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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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’s New Electricity Incentive Program

Posted by Admin on

Last month, the Industrial Electricity Incentive Program was introduced by the Ontario Ministry of Energy with the intention to create more local jobs in the industrial sector. Starting next January, eligible companies would receive reduced electricity rates if they create new jobs and bring in new investments to Ontario. These new companies and businesses would be able to receive contracts for up to 20 years for power costing $55 per mWh, instead of the current rate of about $75 per mWh.

The companies would be able to apply to two streams; stream 1 being for companies looking to create new operations in Ontario (making a minimum investment of $25 million) and stream 2 being available to companies with established projects and operations in Ontario with the condition that they expand their current operations. This program would not affect electricity rates for regular consumers.

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Revision of the FIT Program

Posted by Admin on May 28, 2012

Ontario’s completed revision of the FIT program has shown that energy generation and prices fell sharply, about 30% for solar power. This is in line with the worldwide trend of falling costs for global renewable energy. Much like Germany, a global solar energy leader, the decline follows the same trend with maturation.

Germany currently pays about half of what North American solar leaders such as Ontario currently pay per kWh. That is largely due to their gradual decline by reason of the development and maturation of the use of solar energy in the country.

While some argue against the increasing cost of electricity in Ontario because most believe its due to the renewable energy programs, the programs are still high in popularity. This is mostly because there is the prospect of over 43,000 jobs and an enormous amount of energy can be generated without harming the environment.

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Feed-In Tariffs around the Globe

Posted by Admin on March 13, 2012

The global financial crisis played a significant role to a decline in the Feed-In Tariff programs’ support in Europe while it was on the rise in other countries such as China and India. China introduced its first FIT program in August 2011; at the same time Japan’s Parliament approved FIT in the wake of the nuclear crisis which expected to start running fully this July.

Germany saw an unprecedented rise in solar system installations last year, while cuts to the FIT were recently announced. In the United Kingdom, proposed reductions were ruled unlawful by the court. Spain temporary suspended its FIT in 2012 which attracted strong criticism from the European Commission: “The suspension of all new renewable energy projects will also have a disturbing impact on investment in this sector. How can we plan to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and develop new industries and jobs if we create such a volatile investment climate?”

Back home, we have less than a month to wait and see what FIT review holds for all of us. Will Ontario continue to differentiate its energy mix with clean and renewable sources or will it hold on to fossil-fuel and nuclear dependency?

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Coming to your neighborhood in 2020 – SMART homes!

Posted by Admin on March 6, 2012

Ever wondered what does “smart home” mean? Have you ever thought what kind of new appliances and gadgets your house will have by 2030?

Check out fun and interactive tool which was developed by the Ontario Smart Grid forum – Ontario’s Smart Home Road map - it shows modernization process of our electricity system.

The most part we like about it? You guessed it – solar roofs! But wait, you don’t have to wait until 2020 to get them – contact us today to find out benefits of using solar energy for your household!

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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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Price review clouds outlook for solar firms

Posted by Admin on November 8, 2011

“A review of prices for renewable energy projects has brought some solar power businesses to a halt, industry players say. While the review was expected, they say the delay in announcing new prices until January has left them unable to tell prospective customers what they’ll earn if they invest in solar equipment.

“It puts the entire industry in limbo,” said Gord Siple of Sourcetec Energy in Mississauga. It was no secret that the prices would be reviewed: A review after two years was promised when the program was announced. But Siple says that because the review won’t be completed until some time the New Year, his company’s hands are now tied for months. The province says it will gather feedback on prices until Dec. 14, and then announce new prices in the New Year.

Daniel Levitan, a staffer in the office of energy minister Chris Bentley, said the same officials at the Ontario Power Authority who are conducting the price review would normally be processing applications for solar power, and simply don’t have time to do both.

The ministry and power authority will also be considering ways for reviewing prices in future to minimize the impact on the industry, he said.“This is a necessary part of the program to make sure it’s sustainable,” he said.

