Ontario to proceed with FiT and microFiT programmes

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Further to the draft bill released in August, the Ontario Ministry of Energy has directed the Ontario Power Authority to continue the province’s feed-in tariff and microFiT programmes, in order that a pilot programme can be initiated as soon as possible in 2013.

The directive outlines specific government policy that needs to be implemented with respect to ground-mounted solar PV projects, strengthening community and aboriginal participation, re-launching the Community Energy Partnerships Program (CEPP) and Aboriginal Renewable Energy Fund (AREF) and connecting constrained MicroFIT projects.

The OPA has been directed to open the small FiT application window as soon as possible and to follow through with 200MW of projects. The OPA is responsible for developing the programme rules and contract as soon as possible in 2013 for a pilot programme for applicants with unconstructed buildings wishing to apply for small FiT rooftop solar contracts.

CanSIA, the Ontario industry association, said: “The long process included broad consultation throughout the industry by the Ontario Government in an effort to ensure a sustainable programme.”

Highlights of changes

In relation to a ground-mounted solar photovoltaic generation facility on residential and rural lands that is greater than 10kW the OPA has been instructed to not:

(i) enter into a FiT contract; or
(ii) consent to a site amendment for an existing FiT contract.

However, to circumvent this, all a supplier would be required to do is construct its facility 20 metres away from all property lines on rural land and 100 metres on residential land with a visual buffer screen.

Capacity limits have been set for community and aboriginal projects to encourage project development within these groups.

For projects with greater than 50% of community or aboriginal equity participation, the cap will be up to 100MW and divided equally between community equity participation projects and aboriginal equity participation.

The OPA will also cap the total programme year funding available for these projects to CAD$500,000 respectively.

However, the fact that Ontario is proceeding full speed ahead with its FiT programmes demonstrates its indifference to the recently released report from the World Trade Organisation claiming the WTO will rule that Ontario’s FiT is in violation of WTO non-discrimination policy.

PV-Tech has approached CanSIA for comment.
 

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