The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) has finalized the price for the new micro-feed-in tariff (microFIT) ground-mounted solar price category at C$0.642/kWh. The announcement follows a 30-day consultation period.
The new pricing reflects input received during the consultation period and incorporates a wider variation of cost inputs and project configurations, including higher operating and maintenance costs for ground-mounted tracking systems, the OPA says.
The new price category is effective immediately for eligible projects with applications submitted after noon on July 2, when a new price category was proposed. Eligible ground-mounted applications submitted prior to noon on July 2 will receive the original price of C$0.802/kWh whether or not they have received a contract or conditional offer. These applicants will also have until May 31, 2011, to install and request a connection for their projects before higher domestic-content requirements are required.
Ground-mounted solar microFIT contracts signed and conditional offers received before July 2 will continue to be eligible for the original price of C$0.802/kWh.
Commercial aggregators will no longer be allowed to participate in the microFIT program, the OPA notes. This change will ensure that the microFIT program is focused on its original purpose – encouraging homeowners, farmers, farm co-operatives, First Nations, small businesses and institutions such as schools to own and develop small renewable energy projects.
In addition, to improve communication and increase transparency, the OPA is establishing a microFIT program advisory panel that will provide advice on program evolution, including the two-year review process. The panel will be made up of industry, academic and other stakeholder representatives.
The panel will make recommendations, on an expedited basis, about appropriate contracting provisions for aggregators to reflect the unique nature of commercial micro projects. This will help ensure that commercial aggregators can continue to participate in the clean energy economy but do so outside of the microFIT program structure.
SOURCE: Ontario Power Authority