OPA reduces incentive for ground-mounted solar power
Existing contracts will be honoured but proposal of 58.8 cents/kilowatt hour for new entrants deemed more realistic
by Kristian Partington
The Ontario Power Authority is proposing to lower its fixed-rate pricing for ground-mounted solar projects under the microFIT program, launched last October.
When the program was announced, landowners were encouraged to submit proposals for small electricity-generation projects less than 10 kilowatts. The fixed price for solar operations was set at 80.2 cents/kilowatt hour.
Under the new proposal, ground-mounted solar projects will be paid out at 58.8 cents/kilowatt hour whereas other solar operations, such as roof-mounted panels, will still warrant the original price.
“The OPA believes the new price category is fair, reasonable, more accurately reflects the costs associated with ground-mounted projects and maintains the long-term stability of the program,” said OPA Chief Executive Officer Colin Anderson in a press release late Friday.
More than 16,000 applications for consideration under the microFIT program have been submitted, the bulk of which are for ground-mounted solar projects. The Ontario Power Authority states it will honour the original pricing for projects that have already received a contract or a conditional contract offer.
There will be a consultation process over the month of July and those parties with a vested interest in the proposal are encouraged to take part in web-based seminars and comment in writing until August 3.
The OPA states the proposed changes better reflect the costs associated with ground mounted solar PV projects versus rooftop operations.
“It seems like a bit of a turnaround from my perspective,” said Tom Main, a landowner outside of Norwood who is considering solar power generation on his 115-acre property. “I’m definitely going to have to rethink my intentions and decide what the most practical approach is going to be – I don’t know if I’ll move forward with my plan or not.”
For more information on the microFIT program and the fixed-pricing proposal visit www.microfit.powerauthority.on.ca or call 1-888-387-3403 BF
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