Frequently Asked Questions

General

What is PACE and CEIP?

PACE stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy. It’s a financial instrument that allows property owners to finance energy efficiency or renewable energy upgrades through their municipal property taxes. CEIP stands for the Clean Energy Improvement Program and is Alberta’s version of PACE. The Alberta Municipal Services Corporation (AMSC) is the program administrator for CEIP as designated under the provincial Clean Energy Improvements Regulation.

How does CEIP work?

CEIP is voluntary for municipalities. To set up a CEIP program, a municipality must first pass a CEIP bylaw. Once passed, the municipality contracts AMSC to deliver the program to property owners. Property owners follow the program process to complete eligible energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades. Once upgrades are installed and approved, repayment is made through the property owner’s municipal property tax bill.

Is CEIP financing stackable with rebate or incentive programs for energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy equipment?

CEIP participants are encouraged Yes. CEIP participants are encouraged to take advantage of rebates available to them. Participants can also take advantage of contractor/manufacturer/retail discounts.

How is CEIP financing repaid?

Once the CEIP project is complete, a Clean Energy Improvement Charge is added to the participant’s property tax bill—similar to a local improvement assessment. This new payment will remain on the property for the length of the term chosen. Property owners continue to pay their property tax bill the same way they always have.

What type of upgrades are eligible for financing?

All eligible residential upgrades will be listed on the program website when the program launches in Summer 2021. Examples include high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, windows, insulation, water heaters, and solar photovoltaic systems.

Is the CEIP Clean Energy Improvement Charge tied to me or my property?

Unlike other financial instruments, projects financed under the CEIP program have the Clean Energy Improvement Charge tied to the property, not the property owner. Once an energy efficiency or renewable energy upgrade is installed and verified, it gets added to the property tax for repayment. If the property owner decides to sell the property, the Clean Energy Improvement Charge stays with the property and the new owner assumes payment and enjoys the benefits associated with the upgrade. Also, as the Clean Energy Improvement Charge can be paid off at any time, property owners can pay off the Clean Energy Improvement Charge before selling their property if they choose.

When did Alberta adopt CEIP?

Bill 10: An Act to Enable Clean Energy Improvements was passed on June 6, 2018. The Act authorizes municipalities to complete a borrowing to finance projects and recover costs through the municipal property tax system. The attendant regulation (Clean Energy Improvements Regulation) came into force on January 1, 2019.

Property Owner

Will the incidental work need to be completed by a Qualified Contractor, too?

Incidental costs are costs expended on preparation or upgrading of the property that is incidental to the clean energy improvement but required for successful execution. For example, roof repairs required for the installation of a rooftop solar project. Incidental costs (that are financed under the program) cannot exceed 15% of the total capital cost of the upgrade.

Any incidental work financed under the program must be completed by a Qualified Contractor.

Is the clean energy improvement charge listed on the title of the property? And will it have priority ahead of any mortgage payments in the case of default?

The clean energy improvement charge is recorded on the property tax roll, but may not be registered on title (property owners should confirm the details with their municipality before participating). Similar to property taxes, CEIP has primary lien status, which means, in case of default, the charge is repaid before a first mortgage.

If a property with a clean energy improvement charge is offered for sale, the existence and contents of a Clean Energy Improvement Agreement must be disclosed to prospective buyers, and if the owner engages a realtor, to the realtor. If the property is sold, the property owner must ensure the Clean Energy Improvement Agreement is appended to the contract of sale.  

When does the 6-month timeline to complete a residential CEIP Project begin?

The six-month project timeline begins when the participant receives an Installation Authorization Notice from the AMSC, which is provided once a Project Application has been approved and all program agreements have been signed.

Will there be flexibility regarding retroactive project applications? Can I finance a project that has already been completed?

