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The microFIT review will have a detrimental effect on Ontario’s residential solar PV market, predicts a report by independent research firm ClearSky Advisors. Expecting a growth of 31%, ClearSky is downgrading its installation forecast from December 2011 by more than 150MW to a total of 368MW for 2012. The report looks at the Ontario PV market for the period 2012 through to 2018, including market forecast scenarios, supply capacity and pricing, market volume and value.
The report highlights several factors contributing to the slower growth in the market, but the most prominent is the lack of new contracts in the microFIT segment due to the FiT review, which will lead to a contraction of the microFIT segment in 2012.
Due to the on-going delays in the province’s Renewable Energy Approval (REA) process, many utility-scale projects that originally planned to enter commercial operation by spring 2012 are still stuck in the approval process.
On a more optimistic note, the report states that Q2 of 2012 has seen the rate of Renewable Energy Approvals gain pace, something that will positively impact market activity in 2H2012 and 2013.
“A positive trend for 2012 has been the increasing momentum in the commercial rooftop market,” says Justin Malecki, analyst at ClearSky Advisors. “Compared to previous years, the promise held by the commercial market is starting to pay off for developers and is offering equipment manufacturers some relief given the other trends affecting the Ontario market.”
Other highlights include:
1) Short-Term: Expect a wave of utility-scale contracts to reach commercial operation by the end of 2012. The province will begin procurement of new microFIT and commercial contracts before the end of the year.
2) Mid-Term: With FIT2.0 contracts for commercial and microFIT segments entering the market, ClearSky Advisors expects 2013 and 2014 to be peak years in the Ontario PV market.
3) Supply: 2012 has seen a growth of bankable supply of modules in Ontario, providing ample choice for utility-scale developers.
The Ontario government is currently facing a dispute with SkyPower, seeking damages for the loss of clients as a result of subsidy changes, which could set a precedent for the future if the situation continues to deteriorate.