TORONTO, CANADA: Ontario Solar Network (OSN) will host an open town hall meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn in Vaughan, ON to discuss the Ontario Power Authority's (OPA) proposed price changes for microFIT projects (under 10kW).
Free to the general public, this event will feature leaders in Ontario's solar industry and Ben Chin, VP Communications, Ontario Power Authority (OPA).
At issue is the OPA's plans to reduce microFIT contract rates for ground-mounted solar projects from 80.2c /kWh to 58.8c /kWh. The rationale stems from a perceived higher rate of return that ground-mounted PV systems enjoy over rooftop installations.
Critics of the change point out the crippling effect that reduced incentives could have on an industry very much in its infancy. Of the 16,000 microFIT applications pending approval, nearly 60% are for ground-mounted installations. An online petition to fight these proposed changes, argues, "Fewer ground mount systems will be sold, and public trust in the integrity of the program will be lost if [they] do not act now."
Ontario Solar Network's chairman, Jacob Travis, comments: "While the OPA is understandably concerned about keeping the program solvent for as long as possible, opponents of the price changes are rightfully worried about the global effects on Ontario's new solar market." The OPA's promise was stable pricing. The proposed change calls that into question and shakes the market's confidence.
Travis, who also serves as director of Ontario Solar Academy, stresses: "This open event is not about us versus them. We all want the same thing -- a vibrant solar industry. Our goal is to find solutions that benefit all stakeholders. This forum is a vehicle for open communication between those who set the policies and the business community impacted by the changes."