The solar thermal industry in Canada has been supported historically by the Federal Government through direct subsidy programs where 25% of the installation costs have been paid for. However until very recently this has not allowed renewable energy to compete with very cheap energy prices. The result has been the vast majority of solar systems being in the single family home and small commercial markets where cost of energy is not the primary driver. According to Natural Resources Canada the average size of commercial solar thermal systems installed in Canada taking part in this program (2007) was only 15 collectors (excluding Mondial’s commercial projects).
Recent Provincial Government programs have provided further incentives, piggybacking directly onto the Federal program to further reduce costs.
Natural gas prices have risen sharply in recent years, making solar thermal competitive with fossil fuel generation for the first time.