How to Become a Solar Installer in PEI

How to Become a Solar Installer in PEI

solar installer PEI

Thanks to new rebates and incentive programs, as well as advances in technology, solar energy has recently experienced significant growth in PEI (and beyond) and is predicted to only continue to grow. For electricians in the province, receiving accreditation as a Solar Photovoltaic Installer (SPVI) is an appealing (and lucrative!) career move. In today’s post, we’re covering everything you need to know to become a solar installer in PEI.

Mandatory requirements for achieving solar installer status.

1. Applicants must be existing (or applying) NoE members.

2. All new and existing SPVI must have and maintain a current Red Seal Electrician under engagement for all solar installation work and submit corresponding License number to efficiencyPEI.

3. Maintain an annual CanSIA Membership. The fee is typically $1000/year, but a first-year discounted price of $500 is available (only accessible through julie@cansia.ca).

4. Successful completion of a 4-day solar training course. The course is conducted by the Canadian Solar Institute (CSI) and will be offered in PEI in the summer of 2020, with cost and date to be confirmed. The course will be followed by an evaluation, and an unsuccessful training evaluation will require a re-sit.

Prior to the summer training program, contractors will also have the option to take a challenge exam, which if passed, will allow them to bypass the training.

catalyst sales solar energy atlantic canada nova scotia

Probationary status

While the training program isn’t scheduled to be held until next summer, efficiencyPEI is offering a probationary period that will allow qualified contractors to execute solar installs for a 3-month time span, prior to training. Qualification for this probation period is contingent on the following demonstrated competencies.

  • Understanding electrical fundamentals.
  • Solar energy principles. Ability to calculate solar energy potential of a site. This is a service that Catalyst provides.
  • Understanding solar panel data sheets. Contractors need to be able to read and interpret a solar panel data sheet. Catalyst offers solar panels data sheets for installs, as well as calculations for max string and array sizing.
  • Understanding inverter data sheets. Contractors also need to be able to read and interpret inverter data sheets, which Catalyst can provide.
  • Contractors must also know the difference between racking for a ground or rooftop mount.

How Catalyst can help

To recap, Catalyst is able to create all of the site plans and data sheets for a solar install. We can also be present at a contractor’s first install to make sure everything runs smoothly. For all solar inquiries, you can contact our Renewable Energy Specialist, Matt, at matt@catalystsales.ca or 226-376-4057.

You can also learn more about the solar services we offer, here.

There’s never been a better time to get involved in solar, and we love that efficiencyPEI is making it simple for electrical contractors to get involved. For more info, check out their website, or reach out to us with any questions.



The Future of Renewables: The Latest Industry Trends from Solar Power International 2019

The Future of Renewables: The Latest Industry Trends from Solar Power International 2019

north america smart energy week solar power international

As you may have seen on our LinkedIn and Instagram, our team was down at Solar Power International’s (SPI) Smart Energy Week in Salt Lake City last week. It was an action-packed week, and we got the opportunity to connect with industry leaders and fellow renewable energy enthusiasts and learn about the latest industry trends, product development, and marketplace shifts. The renewable industry is starting to take off here in Atlantic Canada, and we’re so excited about the new innovations and what they will mean for our distributors, contractors, homeowners, and our region as a whole.

Our renewable lines, Canadian Solar, SolarEdge, Kinetic, and AP Systems were all in attendance as well. You can learn more about our lines here.

Among the many exciting trends and product developments, three really stood out.


First, we identified electric vehicle chargers that will work for both commercial and residential spaces. We believe that this will mark a huge step in helping our customer base make the pivot towards global electrification. Not only can EV chargers offer vehicle charging for both home and work, but with WIFI capabilities and partners like EVMatch, the home and business owner can actually rent out their chargers while they are not in use and get paid directly through on-demand services like EVMatch.

Take a look at some of our favourites:

ev chargers nova scotiaLeft to right: JuiceBox Pro 32, 40,or 75 (must be WiFi-enabled), ClipperCreek HCS-40, JuiceNet Edition, AeroVironment EVSE-RS, JuiceNet Edition


Second, something that is especially exciting in the wake of last month’s Hurricane Dorian, was the emergence of electric generators. These generators will eliminate the need for gas powered generators and will be a huge asset for homeowners and during power outages.

A few of our favourites:

Left to right: Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Portable Power Station, Lion Safari LT Power Generator


Last, and most importantly, was the battery storage, which has significant applications for NS. Currently, with grid tied net metering programs making it cost prohibitive to have battery storage, few companies are offering practical solutions for batteries paired with solar. However, this option offers major benefits, like having back-up power from your batteries when power is out.