No. If a property owner is interested in CEIP financing, a project cannot start until a Project Application is submitted and approved by the AMSC, all program agreements are signed, and the property owner has received an Installation Authorization Notice from the AMSC. Program Applications (Pre-Qualification and Project Application Form) will not be available until the program has launched in a participating municipality.

What happens if there is additional work to be included during construction of a CEIP project, that was not included and approved with the Application?

Additions, removals, variations, substitutions, delay in CEIP project completion, or price changes to a CEIP project, require a request to be submitted by the participant to the AMSC. The AMSC will provide the participant with a change order form to complete with the support of the Qualified Contractor. The change order must be approved by the AMSC.

Only costs specified in a signed Clean Energy Improvement Agreement (between the property owner and the participating municipality) are eligible for financing; this can include costs for eligible upgrades, incidental costs, and professional services. For more information, please review the municipality’s Program Terms and Conditions found on each municipality’s CEIP webpage on myCEIP.ca.

Will expansions to existing solar PV systems be eligible for CEIP financing?

Provided the minimum capital cost of $3,000 and all other eligibility requirements are met, expansions to existing solar PV systems are eligible to be financed through CEIP.

I am a property owner and would like to learn more about the program, who do I contact?

Please contact us here.

Which municipalities have already passed a Clean Energy Improvement tax bylaw?

Please visit the Municipality page, section titled CEIP development in Alberta, to find out information on bylaw development in the province.

I am a resident of Devon/Rocky Mountain House/Edmonton, when can I expect the program to launch in my community?

The program will launch to residential property owners in Devon and Rocky Mountain House in Summer 2021. Edmonton is planning to launch the program in Fall 2021.

As a property owner, what happens when I sell my property?

The Clean Energy Improvement Charge is attached to the property, not the property owner. So, if the property is sold, the new owner assumes responsibility for repayment, while also enjoying the benefits provided by the upgrades. The Clean Energy Improvement Charge can be repaid at any time.

Do I need consent from my mortgage provider to participate in CEIP?

Yes, if you have a mortgage on your property, you must get consent from your mortgage provider to participate in the program.

Will applicants be subject to a credit check or income verification?

Credit check requirements may vary by municipality. Other factors may be used to determine the applicant’s eligibility for financing. For example, applicants must be current on their property taxes and any property-secured debt (e.g., mortgage or home equity line of credit).

What is the interest rate/is it interest free?

CEIP offers competitive financing, but it is not interest free. Each municipality sets their own interest rate; therefore, it varies by municipality. Interest rates will be listed on participating municipalities’ program pages as they become available.

How much financing can a property owner receive?

The maximum financing accessible for a single project is limited by two factors: (1) the property owner’s current annual property tax payment, and (2) the program financing limits for residential, commercial and farmland properties.

How does a property owner qualify for CEIP?

The first step is to get pre-qualified by AMSC and the participating municipality by submitting a Pre-qualification Application Form (found on the participating municipality’s program page). Program applicants must be the property owner, and the property must be located within a participating municipality.

How is CEIP financing repaid?

Once the CEIP project is complete, a Clean Energy Improvement Charge is added to the participant’s property tax bill—similar to a local improvement assessment. This new payment will remain on the property for the length of the term chosen. Property owners continue to pay their property tax bill the same way they always have.

Municipality

I am a municipal staff/council member and would like to learn more about the program. Who do I contact?

We are here to help. Please contact us and we’ll guide you through the entire process.

Is this a voluntary program for municipalities?

Municipal participation in the program is entirely voluntary; municipalities can choose to opt in by passing a bylaw that enables CEIP in their community.

What municipalities have already passed a Clean Energy Improvement tax bylaw?

Please visit the Municipality page, section titled CEIP development in Alberta, to find out information on bylaw development in the province.

Contractor

Is the Qualified Contractor onboarding quiz required for each contributing team member or just one per company? Do all my staff members need to pass the test?

The onboarding quiz only needs to be taken by one staff member of the company who will be involved in CEIP project.

