The Green Energy Act
The provincial government has enacted the Green Energy Act which includes a Feed-In-Tariff program (FIT). The FIT program provides incentive rates for power produced from various renewable energy sources. The new prices for solar photovoltaic (solar PV) projects are very attractive. Once the contract with the government is signed, the rate is locked in 20 years regardless of changes to the program or changes in government.
|Type of Installation||Size of Project||Contract Price (cents/kWh)|
|Ground mounted||Up to 10 kW||64.2|
|Ground mount||> 10 ≤ 10 MW||44.3|
|Rooftop||Up to 10 kW||80.2|
|Rooftop||> 10 ≤ 250 kW||71.3|
|Rooftop||> 250 ≤ 500 kW||63.5|
|Rooftop||> 500 kW||53.9|
Rates are subject to change. Visit the OPA microFIT website for current pricing.
Why Should I Consider Solar?
You may wonder if you should install a solar PV system and produce power to supply your own electricity requirements. The rate offered under the FIT program is many times greater than the rate you pay for the electricity you consume. As a result, it makes economic sense to sell the production from the solar PV system into the electricity grid under a government contract and then buy the power you require separately as you do now.
The FIT program will allow only one project per entity per location. So, if you have different sites, you could have more than one project.
AG Energy's microSOLAR Program
At this time as part of a multi-year solar PV program, we are offering and recommending ground-mounted installations sized at 10 kilowatts (kW) which we refer to as microSOLAR. If your site is not suited to a ground-mounted system or you want to have a larger roof-mounted system, we will be happy to look into the feasibility of a roof-mounted system with you.
The amount of output from a solar PV system depends on the efficiency of the solar panels and the amount of sunshine you receive. Together with our partner in this program, Essex Energy, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Essex Power, an electrical utility in Ontario, we have looked at a number of suppliers and their products and have selected the best suppliers with the best products available. We have also reviewed historical data provided by Natural Resources Canada on the amount of sun that is received in various parts of Ontario.
In our income projections, we have used the bottom of the range and the result is a forecast of 1287 kilowatt-hour (kWh) per kW of equipment installed.
With a 10 kW system, you can therefore expect 12,877 kWh of output in the year. The rate of revenue will depend on which project you pursue, and current pricing can be accessed at the OPA microFIT website (http://microfit.powerauthority.on.ca/).
Over time, the output from the solar panels will gradually decline. The decline will average about 1% per year over the 20 year term. This decline in production has been included in the financial projections that are found later in this information package. At the end of the 20 years, you will have a solar PV system that is still operating at about 80% efficiency as the solar panels are expected to function for 25 years or more. When the FIT contract expires, you could choose to look at additional options to sell the power or use the power at your own site. The decision you make can be based on the economics at the time.
Our microSOLAR system exceeds the current standards for Ontario content for 2009-2010 and we are working on meeting the increased standards that will come into effect in 2011. We are confident that we will be in compliance in 2011 and thereafter as well.
Our system requires little maintenance. In order to protect against theft or vandalism, we recommend that the solar PV system be located in an area that is relatively secure. If this is a concern for you, you may want to consider a fence around the installation. In addition, since you are making a significant dollar investment, we recommend that you acquire insurance coverage for it. A typical premium has been included in the income projections.
There is very little risk to you in participating in our solar PV program. There is a risk that the sun will not shine but our projections are conservative and based on historical data. The other risk you might face is the replacement of the inverters at some point during the twenty year contract. However, the first ten years are covered by the manufacturers’ warranty. In addition, we have teamed up with Essex Energy to provide the ongoing support.