Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Canada's oil-rich province of Alberta took further steps toward a balanced economy through small-scale solar installations, provincial and local leaders said.
More than a dozen public buildings in central and northern Alberta have installed solar photovoltaic systems since last year, removing more than 13,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. More than 100 residents, businesses and non-profit organizations have been approved for more installations under a provincial rebate plan.
Volunteer community leagues in the provincial capital, Edmonton, have now added enough solar polar to their facilities to save the emissions equivalent of pulling 300 cars off the road each year.
"Edmonton's community leagues are proud to join a growing movement towards sustainability, thanks in part to the provincial government," Debra Jakubec, the executive director of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues, said in a statement.
Up to $7,500 in rebates for homeowners and up to $375,000 for businesses and non-profit organizations were made available in June to help cover some of the costs tied to solar panel installation.
Without the program, the government estimated solar uptake would grow from 2 megawatts to 30 MW by 2022. That quadruples with the program in place, with solar uptake reaching a potential 140 MW during the next five years.
Along with much of the Canadian economy, Alberta is adding layers of diversity with low-carbon ambitions. Solar power in the province doubled in 2015 thanks in part to municipal and farm-area incentive programs.
Alberta's economy was hammered last year by the dual strains from lower crude oil prices and wildfires that swept through the heart of the provincial oil sector. The provincial government forecast growth in terms of gross domestic product for 2017 at 3.1 percent, up from the budget forecast of 2.65 percent.