Customers can also charge their batteries at night during off peak (low cost power) times and then consume/back feed the power during the day during peak (high cost power) times. Another financial benefit of battery storage, and what we will see most commonly from their implementation in Atlantic Canada, is demand side load management. This allows power companies to buy power from your stored batteries when they need it to match shifts in demand. With a central control system from the utility and a compatible battery system, this is already an emerging trend in some markets.

Two manufacturers who really stood out were SolarEdge and their StorEdge Solutions, and Sonnen Group.

These are just a few of the many new developments in the renewable energy landscape. There has never been a better time to make the switch to solar energy, and we’ve committed ourselves to helping to grow and support the solar energy industry in Atlantic Canada. You can learn more about our solar energy services here.

For homeowners, we’re offering free solar energy assessments for your home. Simply fill out our form, and we’ll get back to you within 48 hours with your full report and connect you to a local contractor in your area.

For distributors, we rep four of the top solar lines on the market. You can learn more about the lines here.

Our week at SPI confirmed what we already knew- the future is solar, and we’re thrilled to be playing a role in supporting this future.

To learn more about the exhibition, you can visit the SPI website, and to learn more about our involvement in solar energy, visit our solar page here.

Understanding efficiencyPEI’s New Solar Energy Incentive Programs (and Why Now is the Time to Act!)

Understanding efficiencyPEI’s New Solar Energy Incentive Programs (and Why Now is the Time to Act!)

efficiency pei solar energy rebate

photo: Welcome PEI

This month, efficiencyPEI launched its brand new Solar Electric Rebate Program, making solar energy more affordable than ever for homeowners, businesses, and farms on the Island. A solar energy system offers a great financial return and allows homeowners to save money on their electric bills in the long run, but the start up costs can be limiting. Thanks to the new programs available, however, Islanders now have the support they need to get started with solar.

At the moment, there are both rebate and financing programs available, and you can take advantage of both.

First let’s look at the Solar Electric Rebate Program.

Solar Electric Rebate Program

This program offers a rebate on new solar installations for both residential and commercial/farms. Funding for this program is set at $2 million, so it won’t last forever. If you have been considering solar energy, now is the time to act before funding runs out. Nova Scotia has been offering a similar program, and due to the huge demand it received, the rebate return had to be decreased after a few months. We don’t know how things will play out in PEI, but it’s worth noting that the current rebate rates may go down in the future before funding runs out.

solar pv panel efficiencyPEI

photo: efficiencyPEI

The following rebates are currently available:

Incentive Levels (Residential):
$1,000 per installed kilowatt. Or $1.00/W
Not to exceed 40% total of installed costs.
Not to exceed $10,000 for residential installations.
Expansions to existing systems apply.
Minimum system size of 1kW
Off grid systems do not apply.

Incentive Levels (Commercial/Farms):
$350 per installed kilowatt.
Not to exceed 40% total of installed costs.
Not to exceed $10,000 for commercial/farm installations.

Please note that applications and approval must be complete before anything is installed.

Solar Financing Program

In addition to the new rebate program, financing options are also available on solar installations. This is a huge win for both homeowners and businesses because the start-up costs for solar installations are one of the main barriers for adoption. PEI’s solar financing program offers eligible applicants a repayable loan up to $25 000 towards 100% of invoiced costs. The loan has a fixed rate of 5% per year and is repayable over a period of 15 years.

solar energy financing PEI

The financial benefits of going solar

The return on investment of a solar energy system is huge and offers value in a number of different ways, both in the short term and the long term. First of all, your power bill goes down since you are generating most of your own energy via a free source (the sun!).

This is one of the best investments a homeowner can make- the average return is over 10% which beats any historical stock, mututal fund or bond.

Second, you’re protected from power bill hikes for the lifetime of your system (approximately 30 years). Overall, you’re estimated to save over $53 000 during the lifetime of your system.

And finally, a solar system adds value to your home and is estimated to increase the value by a minimum of the cost of the solar system and as much as 20%.

At Catalyst, we’re committed to supporting the adoption of solar energy throughout Atlantic Canada. One way we’re doing this is by offering free solar energy assessments for all residents.

Simply fill out our form, and we’ll get back to you within 48 hours with your customized solar report, which provides a cost estimate for your system.

Get your free solar assessment here!

Understanding the Current Solar Energy Rebates and Financing Options Available in Nova Scotia

Understanding the Current Solar Energy Rebates and Financing Options Available in Nova Scotia

solar energy solarhomes halifax nova scotia

In our last blog post, we talked about how renewable energy is rapidly changing the electrical wholesale landscape in Atlantic Canada. As we discussed, we’ve seen a recent boom in demand for renewables, particularly solar energy, and far from being a flash in the pan trend, this is set to become the new norm.

