Ontario Solar Farm Projects Subject to New Regulations

Posted by Admin on August 24, 2012

“The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) launched the next phase of the province’s Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program.

The most notable change affecting farmers wishing to apply for a FIT project on their farm is a new regulation regarding land classification types. The version 2.0 policy document has tightened limitations for solar projects and solar farms will no longer be allowed on Class 3 or organic soils. This change is in addition to Class 1 and 2 agriculture soil types that don’t allow ground-mounted solar projects.

Other changes were made to project priorities. The new point’s system also takes into consideration factors such as municipal support, aboriginal support, project readiness.  Of course, available grid capacity for the project based on existing electrical infrastructure remains a substantial challenge in many areas.”

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Building-Integrated Photovoltaics in Toronto

Posted by Admin on July 26, 2012

The Enwave Theatre in Toronto has now completed the new work by glass artist Sarah Hall. She created “Waterglass”, which combines art and solar cells with insulating glass, and it creates bright waves of blue around the building. The west part of her work has 540 cells on 10 panels, and it is a first for Toronto. This concept is called building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV).

Through the integration of solar cells, this method of applying PVs differs from solar panels you may see on the roof, through conspicuous placements such as roof shingles, skylights, windows, or siding. As big as BIPV is in Europe and Asia, this is very new to Canada. This is partially due to the FIT program not designing and factoring in the potential of BIPV projects.

With the large amount of new high-rise buildings coming to Toronto, this is the perfect time to considering integrating solar into architectural designs. This concept also should potentially have its own FIT rate.

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Top MicroFIT 2.0 Highlights

Posted by Admin on July 19, 2012

The new updates to Ontario’s microFIT program have been released, and people have been wondering about how 2.0 rules differ from the first microFIT draft. There is a new cost for per kilowatt hour, which is still appealing at $0.549. A new size limit of 10 kW for both DC and AC is now in effect, as well. The new rules apply to all those who applied on or after September 1st, 2011. The old applications will be processed first, followed by the new ones. However, all the old applications must be resubmitted before August 10 to keep their place in the queue.  As well, the entire microFIT process has replaced the step of Conditional Offer to Approval Notice. There is now a limit of one microFIT project per individual. Non-roof mounted projects also cannot be on residential properties anymore. The prices of FIT will also now be annually reviewed.

Contact us to find out our new reduced prices on PV solar turnkey system and installation services!

MicroFIT Version 2.0 has Officially Launched

Posted by Admin on July 12, 2012

Microfit 2.0 is now accepting applications from both pre-existing and new applicants. The OPA will commence awarding 50 MW worth of projects.

For existing applicants, those who submitted their applications between September 1st of last year and April 5th of this year will be subject to version 2.0 of the microFIT rules. These applicants must submit a revised application form to the OPA between July 12 and August 10th. Those who submit their applications within this window will keep their original time stamp and reference number and will have priority reviews by the OPA. The pre-existing applications that have not been re-submitted between this window will be terminated.

As for the new applicants, they will also be subject to the new rules and all new applicants must register before applying. New applicants will not be reviewed until all pre-existing applications have been processed. This may take several weeks, and the OPA encourages new applicants to monitor their accounts for updates on their application’s status.

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Revision of the FIT Program

Posted by Admin on July 11, 2012

The Ontario Minister of Energy initiated a directive for the Ontario Power Authority to revise the FIT and microFIT rules and go forth in implementing the programs. Click here to read this directive.

Over the next week or so, the OPA will be revising the rules which will be posted with the new edition of the contract form. The government will instruct the OPA to issue and approve the microFIT contracts, then let in a window of smaller FIT projects (under 500 kW). Larger FIT projects are anticipated to commence in early 2013. The announcement from the provincial government is expected shortly.

Ontario Provincial Budget has Passed

Posted by Admin on June 21, 2012

The provincial budget was finally passed, and the threat of election has been lightened this week in Ontario. After a week of heated arguments between Premier Dalton McGuinty and Andrea Horwath, amendments to the initial budgets were made, and the revised budget was passed. The revision included the wealth tax on the people who make over $500, 000 a year which was surprisingly supported by the Conservative party.  This tax was supported by 78% of people in a Forum Research poll taken this April.

