Sask.'s few energy auditors rush to meet demands from Canada Greener Homes Grant program

Solar panels seen in this stock photo. (Carl Attard / Pexels)

Canadian homeowners can now apply to a new federal government program that offers grants for energy-efficient home upgrades, but a lack of energy auditors in Saskatchewan is hindering how many projects get approved.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant program offers grants to help cover some of the costs of installation as well as the evaluation of the home.

Up to 700,000 grants of up to $5,000 can be put toward the installation of things like solar panels and other energy efficient projects. The program also includes grants of up to $600 to be put toward home energy audits that need to be done for renovations to go ahead.

Only three companies with limited staff are available to do the evaluations in the province. The federal government aims to train 2,000 more evaluators by the fall.

“Some energy auditors are important to be able to allow people to do these renovations and that kind of thing,” said Brenden Owens, co-owner of Prairie Sun Solar.

Local energy groups say the demand has quickly picked up.

“Across the province I would say 10,000 roughly per year moving forward,” said Jason Breker, president of NRG Inspections and Consulting.

“It was very steady before the grant came out, and now we’re getting a pile of phone calls. So I think it’s going to book the season pretty quick,” said Owens.

However, Breker said since the program was announced, the federal booking portal has been swamped with requests.

“At this time, we don’t have any access to those people that have booked it through the greener homes portal,” said Breker.

Owens said for the average solar panel installation, the grant will help cover about 25 per cent of the total cost.

The Wascana Solar Cooperative welcomes the program but wants to make sure it continues no matter what party is in power.

“It’s great that this is starting again. The only question we have is what can we do to ensure that this now continues in the long term?” said Josh Campbell, president of the Wascana Solar Cooperative.

Applications for the grant are available on the Natural Resources Canada website.

With only 700,000 grants available nationwide, Owens encourages residents who are interested to act as soon as possible.