Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Solar

November 9, 2017

A solar energy proponent on P.E.I. says Islanders who generate their own solar electricity are getting a good deal, despite rules from the Canada Revenue Agency that lead to government "taxing the sun that's hitting your roof."

Steve Howard is president of Renewable Lifestyles, a Summerside-based company that sells and installs household solar electric systems. While he doesn't hold a seat in the provincial legislature, Howard has also been named the energy critic for the P.E.I. Green Party.

Most homeowners who install solar electric panels join the province's net metering program.

Under that program, they feed excess energy into the provincial grid when their panels produce more than their home is using. In exchange, they receive credits to draw electricity back out of the grid when the sun isn't shining.

Howard said the Canada Revenue Agency considers feeding that electricity into and out of the grid a financial transaction, even though, under P.E.I.'s system, net metering households never receive financial compensation for the electricity they generate.

Steve Howard is the P.E.I. Green Party energy critic and president of Renewable Lifestyles. (Submitted by Green Party of PEI)

That means homeowners have to claim the electricity they generate as income, and they're also charged HST on the electricity they draw back out of the system, even if they've earned enough credits that they don't pay for the electricity itself.

Howard said when he first installed his own solar photovoltaic (PV) system and saw his first electric bill, "this felt wrong to pay tax on power I produced … like paying tax on food I grew myself.

Howard said homeowners can takes steps to avoid the tax — at least for a time. By registering as a business they can claim back the HST they pay. They can also claim the cost of their solar panels against the income declared from the electricity generated.

But once the panels have paid for themselves, homeowners have to start paying income tax on the electricity they generate.

"Whenever my system has paid for itself and I've depreciated all the value of my system against the energy I've sent into the grid, I am going to end up paying income tax on sunshine that's hitting my roof," he said.

"I don't agree with the idea of taxing the sun that's hitting your roof. That's the bottom line."

Howard said the CRA's rules make more sense in jurisdictions like Ontario and Nova Scotia, where homeowners can actually receive cash payments under net metering. But under P.E.I.'s system, they can't.

Households taking part in P.E.I.'s net metering program never receive a cash payment for excess electricity they feed into the grid. But Steve Howard says CRA still considers the electricity as taxable income. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

Howard said he's tried to convince the CRA to change its policy, and he doesn't think that's likely to happen. So he'd at least like to see the P.E.I. government change its net metering program to allow homeowners to earn income from excess electricity they generate.

"That's maybe the easy, small change that can be made is to offer full compensation for over-production."

Another homeowner who participates in net metering said he feels he's being "cheated" by the tax rules for net metering.

"My system cost $23,000.00 plus tax and I accepted that as part of the cost but I was actually shocked when I saw my first bill and realized I was being cheated, no other word for it," Paul Brown told CBC News via email.

"This makes no sense but no levels of government seem interested in actually understanding and explaining the issue and then correcting it. If we are actually serious about private investment in 'green power' which is what should be encouraged, then we have to have governments at least be 'fair' with the tax system."

The P.E.I. government recently commissioned a review of the province's electrical grid, which government says could lead to changes to the province's net metering program.

The CRA confirmed to CBC News that electricity transferred through a net metering program is considered a taxable supply and thus subject to HST/GST.

Maritime Electric says it has 157 P.E.I. customers enrolled in net metering.

original source: www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/net-metering-solar-pei-hst-tax-1.4143624

 


Electrician Forum Brought to you by Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric

June 25, 2018

Sponsored by Schneider Electric

Today we are all concerned with the energy we consume within our homes. But how many truly understand the ins and outs of home energy use, and where exactly does the electrician and the development of energy management systems come into play. There is much to consider when discussing home energy use. The consumer first off needs to be informed about energy use, how it is calculated and ultimately billed if they are to make changes to their energy consumption rates. But in terms of educating consumers does the residential electrician have a role? And beyond that are manufacturers developing products designed to help electricians and consumers better understand residential energy use? Throughout this article we will deal with each of these important questions.

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Schneider

A new “future ready” circuit breaker from Schneider Electric is described by the company as the next generation of power distribution for the Internet of Things (IoT) era. Masterpact MTZ increases efficiency and can adapt to ever-evolving needs for safety, reliability and sustainability. The world is becoming more connected, electric, digitized, decarbonized, and decentralized, says Schneider Electric. Power distribution is facing new regulations, becoming more seamless and connected. 

Masterpact MTZ is the latest in a series of circuit breaker innovations, following Masterpact M, and then Masterpact NT/NW.

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Jeremy Herrington

Total Electrical Solutions was founded in 2013 by Jeremy Herrington in Quispamsis, on the outskirts of Saint John, New Brunswick. Since 2013 Jeremy has steadily grown Total Electrical Solutions in the residential, commercial and construction sectors. The growth is primarily the result of Jeremy’s customer first philosophy, plus his over 20 years of industry experience.

Jeremy grew up learning about the industry from his father who was an electrical contractor. Jeremy spent his early years helping and watching his father as a contractor and business owner. After high school Jeremy was, like many, not wholly aware of the course he wished to take and so he began an electrical apprenticeship at his father’s company.

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