However, the Qualified Contractor must ensure that all personnel adheres to the CEIP Qualified Contractor Terms and Conditions. “Personnel” means all personnel involved in the development and/or provision of CEIP services and/or CEIP deliverables by a Qualified Contractor, whether they are employees, subcontractors or other agents of the Qualified Contractor engaged in CEIP-eligible services.

Will the incidental work need to be completed by a Qualified Contractor, too?

Incidental costs are costs expended on preparation or upgrading of the property that is incidental to the clean energy improvement but required for successful execution. For example, roof repairs required for the installation of a rooftop solar project. Incidental costs (that are financed under the program) cannot exceed 15% of the total capital cost of the upgrade.

Any incidental work financed under the program must be completed by a Qualified Contractor.

What Qualified Contractor requirements are needed when dealing with specialized projects (i.e., changes to a building envelope when dealing with moisture management)? Does AMSC require a Qualified Contractor to take any specialized courses?

Qualified Contractors must maintain all relevant licenses and permits required by the federal, provincial, and/or municipal government, or any other agencies with jurisdiction over the course of services performed during the program, including all relevant licenses or permits for staff or subcontractors engaged in the fulfilment of services performed through the Program. Please review the CEIP Qualified Contractor Terms and Conditions for more information.

Are engineers considered Qualified Contractors?

As per the CEIP Regulation, all work related to the installation of a clean energy improvement must be completed by a Qualified Contractor. If the engineer is completing work related to the installation of a clean energy improvement, then they must be either a Qualified Contractor or an employee of a Qualified Contractor.

The Qualified Contractor must ensure that all personnel adheres to the CEIP Qualified Contractor Terms and Conditions. “Personnel” means all personnel involved in the development and/or provision of CEIP services and/or CEIP deliverables by a Qualified Contractor, whether they are employees, subcontractors or other agents of the Qualified Contractor engaged in CEIP-eligible services.

Do Service Organizations and/or Energy Advisors need to become Qualified Contractors to work on a CEIP project?

Yes, if a property owner is planning to apply for CEIP, then their Service Organization and/or Qualified Contractor must become a CEIP Qualified Contractor prior to their home energy evaluation.

Do the structural engineers, required in the design of a solar PV array, need to be Qualified Contractors?

As per the Clean Energy Improvements Regulation, all work related to the installation of a clean energy improvement must be completed by a Qualified Contractor. If the structural engineer is completing work related to the installation of the solar array, then they must be either a Qualified Contractor or an employee of a Qualified Contractor.

The Qualified Contractor must ensure that all personnel adheres to the CEIP Qualified Contractor Terms and Conditions. “Personnel” means all personnel involved in the development and/or provision of CEIP services and/or CEIP deliverables by a Qualified Contractor, whether they are employees, subcontractors or other agents of the Qualified Contractor engaged in CEIP-eligible services.

I am a subcontractor, should I become a CEIP Qualified Contractor?

Every Subcontractor that installs or otherwise provides a product for an Upgrade must be a Qualified Contractor and be listed in the Contractor Directory. Read more abut the subcontractors responsibilities in the CEIP Qualified Contractor Terms and Conditions.

Is there any qualification that will require a Qualified Contractor to be legally operating as an electrical contractor with certified electricians doing the work?

Qualified Contractors, including solar installers, must maintain all relevant licenses and permits required by the federal, provincial, or municipal government, or any other agencies with jurisdiction over the course of services performed during the program, including all relevant licenses or permits for staff or subcontractors engaged in the fulfilment of services performed through the Program. Please review the CEIP Qualified Contractor Terms and Conditions for more information.

As a general contractor, can only specific portions of the participant’s renovation be included in a CEIP Project, and other portions omitted?

Yes, there may be portions of the renovation/upgrade that would not be eligible for financing through CEIP. Only eligible costs (e.g., Upgrades,  incidental costs, professional services) listed in the Clean Energy Improvement Agreement are approved for financing. For more information, review the municipality’s Program Terms and Conditions found on each municipality’s CEIP webpage on myCEIP.ca.

