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Canadian feed-in tariff approves solar projects

The feed-in tariff in the province of Ontario has approved the first trache of larger solar energy projects.

Of the 510 projects approved by the Ontario Power Authority, 95% are for solar energy, with 20 biogas, four hydropower, three onshore wind and one biomass system. The feed-in tariff pays up to C$0.71/kWh over 20 years for roof-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, with lower payments for ground-mounted solar and for other renewable energy technologies.

These are the first larger generators to obtain contracts through the feed-in tariff, which is a key component of Ontario’s Green Energy & Green Economy Act that was passed into law last May. The Ontario Power Authority is responsible for implementing the programme.

By encouraging development of renewable energy, the feed-in tariff will help Ontario to phase out coal-fired electricity generation by 2014 (“the largest climate change initiative in Canada”), boost economic activity and the development of renewable energy technologies and create new green industries and jobs.

Domestic content

In recent weeks, Samsung and Bosch have announced plans to invest more than C$7 billion to set up facilities in the province. The feed-in tariff has domestic content requirements to ensure that much of the renewable energy technology comes from Ontario.

For solar PV projects larger than 10 kW, developers must ensure that 50% of goods and labour are made in Ontario; the level increases to 60% in 2011.

“These projects will create a new source of income while providing new clean and green electricity in Ontario, particularly on hot, sunny summer days when demand soars,” says Energy Minister Brad Duguid. “With our new domestic content rules, these projects will also help create new green collar jobs here in Ontario, as well as major economic investments in equipment and services here at home.”

The 510 feed-in tariff projects will be built in 120 communities by farmers, municipalities, local distribution companies, commercial businesses, industrial customers, schools, hospitals, a winery and a church. The projects range from 10 kW to 500 kW in capacity, with total generating capacity of 112 MW.

Supermarket chain to consider solar for 136 stores

Loblaw Companies, Canada’s largest supermarket retailer, was approved for rooftop solar installations on 136 of its stores in Ontario. The company will launch four solar pilot projects in select stores and then evaluate the next phase of rollouts.

“This initiative is part of Loblaw’s overall effort to support renewable energy sources and green operation and embraces ways to reduce our carbon footprint,” explains Bob Chant. “We are committed to driving green energy production using new and innovative technologies, such as this pilot project with photovoltaic panels.”

The Ontario Power Authority began accepting feed-in tariff applications last October and received 956 eligible applications for the first round of feed-in tariff contracts, including these 510 projects. Because they are under a 500 kW threshold, these projects can be connected to the grid without detailed impact assessments necessary for larger projects.

Last December, the OPA approved 700 smaller (<10kW) solar projects from 2200 applications. The feed-in tariff will pay more than C$0.80/kWh for these systems.

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Bioenergy  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity  •  Wind power

 

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