Rooftop solar installations in the province fall under Ontario’s Feed-In Tariff (FIT) Program which was created by the Green Energy and Green Economy Act of 2009. The FIT Program promotes the development of renewable energy sources by offering guaranteed long-term contracts to purchase green energy at fixed rates. Subsidizing renewable energy in this way is a bold investment in the future of the province, stimulating technological innovation and offsetting the unavoidable costs of paving a new way forward.
Of course, as progress marches on and the industry continues to develop, new technologies become available and the cost of renewable installations decrease. This is how things should be, and it is an indication that the FIT Program is working as intended. So, understandably, the province decided to undertake a review of the rates offered to new installations under the FIT Program. We knew that the rates would drop, but there was no way of knowing by how much, leaving hundreds of pending installation contracts in limbo.
The new rate, announced last week, of 53.9¢/kWh is lower than the 57.0¢/kWh that Solar Power Network had recommended, but it is high enough that rooftop solar remains viable and desirable. By leveraging new technologies and taking advantage of our increased experience and efficiency, we will be able to move forward with the vital work of developing Ontario’s independent renewable energy infrastructure.
It’s important to realize that things could have turned out much worse. Political rhetoric and pressure made it seem at times that the very existence of the FIT Program could be hanging in the balance. Though solar energy science is advancing by leaps and bounds, the elimination of the Feed-In Tariff at this point would be a death blow to the burgeoning industry. Many of our competitors fled to the hills over the past year in anticipation of a new energy policy less friendly to green producers. Solar Power Network, however, stayed the course, putting our faith in Ontario’s lawmakers to see to it that the province remain a leader in the technology that is going to power our future and employ the workforce of today. We are thrilled to see that our faith was not misplaced.