Dear CanSIA Members and solar energy stakeholders,
CanSIA would like to inform members that the Ontario Minister of Energy has issued a Directive to the Ontario Power Authority to finalize the Rules and Contracts for the FIT 2.0 and microFIT 2.0 programs. The long process included broad consultation throughout the industry by the Ontario Government in an effort to ensure a sustainable program.
Our members will note from the summary below that their input has had a direct, significant and positive impact on the finalization of the microFIT and FIT program requirements.
Highlights of Changes
The Minister of Energy has directed the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to make the following changes to the Draft FIT 2.0 Rules & Contracts:
- Begin to award 50MW of microFIT and 200MW of small FIT projects as soon as possible.
- The microFIT rules/contract and application window will be available on the OPA’s website this week – potentially as early as tomorrow.
- The application window for small FIT will open at the same time as the rules/contract are posted. The OPA is committed to completing this task before the end of the month.
- The OPA will provide further information on the timeline for the large FIT application window at a later date.
- The contract termination clause has been returned to the language used in the FIT 1.0 rules, and other financing concerns addressed.
- New Priority Points category: One point is now being offered for being in the queue before July 4, 2011 and 0.5 points for being in the queue since July 5, 2011. These Eligibility points can be added to existing project readiness points making a total of 2 points now possible.
Specific to ground mount projects:
- The Ministry of Energy will be organizing a Working Group, in which CanSIA will have a lead role, to provide information and recommendations (e.g. set-backs) to accommodate ground mount installations on residential / abutting residential / rural with zoned residential lands.
- FIT solar ground mounted projects on CLI-mapped Class I, II, III lands that are contaminated or have a historical use that prevents the land from being used for agricultural production, will be allowed. The exemption list includes: airports; contaminated sites; industrial where energy is secondary use; closed landfills and military facilities. Development on Class III lands will also be allowed if a municipality owns the land or an approval is granted.
- Development on mixed soils permitted with soil study with no restriction on amount of Class I, II, III soils provided you avoid these soils.
CanSIA’s representations to decision-makers have directly contributed to these rule changes. The entire membership showed commitment to making Ontario’s solar industry more sustainable. I would like to thank everyone for their dedication to this process and once again offer special thanks to our Caucus and Working Group Chairs who as volunteers have gone way beyond the call of duty:
- David Cork, Isolara Solar Power (Chair Micro-Scale FIT Review Working Group)
- Carlo Di Gioacchino, Northgrid Solar (Chair Small-Scale FIT Review Working Group)
- Michael Zimerman, Group IV Solar (Chair Large-Scale FIT Review Working Group)
- Sarah Simmons, Sussex Strategy Group (Chair Ontario PV Caucus)
- Bob Waddell, Centrosolar Canada Inc. (Sponsoring Director of the Ontario PV Caucus)
Clearly the hard work has paid off and the FIT and microFIT programs have been improved for the benefit of the sector and the province as a whole. While these new Rules do raise the bar for eligibility into the microFIT and FIT programs, and reduces the tariffs paid for facilities to be contracted, Ontario’s solar industry has been made more sustainable, transparent and predictable as a result.
For the full details of the Directives regarding FIT 2.0 and microFIT 2.0 rules and contracts,
see OPA Directives from the Minister of Energy.