Ontario FIT Program Changes Generate Controversy and Compliance
Controversy raised over proposed changes to the Ontario Feed-In-Tariff contrasts with increasing support for Domestic Content
The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) held two Public Consultations (http://microfit.powerauthority.on.ca/
Adam Webb, President of Sentinel Power Systems, for example, was featured in a PHOTON Magazine February 2010 article indicating how his business had grown 50-fold in 2009 as a result of the new FIT program. In last week’s OPA meeting, however, Webb expressed concerns about his business and echoed the sentiments of many fellow participants where he cited concerns about market instability that has been created by the proposed changes. Like a number of callers, he also questioned the further delay in processing applications asking, “How many of the (11,000 pending applications)
This installation timing is important as the current applications have been submitted under 40% Domestic Content guidelines for 2010 MicroFIT projects. This 40% content requirement will increase to 60% in 2011. Thus, applicants, suppliers and installers looking to comply with the current 40% provisions are being strained by the additional 30 day review period for the OPA proposed program changes. When asked directly in last week’s meetings about whether the OPA would amend the domestic content requirements in any way, Jim MacDougall, the OPA’s Manager Distributed Generation Electricity Resources, firmly stated, “There is no consideration to extend the Dec 31 deadline for MicroFIT projects. Proponents will have to work towards getting their projects in 2010 to be eligible for that lower 40% for MicroFIT projects.”
At the same time as the proposed changes to the MicroFIT program are generating controversy, there have been a number of new announcements from manufacturers such as Samco Solar and MEMC’s SunEdison to comply with and support the FIT Program’s Domestic Content provisions. Today at the Intersolar Convention here in San Francisco, for example, Schneider Electric is displaying its equipment with prominent signage proclaiming “Ontario FIT Compatible”. The number of Ontario based PV inverter and microinverter manufacturers has gone from barely one a year ago to as many as ten today. Newcomer Sparq Systems Inc., for example, announced its new Ontario microinverters here at Intersolar yesterday.
Similarly, yesterday’s NY Times provided an article (http://www.nytimes.com/
Certainly the recently proposed changes in Ontario’s PV Feed-In-Tariff program have caused some disruption in what has been a popular, albeit controversial, program.
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Dunnison & Associates Inc., D+A, is a management consulting firm specializing in strategy, marketing and business development for cleantech and high tech organizations. D+A comments on tech business issues at http://d-bits.com.
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