Last October the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) launched the successful microFIT Program.
Participation in the program is very popular and it has vastly surpassed expectations. In fact, more than 16,000 applications have been submitted, with a large majority being for ground-mounted solar projects.
Due to this overwhelming popularity for the ground-mounted solar projects, the OPA is proposing a new pricing category of 58.8 cents kilowatt-hour (¢/kWh) for these projects. This will help ensure the program remains sustainable and electricity ratepayers – Ontario families – receive good value for new, clean, reliable renewable energy.
The new price category will better reflect the lower costs to install a ground-mounted solar PV project versus a rooftop project. It will provide a price that enables future project owners to recover costs of the projects as well as earn a reasonable return on their investment over the long term. The OPA will consult with applicants over the next 30 days about the proposed price of 58.8 ¢/kWh. During this time the microFIT application intake will continue.
The microFIT Program is designed to encourage homeowners, farmers, small businesses and institutions to develop small renewable energy generation projects of 10 kilowatts or less. Project owners are paid a fixed price for the electricity they produce, with prices set to recover costs as well as earn a reasonable return over the 20-year term of the contract.
“The OPA believes the new price category is fair, reasonable, more accurately reflects the costs associated with ground-mounted projects and maintains the long-term stability of the program,” says Colin Andersen, Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Power Authority. “It enables the program to continue to meet its original goals and provides proper value to both generators and ratepayers.”
Under the proposed new price category, ground-mounted microFIT applicants who already have an executed contract or received a conditional contract offer from the OPA will receive the original price of 80.2 ¢/kWh, consistent with the microFIT rules. All other ground-mounted microFIT projects, including those for which an application has been submitted but have not yet received a contract or conditional contract offer, will receive the price following consultations on the proposed 58.8 ¢/kWh. Ground-mounted microFIT applications will be processed following the 30-day comment period.
The OPA will hold a number of webinars to discuss the introduction of this proposed new price category and answer questions. The OPA will also accept comments by e-mail and regular mail. Details on how to participate in the webinars or submit comments can be found on the microFIT website: http://microfit.powerauthority.on.ca/.
The Ontario Power Authority is responsible for ensuring a reliable, sustainable supply of electricity for Ontario. Its four key areas of focus are: planning the power system for the long term, leading and co-ordinating conservation initiatives across the province, ensuring development of needed generation resources, and supporting the continued evolution of the electricity sector.