Kris Steven of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association said it would help some firms if there were some way of bridging the transition period. “There could be an announcement of some projects between now and then to keep things going,” he said. “There could be an interim price.”

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Do not delay on your microFIT solar project!

Posted by Admin on September 1, 2011

There is a mandatory two-year review of the Feed-In Tariff Program, but the date for this review has not yet been announced.  At this point, prices for microFIT programs remain the same.

Solar PV Projects microFIT tariffs

Rooftop ≤10kW $0.802/kWh
Ground-mounted ≤10kW $0.64.2/kWh

Logitest Solar Inc offers the initial assessment at the cost of $985 plus HST, which includes the following:

1. Solar Map – calculation of an average solar system annual income using modern technology such as Solar Pathfinder

2. Initial Engineer Assessment – a report from certified engineer whether the roof will support solar modules and quantity or not.

3. Local Distributor Company (LDC) applications – Logitest Solar will prepare all required documentation such as BCC DX Generation Connection Form, Micro-Embedded Generation Facility Connection Agreement, Form “C”, Form “B” etc)

4. Ontario Power Authority (OPA) application – Logitest Solar will prepare initial OPA application. When you apply before the mandatory review date, you may receive a conditional offer from OPA with old tariff rates applied.

Do not delay to receive the maximum microFIT tariffs possible. Sign up to receive your initial assessment and it will be completed within 2-4 weeks from the date we receive a payment.  Call us today to book the assessment (416) 479-3555 or email: info@logitestsolar.ca

CanSIA Note to members – re: microFIT announcement

Posted by Admin on August 24, 2010

Fellow solar colleagues,

A mere six weeks ago, our industry was threatened by announced changes to the Ontario Power Authority microFIT program and I am extremely pleased with the direction the government has taken today to rectify some of the issues surrounding the microFIT program.

CanSIA members, the staff and your board are also thrilled by the teamwork and collaboration among the membership which empowered our organization to remain calm, stay focused and keep a positive, productive discussion moving forward during a period of high uncertainty. Thank you to every one of our members who spoke up during our microFIT working group calls and for providing accurate data and input that led to our very well received submittal filing.

The creation of an OPA microFIT program advisory panel to provide advice on program evolution, including the two-year review process, and the inclusion of Elizabeth McDonald, CanSIA’s president as a member is a clear sign of the government’s respect for CanSIA and underlines its efforts to get this right.

I want to underscore the importance of this appointment for all CanSIA members. Elizabeth has deep experience serving on similarly mandated government committees. Most recently, she was the chair of the Ontario Solar Task Force, which convened Feb. 15, 2008 and focused on the residential solar hot water (RSHW) market in Ontario and the potential role of RSHW in meeting the province’s goal of 100,000 solar roofs.

Her participation in the OPA microFIT program advisory panelgives our membership even greater advocacy before the government and will definitely help avoid the kinds of disruptions caused by the July 2nd announcement and will lead to a more certain, sustained growth phase where our businesses can prosper.

The OPA is to be congratulated for its efforts and for listening to the diverse voices that make up the renewable energy industry. Clearly, the government’s acceptance of our suggestions shows that our rational and reasoned approach was the right way to go and I want to thank you again for your continued patronage and support in CanSIA.

We had asked the government:

to not retroactively impose a new price on microFIT applications that were already submitted;
that the ground-mount rate be reconsidered;
the application process be expedited;
an advisory panel be created; and,
that a clearly defined ongoing consultations process be established.
As evidenced by the OPA release today they heard us and the program is better for it.

As with all complex programs not all issues have been resolved but our status going forward will enable the industry to continue to be part of the dialogue and to keep the membership informed as decisions are made.

According to the OPA they will host a webinar Aug. 18 from 2 to 4 p.m. to answer questions about the finalized price, the advisory panel and other details. Information on how to participate can be found on the microFIT website.

I look forward to reporting future developments on this file in this format and thank the team at CanSIA and the members of the CanSIA microFIT working group for their tireless efforts in making our industry’s voice heard.

David Eisenbud
Chair
CanSIA Board of Directors

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