Is the clean energy improvement charge listed on the title of the property? And will it have priority ahead of any mortgage payments in the case of default?

The clean energy improvement charge is recorded on the property tax roll, but may not be registered on title (property owners should confirm the details with their municipality before participating). Similar to property taxes, CEIP has primary lien status, which means, in case of default, the charge is repaid before a first mortgage.

If a property with a clean energy improvement charge is offered for sale, the existence and contents of a Clean Energy Improvement Agreement must be disclosed to prospective buyers, and if the owner engages a realtor, to the realtor. If the property is sold, the property owner must ensure the Clean Energy Improvement Agreement is appended to the contract of sale.  

In the marketing guidelines (Section 1.3 under prohibited practices), it mentions offering tax advice to consumers. What about portions of the CEIP upgrade that are eligible for tax incentives (i.e., commercial solar installations)?

As stated in the marketing guidelines, Qualified Contractors cannot provide tax advice to participating property owners related to any aspect of CEIP or a CEIP project (e.g., tax advice related to the clean energy improvement charge). Tax incentives available through provincial or federal jurisdictions would not be considered  related to CEIP or an eligible project.

When does the 6-month timeline to complete a residential CEIP Project begin?

The six-month project timeline begins when the participant receives an Installation Authorization Notice from the AMSC, which is provided once a Project Application has been approved and all program agreements have been signed.

The timeline to complete an approved residential project is 6 months. Will there be extensions granted?

Delays may occur due to any number of unforeseen circumstances. The decision to grant a project extension will be assessed on a  case-by-case basis and will be at sole the discretion of the AMSC and the participating municipality.

How are Qualified Contractors paid? What is the time frame from completion of the project to receiving payment?

The Qualified Contractor payment process will begin once the AMSC receives a complete and accurate Upgrade Completion Form from the participant, along with all required supporting documentation, which indicates that the installation of the upgrade has achieved substantial performance.

The AMSC will remit payment to the Qualified Contractor within 28 calendar days of the date of receipt of a proper invoice provided all information is accurate and complete, and the AMSC has received funds from the participating municipality.

Will the AMSC provide a template or copy of the Project Agreement?

The Project Agreement will be made available to the participating property owner and the Qualified Contractor after an application has been received and approved by the AMSC and the participating municipality.

The Project Agreement is the agreement between the AMSC, a Qualified Contractor leading the installation of the Upgrade(s) and/or Incidental Work (the “Primary Qualified Contractor”) and the Property Owner, which defines the scope of the Project and sets out the terms relating to the Qualified Contractor’s installation of the Upgrades and/or Incidental Work.

The Primary Qualified Contractor is the Qualified Contractor who is leading the installation of the Upgrade/s and is the Qualified Contractor responsible for the execution of the Project Agreement.

As per the Regulation, a Qualified Contractor cannot enter into an agreement for the provision of services relating to the installation of a clean energy improvement other than the Project Agreement.

Can the AMSC post a sample invoice/breakout structure required to be submitted with the Upgrade Completion Form?

The invoices submitted by Qualified Contractors must include, at a minimum:

  • The Qualified Contractor name as it appears in the CEIP Qualified Contractor Directory
  • Name of the property owner
  • For each upgrade, an itemized list of the following:
    • The Upgrade name,
    • The quantity of equipment units installed, the cost per unit, and the manufacturer and model number,
    • Labour costs and costs associated with any work performed to complete the Project, and
    • Any applicable taxes,
  • Itemized incidental and professional service costs costs approved by the AMSC, and
  • Any other additional information requested by the AMSC.

These invoices will be in the form set out on the CEIP website, will only contain costs relevant to an Upgrade that meets the Upgrade Eligibility Requirements, and should be provided at the time of submission of the Upgrade Completion Form.