Hudak, the leader of the Conservatives, aimed to achieve a budget that could boost job growth and cut down at the $10 billion debt that Ontarians have accumulated.  This new budget is relevant to all fields of business in Ontario. Last May, there was a sudden halt in the microFIT process. Now that there is no threat of election anytime soon, the microFIT program is here to stay and should continue to prove itself as a beneficial and “green” movement.

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Ontario: Canada’s Greenest Province

Posted by Admin on June 11, 2012

The province of Ontario has been named Canada’s greenest province in the most recent Green Provincial Report Card released by the Corporate Knights. This report card assessed provinces on their performance in 7 different categories: air and climate, water, nature, transportation, waste, energy, and innovation. Our province earned the highest grade in this year’s report card.

The province was acknowledged on their reduction of green house gas emissions and their phasing out of coal-fired electricity generation. Ontario also introduced the proposal of the Great Lakes Protection Act this week which would ensure cleaner lakes for future generations. The McGuinty government is focused on protecting Ontario’s air, land, and water as well as enhancing quality of life for Ontario families and to ensure a strong and eco-friendly economy.

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Dear Hudak, Cut the REAL Cause of the Increase in Energy Costs: Nuclear

Posted by Admin on May 18, 2012

Don Ross recently released an article in response to Tim Hudak’s potential strategy of reducing energy costs by cutting the Feed-In Tariff program. What Hudak’s nuclear-biased plan did not factor in, was that green energy only accounted for 6% of the increase in energy costs, while nuclear was the largest factor, accounting for almost 50% of the increase.

Ross responds to Hudak by stating that to reduce energy costs, the government needs to begin shutting down the inefficient and costly power plants and urges them to develop a better strategy in reducing costs. He specifically suggested doing so through the closing of the Pickering nuclear station.

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Holmes on Solar Homes

Posted by Admin on May 15, 2012

Mike Holmes released an article arguing why PV panel installation on roofs is a great idea for both homeowners and the government. He argues that because of the profit both see, along with the benefits of renewable energy as opposed to nonrenewable, the FIT and microFIT programs are “win-win”.

He approved of the efforts made by the Ontario government through the Green Energy Act and wondered why other provinces are not on-board. He also expressed great frustration with the OPA’ halt in issuing licenses until the government created a new program because of the large number of home and business owners interested in participating in this beneficial program.

He concluded by stating that the microFIT program “creates jobs. It helps the environment. It saves homeowners money on energy. It’s logical.”

If you are interested in installing solar panels on your roof and participating in microFIT, contact us.

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Ontario won’t alter local content in green-energy

Posted by Admin on February 23, 2012

n an interview with Reuters, Energy Minister Chris Bentley said the review will be complete by the end of March, and, as has been widely expected, will recommend cuts in generous government subsidies for the production of green energy. Bentley would not say how big the cuts will be, however.

“I am working really hard to get it done in the first quarter… I know people are anxious,” he said.

The centerpiece of the program is the feed-in tariff (FIT), a plan similar to ones in Germany and Spain that pays above-market rates to producers of renewable energy from sources such as the sun, wind and biomass.

The province says the FIT program, which pays some of the world’s richest rates to solar power producers, has attracted investment commitments of C$26 billion ($26 billion) and created more than 20,000 jobs.

Central to the FIT program’s job-creating strategy are local content rules, which require projects that want FIT financial support to source 50-60 percent of their equipment and services in Ontario.

Bentley said the requirement would not be tampered with in the review. “We are committed to those rules,” he said.

Bentley confirmed widespread expectations that FIT rates will be cut because the costs of raw materials and manufactured components have fallen. He declined to comment on which types of renewable energy will face rate reductions and by how much.

“We are anticipating changes to the pricing because the cost of solar modules have dropped considerably,” National Bank Financial analyst Rupert Merer said.

In a recent report, Merer said solar module prices have crashed from close to C$4 per watt to as low as C$1 per watt in the more than two years since the FIT was set up.

He said the province was “absolutely looking” at adding new technologies, such as energy storage or small wind projects, to the FIT program. Wind energy is covered by the program but all projects receive the same rate, unlike solar, where small projects are paid higher rates.

Nuclear power will continue to generate 50 percent of Ontario’s power, Bentley said, despite plans by several European countries, including Germany and Belgium, to exit nuclear after the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

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