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Join Our FREE Webinar Series

Join Our FREE Webinar Series

Catalyst Webinar Series

With so many of us working from home over the next few weeks, we saw this as a great opportunity to connect and learn together online. That’s why we put together our new webinar series, open to everyone in the industry, to share our insider knowledge, industry trends, how our business will change through electrification and what we can do to be ready for it.

Join us online Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11am and 1 pm AST, where we’ll break down the latest industry trends in information packed 30-minute sessions.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Tuesday, March 24, 2020  –  11:00 AM AST

  • Future of Renewables – How it will affect the electrical industries from solar to battery storage
    • Sign Up Here

Tuesday, March 24, 2020  –  1:00 PM AST

  • Future of Renewables – How it will affect the electrical industries from solar to battery storage

Thursday, March 26, 2020  –  11:00 AM AST

Thursday, March 26, 2020  –  1:00 PM AST

Tuesday, March 31, 2020  –  11:00 AM AST

  • Forging a Clean & Electrified Future – Electrical Vehicle (EV) Charging

Tuesday, March 31, 2020  –  1:00 PM AST

  • Forging a Clean & Electrified Future – Electrical Vehicle (EV) Charging

Thursday, April 2, 2020  –  11:00 AM AST

Thursday, April 2, 2020  –  1:00 PM AST

Stay tuned for more upcoming webinars, and if you have a topic you’d like covered, reach out to us at any time at taylor@catalystsales.ca.

 

This Program is Helping Workplaces Save Big on Electric Vehicle Charging Installations

This Program is Helping Workplaces Save Big on Electric Vehicle Charging Installations

Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program

In last week’s blog post, we talked about the exciting future of electric vehicles (EVs) in Atlantic Canada. We’re expecting to see massive growth in the market, and it’s estimated that by 2040, 25% of the vehicles on the road will be electric. Up until now, cost has been one of the main hinderances to adoption, but that is starting to change, and the government’s new Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP) is one of the factors behind this.

The new program targets multi-unit residential buildings (three or more units), workplaces, and light-duty vehicle fleets (ex. taxis) and pays up to 50% of the Total Project Costs (up to five million dollars) for the installation of EV chargers. The program is also open for public parking areas, such as service stations, libraries, restaurants, medical offices, etc.

This program is one of the latest funding programs from Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Electric Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Deployment Initiative. The Government of Canada has set ambitious goals for federal electrification, and this program, among others, is part of their goal of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) reaching 10% of light-duty vehicles (LDV) sales per year by 2025, 30% by 2030 and 100% by 2040.

Enel-X Juicebox

Photo: powerpulse.net

Funding varies depending on the type of charging station, and details are as follows:

Type of InfrastructureOutputMaximum Funding
Level 2 (208 / 240 V) connectors3.3kW to 19.2kWUp to 50% of total project costs, to a maximum of $5,000 per connector
Fast charger20kW to 49kWUp to 50% of total project costs, to a maximum of $15,000 per fast-charger
Fast charger50kW and aboveUp to 50% of total project costs, to a maximum of $50,000 per fast-charger

The program is open for applicants until May 12, 2020. Eligibility details are outlined here and you can request an application package on NRCan’s website.

At Catalyst, we are excited to be a part of the future of electrification in Atlantic Canada as the Atlantic reps for Enel-X’s Juicebox Smart Electric Vehicle Chargers. The Juicebox chargers are some of the best on the market- they are simple to install and feature app technology, easy to use payment systems, and commercial, fleet, and utility management systems.

You can learn more about Enel-X’s Juicebox chargers here or reach out to Matt, our Renewable Energy Specialist, at matt@catalystsales.ca

 

Here’s What You Need to Know About the Future of Electric Vehicles in Atlantic Canada

Here’s What You Need to Know About the Future of Electric Vehicles in Atlantic Canada

Enel-X Juicebox

Photo: powerpulse.net

When we think about renewables, we often think of the energy source itself, like solar power, but another huge player in the renewable industry is electric vehicles (EVs). The adoption of electric vehicles has had a slow start up until now, but they are expected to have a massive growth in Atlantic Canada over the next decade. Here’s what we can expect in the next ten years (and why we should all be excited about it).

