On July 2, 2010, the Ontario Power Authority (OPA)
introduced a proposed change to the pricing for ground-mounted
solar PV projects up to 10 kilowatts in size. The OPA, at the same
time, issued version 1.4 of the microFIT Rules which among other
changes amends the definition of "Rooftop Facility."
Subject to a 30-day public comment period that is now underway on
the proposed pricing change, effective July 2, 2010, all
ground-mounted solar PV projects that are less than or equal to 10
kilowatts and without an executed microFIT Contract or a signed
Conditional Offer for a microFIT Contract will only be eligible for
a new lower price of 58.8 cents/kWh, rather than the price of 80.2
cents/kWh that was initially set as the price for all micro-scale
solar PV projects at the launch of the FIT and microFIT programs.
MicroFIT applications will continue to be accepted during the
comment period and solar PV projects that qualify as "Rooftop
Facilities" will continue to be eligible for the 80.2
According to the OPA, more than 16,000 microFIT applications
have been received to date, most of which are expected to be
ground-mounted solar PV projects, being approximately 10 kilowatts
in size. The OPA has moved to the lower price level in order to
"better reflect the lower costs to install a ground-mounted
solar PV project versus a rooftop project" and "provide
ground-mounted solar generators with the same reasonable rate of
return that other generators will receive over the 20-year term of
In addition to the new price category, the OPA's issuance of
the new microFit Rules (version 1.4) effective July 2, 2010,
changes the definition of the term "Rooftop Facility" to
require that permanent buildings on which solar panels are to be
installed, be in existence prior to the submission of the microFIT
application. This is intended to ensure that permanent buildings
that would not otherwise be commercially viable but for the revenue
derived from the microFIT Contract are not eligible to qualify a
solar project as a "Rooftop Facility" with the
corresponding higher price per kilowatt-hour.
Although these changes are currently confined to the microFIT
program documents, it is anticipated that a similar definition
change will be introduced shortly for the larger FIT program.
These changes represent a dramatic impact for a large number of
developers, equipment suppliers and landowners (predominantly
farmers and rural landowners) in the ground-mounted solar PV
industry, many of whom had begun investing significantly in
anticipation of receiving 20-year microFIT Contracts priced at 80.2
cents/kWh. In addition, developers planning to construct rooftop
solar PV projects on buildings that are intended to be constructed
only after securing a microFIT Contract have been essentially
halted by these changes
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Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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