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Clean Energy Program applications now open again

Applications are now open once again for the City of Lethbridge's Clean Energy Improvement Program (CEIP), which will provide homeowners with a financial tool to support energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to their properties.

Launched in late February 2023, CEIP applications reached the initial capacity within a week. There were 40 applications accepted and another 47 homeowners on the waitlist.

Following a Public Hearing on October 17, Lethbridge City Council unanimously voted to amend the Clean Energy Improvement Tax Bylaw. That decision removed the previous annual cap amounts – allowing for an expedited service delivery of the CEIP and therefore providing more homeowners timely access to funding.

The program had previously restricted available funding to $800,000 in 2023, $900,000 in 2024, $1 million in 2025 and $1.1 million in 2026, for a total of $3.8 million during the four years. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has indicated that they are flexible on loan terms for the program and could facilitate early payments.

With the goal of creating a more climate resilient community and lowering energy costs, the list of eligible projects for the CEIP includes upgrading windows, doors, adding solar panels, increasing insulation, upgrading lighting fixtures, installing a tankless hot water system and more.

“We are pleased at City Council’s decision as this will allow the program to move forward more quickly than originally estimated and will now allow more residents to be served in a timelier manner,” says Larry Laverty, Assessment and Taxation Manager and local CEIP Program Manager. "Clean energy improvements will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and can lead to reduced energy costs for the property owner. This is a great opportunity for those homeowners thinking about renovations to consider choices for better energy performance and to lower their utility bills."

"On behalf of City Council, I am thrilled to be able to move up the timelines for this great initiative,” says Mayor Blaine Hyggen. “With nearly 50 people on the waitlist, and likely many others who were interested but did not get an application in during the first week, this decision provides more opportunities for our residents interested in this program.”

CEIP allows homeowners to apply for low interest financing from the City, with repayment collected through property tax bills during a span of up to 20 years, depending on the expected life of the improvement. There is also an option to repay it in full at any time without penalty and the financing can be transferred to the next owner if the home sells.

Participants must install eligible upgrades with a minimum cost of $3,000 to qualify for financing. Availability is limited and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a maximum of $50,000 of eligible costs per property, but the annual Clean Energy Improvement Tax cannot exceed the property's annual municipal property tax payment. Many of the upgrades require permits from the City and no monies will be advanced unless proper permits are in place.

For those interested, the first step is to reviews the program terms and conditions and submit a pre-qualification application. Homeowners must then complete an EnerGuide home evaluation to learn about their home energy performance and understand their best options for home improvements. Working with a qualified contractor under the program, the homeowner will then submit a project application with their proposed upgrades.

"If a project application is approved, the property owner enters into a Clean Energy Improvement Agreement with the City, which is essentially their financing agreement for their approved upgrades," says Laverty. "Once the upgrades are installed, the homeowner will submit final forms and undergo a post-project home evaluation."

The program, which has been in development since 2018, is administered by Alberta Municipalities in partnership with the City of Lethbridge. This project is being carried out with assistance from the FCM Green Municipal Fund, an endowment created by the Government of Canada.

The City of Lethbridge has received $3.8 million from FCM to support the implementation of CEIP for residential properties. During the course of the pilot project, the program is expected to help an estimated 180 homeowners with the cost of upgrades.

Visit and review the terms and conditions for eligibility details. Learn more about the local program here.

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