More than four years after the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) launched North America’s first comprehensive Feed-In Tariff (FIT) Program, Ontario’s renewable energy industry, municipalities, Aboriginal communities and community organizations continue to show strong interest in the program.
During the most recent FIT 3 application window from November 4 to December 13, 2013, the OPA received 1,982 applications representing a total of 493.71 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity. These applications are for renewable energy projects (solar, wind, waterpower and bioenergy) with a proposed capacity of more than 10 kilowatts (kW) and up to 500 kW. The OPA received applications with Aboriginal community participation (30.8 percent of net applications), municipal and public sector participation (26.9 percent), and community participation (11.7 percent). More than 75 percent of applications are for rooftop solar projects. The complete 2013 FIT Application Summary is available on the FIT website.
The FIT program includes priority points for projects with Aboriginal, municipal, community and public sector participation, as well as for those that demonstrate support from local municipal councils. Applications submitted during this period are currently being reviewed by the OPA for completeness and eligibility. FIT 3 applications that pass the completeness and eligibility reviews will be ranked according to priority points and tested for transmission and distribution availability. The OPA will award contracts for up to 123.5 MW as a result of applications received during the most recent FIT 3 application window. Successful applicants are expected to be announced in the second quarter.
The OPA also accepted applications for the new Unbuilt Rooftop Solar Pilot program, which has a separate procurement target of 15 MW. The OPA received 184 applications for this program, representing a total of 45 MW. In addition, the OPA continues to receive applications to the microFIT Program for renewable energy projects up to 10 kW on a continuous basis. Version 3 of the microFIT Program was launched in August 2013. The OPA will procure up to 65.3 MW of microFIT projects in 2014. To date, 18,265 microFIT projects totalling 159 MW have been connected and are contributing power to Ontario’s electricity grid.
The FIT Program was launched in 2009 as a cornerstone of the Ontario’s Green Energy Act to encourage the development of the renewable energy sector in Ontario. The OPA now manages 2,608 FIT contracts totalling 4,624 MW – 878 of them in commercial operation totalling 1,147 MW.
The FIT program has evolved to continue to meet Ontario’s energy needs. Earlier this year the province made further changes, announcing that the domestic content rule requirements would be lowered and eventually eliminated, to align the program with World Trade Organization requirements. The province also announced that large renewable projects will now be subject to a new competitive procurement process, which is currently being developed through consultations and engagements with municipalities, Aboriginal communities and stakeholders.
“The FIT Program continues to generate a strong interest among power generators as well as communities across the province. Communities across Ontario have recognized the benefits of participating in the FIT Program, which generates revenues that can be invested into community-based projects. The OPA is pleased to show a strong record of managing and streamlining the program to further encourage participation across the board.”
— JoAnne Butler, Vice-President of Electricity Resources, Ontario Power Authority
“Since launching the FIT program in 2009, Ontario has established itself a North American leader in renewable energy. We’ve made remarkable progress and Ontario is proud of the role renewable energy is playing in our supply mix.”
— Hon. Bob Chiarelli, Ontario Minister of Energy