Ontario’s energy regulator received almost 500MW of project proposals, including 463MW of photovoltaics (PV), in the five-and-a-half week period that the feed-in tariff (FiT) window was last open.
According to regulator Ontario Power Authority (OPA), responsible for overseeing the Canadian province's FiT 3.0 programme, it received a total of 1,982 applications for renewable energy totalling 493.71MW of capacity in the period between 4 November and 13 December last year. Applications were for solar, wind, hydropower and bioenergy projects of between 10kW and 500kW proposed capacity.
The vast majority of PV project proposals received by OPA, 76.8%, were rooftop-based, 311.42MW of capacity across 1,499 applications. A further 383 applications with a combined capacity of 151.85MW were made for ground-mounted PV.
Priority will be given to projects with Aboriginal, community, municipal and public sector participation.
New PV systems built from 1 January 2014 will receive FiTs at rates published in August 2013, with the next review of tariffs expected in winter of this year. OPA will only be able to award FiTs for up to 123.5MW of projects in this round of the scheme.
Ontario’s ‘micro-FiT’ scheme for projects of up to 10kW capacity is continuing to accept applications. The province will procure up to 65.3MW of microFiT projects this year. Ontario also recently launched the Unbuilt Rooftop Solar Pilot programme, for buildings yet to be constructed, with a separate procurement target of 15MW.
OPA now manages 2,608 projects which receive a FiT, with a total capacity of 4,624MW. A total of 1,147MW across 868 projects have already reached commercial operation. According to OPA, by the end of December last year cumulative installed capacity of PV in the province hit 900MW.
Aiming to continue the increase of renewable energy generation capacity in Ontario, OPA also intends to launch a procurement process for renewable projects exceeding 500kW in size later this year. The province has an overall aim of installing 10.7GW of wind, solar and biomass by 2021, and a 2025 goal of 20GW.
Several large-scale PV projects have changed hands in Ontario recently, including the sale of a 10MW plant by Canadian Solar to energy infrastructure company TransCanada. The province also recently eliminated a domestic content requirement for renewable energy projects.