Higgins Insurance recently received the Sustainable Energy Certification. This certification was awarded for the energy efficiency study started over 3 years ago and culminated in the installation of 35 PV Solar Panels on our building’s roof. We are proud to be a Certified Green Business, perhaps the first Insurance Broker Office in Atlantic Canada to have solar technology.
Bob Keays our Director of Business Development Interviewed Adrian Adams, Chief Customer Experience Officer and asked why Solar Energy was important to the business?
Why is Going Green important for your business?
We all have a responsibility to do what we can to reduce our carbon foot print. Many other industries are working towards being carbon neutral, and we felt as a good corporate citizen we needed to do our part. By installing new windows, lighting and improved insulation we saw a noticeable difference in our building’s overall performance with respect to energy consumption. The challenge was to do even more. By installing the solar panels, our overall energy consumption from NB Power has been reduced by 47.5% year over year. Our team is extremely proud of this accomplishment and we will continue to look for ways to continue to improve.
What are some benefits?
Benefits can be measured and illustrated in a variety of different ways. For Higgins Insurance, we looked at this from a few angles:
- Financial: reduced operating costs with lower monthly NB Power bill, that will result in a positive project return in 10 years.
- Business: No lost productivity and service to our clients. Very low maintenance.
- Environmental: All data suggests that energy produced by Solar Power is cleaner and safer than other energy production. As well, it is renewable, so there is no concern about the future impact as we expand and demand more power.
Why was installing solar panels important for your business?
We are in the business of managing risk for our clients. We do this by providing advice about how someone can reduce, eliminate and/or transfer this risk. When we looked at our own operation we identified some gaps that concerned our team.
In Atlantic Canada, downed power lines is a seasonal event. It can be wind storms in the Spring and Fall or ice storms in the Winter. Our office has been impacted by this, and we felt that as Risk Managers we needed to be available when our client’s needed us the most.
By installing the solar panels and battery inverter back-up, we can maintain 50% of our office on a critical load panel that is directly tied to the solar energy source. We have also developed some redundancies that would allow voice and fax lines to work on both traditional land lines and VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) lines, so we are always at the ready.
Fortunately, at the time of publication of this article, we have not had to deploy this office configuration. However, should the weather change, we are ready and the lights will be on at Higgins Insurance.
Who installed the solar panels?
The Smart Energy Company completed the design and installation of Higgins Insurance’s Solar Energy + Generac Clean Energy Storage project. Smart Energy is a local New Brunswick company that to date has completed >50% of the Solar Photovoltaic systems in the province, totaling > 1 MW of installed generation capacity. The Smart Energy Company™
In operation in New Brunswick since 2016, Smart Energy has two significant solar energy firsts in the province; installation of both the largest private solar system at Auenland Farm in Knightville, NB, and the largest Net Metered solar system at Day & Ross’ “Terminal of the Future” in Moncton, NB. Smart Energy was also recently awarded the implementation of NB Power’s first utility scale 1.63-megawatt solar farm in Shediac which will feature over 4,000 solar panels connected to an energy storage system. This project will produce enough energy to power approximately 100 homes for a year!
The future for Smart Energy is truly exciting as we recently launched NOREASTER®, our comprehensive solar energy system, which is made in New Brunswick, by New Brunswickers and available in both Customer Ready-to-Assemble and Turnkey Installation packages. The Smart Energy Company: Making Sustainable Energy Happen (higginsinsurance.ca)
Are there any government incentives?
Several funding opportunities exist to help support the implementation of Solar Photovoltaic systems. These include both provincial and federal programs for consumers and businesses including industry-specific incentives.
NB Power Programs
- Total Home Energy Savings Program: complete a Home Energy Evaluation and receive rebates on efficiency upgrades including the installation of solar energy systems.
- Commercial Buildings Retrofit Program: Provides financial incentives to assist Commercial Buildings to identify projects and offset the capital cost of the implementation of eligible upgrades
Provincial Funding Programs
- Environmental Trust Fund: Aids with action-oriented projects with tangible, measurable results, aimed at protecting, preserving, and enhancing the province’s natural environment
Federal Funding Programs
- Canada Greener Homes Grant: Provides funds for home evaluations and for retrofits including Solar Energy.
- Government of Canada Tax Savings for Industry: The Government of Canada makes clean energy projects, such as solar energy, wind energy and energy from waste, more fiscally attractive for industry by providing business income tax incentives that reduce Corporate Income Tax
- Agricultural Clean Technology Program: Supports the purchase and installation of commercially available clean technologies and processes that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, such as solar energy systems.
- Fisheries and Aquaculture Clean Technology Adoption Program: Encouraging Canadian fisheries and aquaculture to reduce environmental impacts by implementing clean technologies and measures, such as solar energy systems.