Once an eligible Upgrade is installed, who submits the Upgrade Completion Form, the participant or Qualified Contractor? If a participant delays the submission of this form, will the Qualified Contractor still get paid promptly (in accordance with the Prompt Payment Act)?

The property owner is responsible for submitting the Upgrade Completion Form and required supporting documentation (e.g. invoices) once an upgrade(s) has been installed and reached substantial performance (it is only at this time that the AMSC will be made aware of the completion of upgrade installation).

The AMSC will remit payment to the Qualified Contractor within 28 calendar days of the date of receipt of a proper invoice provided all information is accurate and complete, and AMSC has received funds from the participating municipality.

Note that a Site Visit may need to be completed before the Qualified Contractor is paid to verify information submitted on the Upgrade Completion Form and/or supporting documentation.

What is a site inspection and what is its purpose in the program?

The AMSC and the participating municipality, or their agents, may conduct a site inspection prior to or during the installation of Upgrades in order to verify information submitted on the Project Application Form, and may also conduct a site inspection after an Upgrade Completion Form has been submitted in order to verify installation of Upgrades.

Will invoices for scaffold or lifts on projects be considered an eligible expense under CEIP?

Equipment and labour costs directly required for the installation of an Upgrade or are incidental to the installation of an Upgrade are eligible for financing, provided the required supporting documentation is submitted.

In the Qualified Contractor Terms and Conditions, section 5.3 references a technical workbook. Where is there more information about this?

The technical workbook relates to the commercial stream of CEIP. Information will be made available as Commercial CEIP is developed in early/mid 2022.

Does the 25-year solar warranty mean the production warranty or the equipment warranty?

Although the official list of eligible upgrades has not yet been published, we expect that warranty periods, from the time of installation, must be, at minimum, 25 years for power performance and 10 years for manufacturing for modules, and, for inverters and/or micro-inverters, 10 years for  manufacturing.

Will there be flexibility regarding retroactive project applications? Can I finance a project that has already been completed?

No. If a property owner is interested in CEIP financing, a project cannot start until a Project Application is submitted and approved by the AMSC, all program agreements are signed, and the property owner has received an Installation Authorization Notice from the AMSC. Program Applications (Pre-Qualification and Project Application Form) will not be available until the program has launched in a participating municipality.

What happens if there is additional work to be included during construction of a CEIP project, that was not included and approved with the Application?

Additions, removals, variations, substitutions, delay in CEIP project completion, or price changes to a CEIP project, require a request to be submitted by the participant to the AMSC. The AMSC will provide the participant with a change order form to complete with the support of the Qualified Contractor. The change order must be approved by the AMSC.

Only costs specified in a signed Clean Energy Improvement Agreement (between the property owner and the participating municipality) are eligible for financing; this can include costs for eligible upgrades, incidental costs, and professional services. For more information, please review the municipality’s Program Terms and Conditions found on each municipality’s CEIP webpage on myCEIP.ca.

Will expansions to existing solar PV systems be eligible for CEIP financing?

Provided the minimum capital cost of $3,000 and all other eligibility requirements are met, expansions to existing solar PV systems are eligible to be financed through CEIP.

I am a contractor, how do I sign up for program updates?

Local contractors are integral to the success of the Clean Energy Improvement Program. If you’re interested in learning more sign-up for email updates. We will share program updates and municipal events with you as they become available.

Do participating municipalities advance funds to participants for down deposits required by Qualified Contractors under the program? (e.g., 25% of costs paid upfront and 25% upon completion)?

Each participating municipality decides whether funds advancement (for deposits required by Qualified Contractor prior to the start of a CEIP project) will be allowed under the program. If a municipality does not allow funds to be advanced, the property owner will need to pay the deposit out of pocket, but may be able to finance the deposit amount and be reimbursed for the cost once the project is complete and verified. For more information, review the municipality’s Program Terms and Conditions found on each municipality’s CEIP webpage on myCEIP.ca.