Toronto – Earlier today, the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure announced changes to the Ontario micro Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program, the program guaranteeing the price paid to renewable energy generators. The proposed changes are designed to address the backlog of microFIT applications, and to ensure Ontario builds a strong solar manufacturing sector, and electricity ratepayers are protected from sizeable increases in electricity bills.
“Small scale solar power projects are a key part of Ontario’s clean energy future” said Kris Stevens, Executive Director of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, a member of the Green Energy Act Alliance. “We congratulate the government for reaffirming its commitment to the renewable energy industry and the citizens of Ontario that have become green energy champions and entrepreneurs.”   
The proposed changes include: proceeding with all existing applications for ground-mount solar projects at the original price (80.2 cents per kilowatt hour), not allowing companies to aggregate projects on different properties at the higher microFIT rate, set up a stakeholder panel to assess a FIT review process, and establish a new microFIT rate for small ground-mount installations at 64.2 cents per kilowatt-hour.
“Farmers need to be a big part of reaching our renewable energy goals and we need to develop trust for these programs,” said Don McCabe, Vice-President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, a member of the Green Energy Act Alliance. “The government has listened to our advice on how to ensure credibility and integrity in the FIT program and acted on it.”
Today’s announcement follows a 30 day comment period that began July 2, 2010 on a proposed price change for small ground mounted solar projects that would have changed the price of project currently in the application phase. Other proposed changes included an adjustment to the time required to respond to microFIT applicants. The Ontario Power Authority hosted online webinars for participants to ask questions and voice their concerns.
“The environment and economy both benefit from the boom in renewable energy investment that Ontario will no doubt experience as a result of the feed-in tariff,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environment Defence, a member of the Green Energy Act Alliance. “The 19,000 applications the Ontario Power Authority has already received are a testament to the enthusiasm there is for the FIT, and the potential for significant growth in solar and wind industry jobs in Ontario.”
About the Green Energy Act Alliance: The Alliance’s vision is to make Ontario a global leader in green energy development through the use of renewable energy, distributed energy and conservation, creating thousands of jobs, economic prosperity, and energy security, while ensuring climate protection. Member groups include: Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, Community Power Fund, David Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defence, United Steelworkers, First Nations Energy Alliance, Ivey Foundation, Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the Pembina Institute (www.GreenEnergyAct.ca).
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For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; (647) 280-9521 (cell)