While solar energy has been available for decades, we’ve seen a recent increase in our part of the world thanks to new initiatives that are making the switch to solar energy more affordable for homeowners and community buildings.

In this post, we’re going to focus on the current initiatives available in Nova Scotia. If you’re a distributor or contractor, this is great information that you can pass on to potential customers who are considering the switch to solar.

Efficiency Nova Scotia’s SolarHomes Rebate Program

The introduction of Efficiency NS’s SolarHomes rebate program, which is available to homeowners throughout Nova Scotia, earlier this year was met with so much interest that they have already had to scale back to maintain funding. Despite the cutbacks, It continues to be a huge benefit for anyone interested in switching to solar.

The updated SolarHomes rebate offers $0.85/watt (down $0.15 from the original $1), up to 35% of the eligible system costs (excluding HST) or up to $8500, whichever is less.

To date, the program has almost tripled the number of net metering installs from the previous year. The program will be available until funding runs out (approximately 2000 homes), but the rebate will be scaled back incrementally in an effort to support as many houses as possible.

solar city halifax nova scotia

HRM’s Solar City Financing Program

Residents of HRM are also eligible for the city’s Solar City financing program. The program will pay for installation costs upfront at $0 down, and you’ll have 10 years to pay back the loan at 4.75% fixed interest.

Solar Electricity for Community Buildings

This program is a pilot project of the Department of Energy, which aims to support community buildings in making the switch to solar. Under the program, community buildings are able to generate electricity through their solar panels (up to 75kW of solar photovoltaic electricity) and sell it to their utility under a 20-year contract.

Applications for 2019 is set to open in June.

Nova Scotia Power’s Enhanced Net Metering Program

NSP’s Enhanced Net Metering Program provides protection for solar energy users during low energy production periods. Certain times of year (i.e. summer) are better than others for generating power, and the program balances out these surpluses and deficits. Residential and commercial properties will have a bi-directional electricity meter installed. When a system provides more energy than is required, it will flow into the grid for others to use. When it isn’t producing enough, it can pull energy from the grid.

solar energy atlantic canada

Combined, these programs have made solar energy a viable option for homeowners and commercial buildings throughout Nova Scotia. The government’s commitment to these initiatives shows that Nova Scotia is ready to make a name for itself as a global player in the solar industry, and there has never been a better time for homeowners, building owners, contractors, and distributors to get on board.

If you’re not already, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn for more industry news and developments!

And for more information about any of these initiatives or any of the solar energy technologies we rep, give us a call at 902.452.3899 or email us at lierin@catalystsales.ca



How Renewables Will Change the Electrical Wholesale Landscape in Atlantic Canada

How Renewables Will Change the Electrical Wholesale Landscape in Atlantic Canada

solar energy halifax nova scotia atlantic canada

With some small exceptions, the electrical landscape has remained more or less the same over the last 50 years. Yes, there have been advances in technology and new product releases, but nothing truly groundbreaking has occurred, and both wholesalers and electrical contractors have been able to work with the same technology year after year.

Well, all that is rapidly changing as renewable energy has hit the scene. No longer a fringe technology for the wealthy elite, renewable energy sources have gone mainstream, and we’re at the point that both wholesalers and electrical contractors need to get on board or risk being seriously left behind.

A lucrative (and booming) business
The boom in renewables has seen a shift from traditional methods to a rapidly increasing demand for renewable products and installations. As we mentioned in our last post, government-backed programs and rebates are making the switch to solar energy easier and more affordable than ever in Atlantic Canada, and Nova Scotia’s SolarHomes program alone has created a massive jump in demand for installations. While photovoltaic installations are similar to other electrical work, they do still require separate training, so any contractor with this training is going to be in high demand.

Similarly, not all wholesalers have yet brought in solar technology, so those that do have a leg up in the game. Establishing yourself as a go-to source for renewable supplies will pay off both now and in the long run.

solar energy halifax nova scotia atlantic canada

The electrification of everything
In order to meet our commitments to greenhouse gas reductions, the way we power our lives is changing. From powering our homes with solar, to running our communities on wind turbines, to driving electric cars, we are shifting into an era where our lives will be powered by the electrification of everything. Far from being a flash in the pan trend, this is fast becoming the new norm and our future will be one of almost complete electrification.

This new era will encompass a whole range of products and charging options, but in particular, manufacturers and contractors would be wise to focus on the following areas: solar energy systems (both residential and commercial), residential wiring and chargers for electrical cars, battery storage, and electric heating systems to replace traditional gas and oil fired systems.

How we can help
At Catalyst, we’ve made solar energy one of our top priorities for the year ahead and beyond. We believe passionately in the power of this industry both as a driver of our economy in Atlantic Canada and as a vital factor in protecting our environment.

