Ontario PV Market Slowing After Relaunch Of FIT Program


Driven by commercial and utility installations, the Ontario PV market is projected to grow by 31% compared to 2011, according to an updated market forecast from research firm ClearSky Advisors.

The forecast growth is less than previously expected, and as a consequence, the firm says it is downgrading its installation forecast from December 2011 by more than 150 MW to a total of 368 MW for this year.

Among other factors, the lack of new contracts in the micro-feed-in-tariff (microFIT) segment due to the FIT review is expected to lead to a contraction of the microFIT segment this year.

Due to the ongoing delays in the province's Renewable Energy Approval process, many utility-scale projects that originally planned to enter commercial operation by this spring are still stuck in the approval process. However, the second quarter has seen the rate of approvals quicken, which is expected to help boost the market in the second half of this year and 2013.

‘A positive trend for 2012 has been the increasing momentum in the commercial rooftop market,’ says Justin Malecki, analyst at ClearSky Advisors. ‘Compared to previous years, the promise held by the commercial market is starting to pay off for developers and is offering equipment manufacturers some relief given the other trends affecting the Ontario market.’

ClearSky Advisors expects a wave of utility-scale contracts to reach commercial operation by year-end. Ontario will begin procurement of new microFIT and commercial contracts before the end of the year.

Over the mid term, with new FIT contracts for commercial and microFIT segments entering the market, 2013 and 2014 are predicted to be peak years in the Ontario PV market.

Meanwhile, this year has seen a growth of bankable supply of modules in Ontario, providing ample choice for utility-scale developers, ClearSky Advisors adds.

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