Massive growth over the next decade

According to a recent report put out by HRM’s clean energy specialist, Kevin Boutilier, Nova Scotia had 176 electric vehicles in 2019 and that number is expected to jump to 8761 by 2020- a mind blowing jump in just one year. In 2019, there were 413 electric vehicles in Atlantic Canada, and this number is expected to continue to rapidly climb, and by 2030, estimates show that we should have almost 229 728 electric vehicles on the road. That number represents 10% of the vehicles in Atlantic Canada, and this is expected to rise to 25% by 2040.

enel X electric vehicle chargers

More EVs = more EV chargers

With this huge growth in EVs will come the need for more EV chargers. Currently in Nova Scotia, we have 40 charging stations (see location directory here), but the report estimates that we will need 2000 stations in the province by 2030 to accommodate the adoption of electric vehicles.

At Catalyst, we rep Enel-X’s Juicebox Smart Electric Vehicle Chargers. In 2019, we brought sustainability and renewables to the forefront of our company’s mission, and we are thrilled that partnering with Enel-X has given us the chance to enter the EV market. The Juicebox chargers are some of the best on the market- they are simple to install and feature app technology, easy to use payment systems, and commercial, fleet, and utility management systems.

What’s behind the growth?

Enel-XUp until recently, Atlantic Canada has seen a relatively slow adoption rate of electric vehicles, but as we can see, this is now changing. Much like solar power and other forms of renewable energy, electric vehicles were seen as something accessible only to the wealthy and were not affordable for the average person. However, the market isn’t what it used to be, and there are newer models available that are more affordable than ever before.

Not only that, but the savings in fuel are drastic, and as gas prices continue to rise, this is an increasingly attractive motivator for many Atlantic Canadians.

In his report, Boutilier looked at the savings that HRM would get from switching just 11 of their fleet vehicles to electric. He found that they would save $134 167 (or 19% of their budget) and reduce emissions by 292 tonnes (62% reduction in CO2 emissions) over the lifetime of the vehicles.

 

 

 

We are thrilled to be a part of this amazing development of the EV market in Atlantic Canada and are here to answer any of your questions! You can learn more about Enel-X’s Juicebox chargers here or reach out to Matt, our Renewable Energy Specialist, at matt@catalystsales.ca

Interested in Solar Energy? CUA’s Energy Efficiency Financing Program Can Help

Interested in Solar Energy? CUA’s Energy Efficiency Financing Program Can Help

solar energy halifax nova scotia
We’ve written before about the solar energy financing and rebate programs available in Nova Scotia, and today we wanted to share another option that is making the adoption of a solar energy system even more affordable for Nova Scotians: CUA’s Energy Efficiency Financing Program.

CUA’s program offers a number of great benefits, some of which extend beyond the other current programs available, and it’s a great option for anyone in Nova Scotia looking to make efficiency upgrades to their current system.

The program offers financing options for both home and business owners interested in investing in energy-efficient upgrades. We’ve seen a major surge in interest for solar energy throughout the province, and having another financing option available is a huge win for the renewable energy industry in Nova Scotia.

solar energy atlantic canada

One thing that really stands out here is that CUA’s financing program isn’t just available for solar panels and installations, but for a range of energy efficiency upgrades, including heat pumps, LED lighting solutions, windows, insulation, and other work required to maximize the upgrade.

Another great benefit of the program is that CUA works one-on-one with you to help you get the most out of their financing options. They’ll walk you through exactly how the project can best fit into your current financial plan and provide you with the best financing options for you.

CUA’s Energy Efficiency Financing Program is one more way that switching to solar is becoming easier and more affordable than ever. At Catalyst, we want to help make the switch even easier, which is why we offer free solar assessments. Just fill out our short form, and we’ll have your solar assessment back to you within 48 hours.

For the most up-to-date information about financing rates, head over to cua.com/gogreen or contact a member of the CUA team at 902-492-6500.

Interested in making the switch to solar? Get our free solar assessment here.

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.

ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGERS

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

ELECTRIC GENERATORS

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

BATTERY STORAGE

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