If you’re a wholesaler who isn’t already carrying solar energy products or if you’ve seen the benefits and are ready to expand, now is the time. We carry a range of products from some of the top solar manufacturers on the product and can provide support and education on them for you and your entire team.

You can find our renewables line card here and more about the lines here.

Electrification affects a multitude of industries, including real estate, contracting, home building, and beyond. We offer free lunch and learns to share the ins and outs of the residential solar industry with your team- book one today by sending an email to us at taylor@catalystsales.ca

To learn more about the product lines we carry and how we can help you and your business to take advantage of the electrification era, give us a call at 902.452.3899 or email us at lierin@catalystsales.ca

Catalyst Sales: Your Source for Solar Energy Technology and Software in Atlantic Canada

Catalyst Sales: Your Source for Solar Energy Technology and Software in Atlantic Canada

catalyst sales atlantic canada solar energy halifax nova scotia

In the last few years, solar energy has enjoyed significant growth throughout Atlantic Canada and is only expected to grow in popularity and adoption. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the solar movement, and at Catalyst Sales, we are making it easier than ever for electrical distributors and contractors to take part and benefit from it.

In addition to offering a full range of solar services, including custom proposals and designs, system quotations, site assessments, and more, we have also aligned with the top manufacturers for product and software in the solar industry.

The future is solar
There has never been a better time to enter the solar business, and there’s no end in sight for this thriving industry. A recent report put out by the Canadian Solar Industries Associate estimates that by 2030, Nova Scotia alone will support 1170 solar jobs. We’re fast approaching, if not at, the point where you either get in or get left behind.

catalyst sales atlantic canada solar energy halifax nova scotia

What’s driving the solar energy boom? A number of factors, some of which we’ll dive into deeper in upcoming posts. But for now, we’ll highlight some of the main contributors.

  • Efficiency Nova Scotia’s SolarHomes program, which offers a system rebate of $0.85 per watt.
  • Halifax residents can also take advantage of HRM’s Solar City program, which offers financing on 100% of the system and install costs.
  • The move towards electrification, which is seeing everything in our homes going electric, which will require a microgrid to support it.
  • Our federal commitment to the environment. Canada has committed to a 30% reduction in our GHG emissions below our 2005 levels by 2030, and solar energy is a major factor in making this happen.

Keep reading to learn more about the products we rep and how they can benefit you and your customers.

Canadian Solar
One of the three biggest solar companies in the world by revenue, Canadian Solar is a global leading manufacturer of solar Photovoltaic Modules and a provider of solar energy solutions.

See more from Canadian Solar here.

catalyst sales solar energy atlantic canada nova scotia

photo: Canadian Solar

Solar Edge
The industry-leader in grid-tied applications, Solar Edge provides smart inverters for every type of residential roof, DC optimizers, batteries and backup options, and a monitoring software that allows users to track their solar production.

See more from Solar Edge here.

Kinetic’s award-winning line of racking and mounting products are a favourite in the solar industry thanks to their innovative design, quality, and ease of installation. They offer a comprehensive range of rails, hardware, and mounts, including their own 100% watertight flashing system, K-Flash.

See more from Kinetic here.

IMO supplies control component technology including a range of market-leading TRUE DC solar isolators, AC Disconnect switches, a solar tracker and measurement controller, PV terminals, and a solar panel rapid shutdown solution. Their products have become a top choice for manufacturers and installers around the world thanks to their top quality and innovative technology.

See more from IMO here.

A division of Vynckier, Soltection offers a full line of rooftop PV transition boxes as well as traditional PV combiner boxes.

See more from Soltection here. 

Service Wire Co.
The leader in Photovoltaic cable for DC cabling and bare copper for systems grounding.

See more about Service Wire here.

For more information on our solar technology and services, give us a call at 902.452.3899 or email us at lierin@catalystsales.ca

Solar Solutions from Catalyst Sales

Solar Solutions from Catalyst Sales


Catalyst has partnered with the top brands in the solar industry. We offer single source solutions for the electrical distributor and electrical contractor.

Services Include:

  • Custom Proposals and Designs
  • Full Bill of Material Generation
  • System Quotations
  • Rebate Calculations
  • Payback Calculations – Cash vs Financing
  • Single Line Diagram
  • Solar Production Report
  • Site Assessment
  • Lamacoid Label Package

What’s next?

Send us your customer’s address and a power bill. We will send you a custom proposal.

Sophisticated Design

Our system produces the most advanced and accurate designs in the world.

Top Quality Partners

We’ve aligned with the top residential partners for product and software.

Hassle Free Rebates and Financing

Our packaged solution handles back end financing and rebate information.

Straightforward Payback Calculations

Each proposal shows calculations for both cash and financed purchases.