A local solar energy specialist has received a government incentive after their innovation in the energy sector. 

Tax incentive consultancy Catax reveals that the Merritt based SEI logistics secured $39,463 in tax credits after developing a portable solar panel that can be used in remote and harsh environments.

One of the primary sources of investment that the Government of Canada gives to businesses and organizations operating in this sector is the Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) program. This tax incentive for innovation allows businesses to claim back expenses incurred on research and development (R&D) activity. 

Catax awards SEI Logistics with the $39,463 cheque. Photo/SEI Logistics

“Knowing we can rely on SR&ED has completely energized our whole approach to innovation. The benefits it brings mean we’re investing more in R&D than ever before,” said SEI Logistics CEO Eric Little.

“Making the most of the SR&ED program is therefore a key part of our strategy but, at first, it can be difficult to gauge what qualifies. The process was a smooth one and we now know what to look for and record so that we get every cent we’re owed. It has become a key part of how we cost our projects and decide which activities are worth proceeding with.”

The incentive is made up of a combination of federal and provincial funding. Not every cost associated with R&D can be included in a claim, however the main qualifying expenses include staff costs, salaries, materials, as well as payments to contractors and third parties.

SEI has been operating in the renewable energy sector since 2018. One of the company’s key objectives was to ensure that solar panels could be used by those living and working in areas with environmental and geological challenges that make traditional energy sources difficult to access. 

The company also needed to make sure they could be deployed almost anywhere — a challenge given that most solar arrays require cranes for installation. The company developed a foldable, modular design to solve this problem, which isn’t something the solar industry has attempted before. 

“SEI Logistics is carrying out essential work by ensuring that people living and working in some of the most challenging environments of Canada have access to a reliable and green source of energy, and this technology will have uses far beyond the oil and gas industry,” Richard Hoy, President of specialist R&D tax incentive consultancy Catax Canada said.  

“This is a perfect example of what SR&ED is designed to support, furthering technical knowledge in the fight against climate change, while also overcoming everyday challenges people face in the far north of the country.”

Prior to this development, there were no structures with solar panels in Canada that could harness as much energy, while still being able to move around without permanent fixtures. This tech will have uses in the future far beyond just the oil and gas industry.