All You Need to Know about the Switch Program in Prince Edward Island
One of the reasons I love living In Prince Edward Island is because of all the sustainable initiatives and support the province offers to its residents.
If you live in PEI, you are a lucky duck because you have a few options regarding making your home more energy-efficient and sustainable.
On Wednesday night I went to an info session for the Switch Program and I learned a few extra things from the discussion generated during the Q&As session and I want to share my knowledge with you.
What is Switch Program?
The “Switch Program” is a 0% financing program that supports
the “switch’ from unsustainable sources of energy to renewable energy
the “switch” from an unsustainable home to a sustainable home
the “switch” from inefficient energy saving to efficient energy saving.
Who can apply for the Switch Program?
Any homeowner living within Stratford or Charlottetown
Must pay property taxes and utility bills in Stratford or Charlottetown
You own a 3 unite property or less
Your home is not mobile
People who didn’t already start a home renovation project
Who CAN NOT participate in the Switch Program?
Property owners of mobile homes
People who are behind with their utility bills
Owners of property with 4 or more units
Commercial property owners
New constructions. Upgrades must be made to an existing home
What is the process of applying for the Switch Program?
Contact the Switch representatives via email or phone at Charlottetown: (782) 377-4161, email@example.com. Stratford: (782) 377-416, firstname.lastname@example.org. I recommend using email so you can revisit their instructions on what to do next.
Get a home audit done. The Switch Program reps will let you know who to contact for that.
After the audit, start getting quotes for the projects you need done.
I do not know all the steps but if you contact them, they will guide you through.
How much money does the Switch program offer?
You can make a loan of a maximum of $40 000 (CAD) at 0% financing for up to 15 years BUT the amount can not exceed 15% of the value of the property. For example, a property valued at $200,000 can receive financing of up to $30,000.
There is no minimum amount of project size.
If you need more money, you can look into the different programs mentioned above and make a plan for what program will you use for what. For instance, Sunly has a similar 0% financing for solar panels. It would be good to get a quote from them as well for comparison.
What projects can you do with the Switch Program?
The Switch program covers the following:
insulation and air sealing
exterior windows and doors
Although some upgrades can be included in your Switch project the non energy saving upgrade costs cannot exceed 30% of the overall project cost. Here are a few examples of non energy upgrades: electrical panel upgrades (to accommodate a heat pump/solar), Siding replacement (replaced after insulating from the exterior), Water conservation (low-flow fixtures),
Can I access all the rebates when using the Switch Program?
Absolutely, the team in charge of the program will make sure you get all the rebates you can get.
What if your reno is more expensive than the Switch Program limit?
If your renovation is more expensive than the loan offered by the Switch Program, you can look into getting a personal loan or combine other options like the Sunly 0%loan for solar panels.
Also, I would recommend saving some money before making any big renos to your home.
How long does the Switch Program last?
The switch program is meant to be available for many years to come, although there is no set end year or project limit. So, if you are like me and you need to get your roof replaced in the next few years in order to get solar panels, you might have a chance to still get this loan via the Switch Program.
How fast do you need to get the renovation done?
Your renovation must be completed within a year from signing the Participation Agreement.
What happens if the property is sold while the loan is still going?
In case you sell your property during the time you still have the loan with the Switch Program, the loan can be transferred but most of the time it gets paid off in the home transaction.
Can you pay the loan in advance?
If you have the means, you can pay the loan made with the Switch program in advance.
What suggestions do I have for you in order to make the process smooth?
My best suggestion is to save up money if you can for any renovation you might want to make but if you can not, choose the switch program.
Start getting quotes in advance, even before you contact the switch program.
Email instead of calling so you can revisit the email in case you forget something.
Does it affect property tax or insurance?
I couldn't help to wonder if my property tax and insurance would go up a lot after all the upgrades made to make my home more sustainable and energy-efficient.
When I asked the question. I didn’t really get an answer from the Switch Program team because it doesn’t depend on them.
However, it makes sense for a home to be more valuable if it is sustainable so I am assuming that the property tax will increase as well.
I know for sure that most insurance companies do not cover solar panels and those who do (PEI Mutual) charge around $50 dollars extra every year.
How can you make your home more sustainable in Prince Edward Island (PEI)?
There are currently two government incentives and rebates you can take advantage of on Prince Edward Island. There is a provincial program from Solar Electric Rebate Program and a federal program through the Canada Greener Homes grant.
The newest program, launched in July 2021 is the Switch Program, a multi-provincial energy efficiency and sustainable program running under the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing Model.
Hey, Claudia here
I am a senior graphic designer, a dog mom, an advocate for a zero-waste lifestyle, climate change, and sustainability. My articles are based on personal experience and well researched to give you the best source of information for all things zero-waste.