The Ontario government has finally released the long-awaited review of the feed-in tariff program (FIT and MicroFIT).
Reactions from the solar industries have been almost unanimously positive, because the report renews the government’s commitment to helping build a made-in Ontario solar industry and continues the subsidies to do so. They are also pleased that much of the bureaucratic process will be streamlined, especially for MicroFIT (small projects for home, farm and small business installations like mine).
Less pleasing to the solar industry are that the prices (subsidies) are being cut by somewhere in the range of 30%. Michelle Chislett, Chair of the Canadian Solar Industries Association calls them “aggressive”. On the plus side, cutting prices will force the industry to improve and become more efficient, so they are probably a good thing.
The new rates for ground mounted solar installations will be 44.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. For roof-mounted installations, the rate will be 54.9 cents. Aggressive cuts indeed. Too much, too fast? Perhaps. If it brings new installations to a halt, it will prove to have been too deep cutting. We will have to see whether the solar industry can bring in matching efficiencies to keep the MicroFit program attractive.