Ontario announces up to $20,000 heat pump rebates
The Ontario government has announced significant rebates for the installation of geothermal and air-to-air heat pumps in homes.
Energy Star certified geothermal systems are eligible for rebates up to $20,000 and rebates of up to $4,500 are available to repair existing ground source systems. The Green Ontario Fund also offers up to $5,800 to install air source heat pumps that are Energy Star certified “or meet program requirements.”
The program also offers significant incentives to improve the building envelope with up to $7,200 on new insulation and up to $5,000 for replacement windows. Homeowners can also get a $100 rebate for air sealing and another $100 towards a smart thermostat.
The program was announced Dec. 13, but members of the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) Contractors Division, Toronto Chapter, received a preview from Green Ontario officials Nov. 28.
HRAI is a partner in the program and is responsible for ensuring that contractors are qualified. “We need a good solid list of participating contractors for the program to be successful,” said a Green Ontario spokesperson.
And while the government’s intention is to move people away them, she said the program will include the addition of a heat pump to a home heated with fossil fuels, for supplemental heat and air conditioning. However, it doesn’t cover the installation of multiple heat pumps, in a large custom home, for example. “One per customer,” she remarked.
Cap and trade profits
The Green Ontario fund was created to invest money raised from the provincial cap and trade program in energy efficiency upgrades designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The province launched the Green Ontario Fund on Aug. 30 with $377 million in proceeds from its “carbon market.”
Over the next three years, the Green Ontario Fund has pledged up to $1.2 billion to help businesses and industries adopt low-carbon technologies and up to $1.2 billion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in buildings.
Contractors that spoke to P&HVAC have expressed concern that the government is rushing these programs without adequately consulting the industry. They are worried that this program will draw a lot of new contractors with questionable qualifications, as have previous rebate programs – ‘’a gardening contractor this week; an HVAC contractor next week,” as one contractor said. HRAI validation of qualifications is designed to prevent this.
Many worry that this will destabilize the industry as homeowners will hold off upgrades until they can get the rebate. As of press time, the actual start date for the rebates hadn’t been announced.
The GreenON Installations thermostat program, in which the Green Ontario supplied smart thermostats to 150,000 homes at no charge after launching the program Aug. 30, is expected to re-start in 2018.
For more information, please visit www.greenon.ca and www.hrai.ca.