The Nova Scotia government is welcoming spring with newly-introduced amendments to its Electricity Act which will clear the way for creation of community solar gardens.

Energy and Mines Minister Chuck Porter said the changes are a first step towards building new solar programs in the province.

“The amendments will help grow the solar industry in Nova Scotia, creating green jobs while giving individuals, communities and businesses more options to use renewable energy sources and keeping rates stable,” he said.

The new Shared Solar Program will reduce barriers to solar adoption for communities and businesses. It will also allow those renting apartments to adopt solar energy through a shared ownership or subscription model.

Under the new program, municipalities, First Nation bands, co-ops, and not-for-profits can create community solar gardens which can help reduce energy poverty and directly benefit communities, the government said in a statement.

Amendments will also allow non-residential customers to scale up their solar installations while still benefiting from the program. A new project cap will be determined through stakeholder engagement.

The amendments introduced to the Electricity Act will not affect power rates for those not participating.

The Nova Scotia government recently announced it would join the federal government in moving to renewable energy sources for all its electricity needs by 2025 through the Green Choice program.