance when selecting LED Design Lights Consortium (DLC) products required for eligibility qualification,” the Hort Americas team explains.

Ontario’s Save On Energy offers a new retrofit rebate program incentivizing LED grow lights, exhaust fan ventilation (high efficiency), recirculation ventilation fans, lighting controls, and more. Horticulture lighting incentives are for both top lighting and inter-lighting, along with making incentive dollars available for advanced lighting controls. In the province’s southwest region, incentives are available for photovoltaic (PV) panels with battery storage.

Hydro Quebec’s business agricultural incentive program offers LED lighting rebates for horticultural purposes (photosynthesis). This program rewards growers for energy savings overall, light spectrum changes leading to improved crop quality, increased yields per hectare, and longer product service life. Eligible funding is determined on photosynthetic photon flux (umol/s) and takes into account the amount of natural sunlight in a greenhouse or enclosed building.

Natural sunlight in a greenhouse can get you incentives between $40 to $500, depending on the qualifying photosynthetic photon flux (umol/s) range chart. This program also supports rebate consideration for innovative greenhouse measures such as aerothermal and geothermal heat pumps and accumulation reservoirs.

Similar to Ontario & Quebec, British Columbia Hydro & Power Authority (BCHydro) offers a utility incentive program for energy-efficiency improvements. Installing contractors are required to register in the Alliance network to qualify for incentives. The BCHydro program offers incentive awards up to 75% of your project cost — with a maximum award ceiling.

Growers need to achieve compliance with a number of award rules to qualify, including:

  • Having minimum energy savings of 50,000 kWh/yr.
  • Using lighting solution products that are Design Lights Consortium (DLC) listed/approved.
  • Having minimum efficacy and power factors.
  • Achieving Total Harmonic Distortion standards.

The team adds: “The Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) program is an example of not waiting to get started with your energy efficiency project. Due to high demand, all current funding made available through ERA’s Energy Savings for Business program has been awarded. New applications will be added to the waitlist and may be considered if funding becomes available.”

Canada’s Newfoundland Power’s Take Charge Program supports energy-efficient lighting projects. Vertical farmers or grow producers don’t have a specific lighting category in their program. So the utility doesn’t distinguish between regular lighting and agriculture lighting.

If your eligible lighting qualifies under Newfoundland Power’s existing product rebate, you can advance within that program. Your energy-efficient lighting might also fit within a different custom program, requiring some qualifying economics algorithm calculations.

The Newfoundland Power Rebate Program requires that energy-efficient lighting retrofits go from fluorescent to LED in order to qualify. LED to LED does not qualify for incentive eligibility in this program.

Don’t forget that rebate program funding is limited across Canada’s provinces and territories. Many programs operate on a first-come, first-served basis, until their funding is committed.

For more information:
Hort Americas
Chris Higgins, CEO
[email protected]