Generating power … and money in Ontario

January 06, 2010
Written by
Jan. 8, 2010, Toronto – Consider the benefits of generating green energy from renewable sources such as the sun, wind, water or bioenergy, and selling it for a guaranteed price. Successful applicants can be part of Ontario’s growing green energy movement, make money and contribute to a cleaner environment.

If you are a homeowner, farmer or small business owner, you have the opportunity to develop a very small or “micro” renewable electricity generation project (10 kilowatts or less in size) on your property. Under the microFIT Program, you will be paid a guaranteed price for all the electricity your project produces for at least 20 years.

Ontario’s Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program for renewable energy generation is a cornerstone of the province’s Green Energy Act. The provincial government launched the program in September 2009, and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) started accepting applications on Oct. 1, 2009. It is North America’s first comprehensive feed-in tariff program for renewable energy.

The program includes a stream called microFIT, which is designed to encourage homeowners, businesses and others to generate renewable energy with projects of 10 kilowatts (kW) or less. MicroFIT is designed to make it simpler and faster to get small-scale renewable projects installed and producing power.

Prices paid for renewable energy generation under FIT and microFIT vary by energy source and take into account the capital investment required to get a project up and running:

• Solar PV – 80.2¢/kWh.

• Windpower – 13.5¢/kWh.

• Waterpower – 13.1¢/kW.

• Biomass – 13.8¢/kWh.

• Biogas – 16.0¢/kWh.

• Landfill gas – 11.1¢/kWh.

Under the program, participants are paid a fixed-price for the electricity they generate. FIT and microFIT contracts are for 20 years, with the exception of waterpower, which has a 40-year FIT contract.

Domestic content requirements for both FIT and microFIT projects are intended to help support the creation of 50,000 new green jobs in Ontario. MicroFIT projects will help create new local businesses and green jobs as demand rises for technologies such as solar panels, wind turbines, biomass and electricity storage systems, and for Ontarians who can design, build, install, operate and maintain these technologies.

The first round of contracts awarded under the FIT program will produce 2,500 megawatts (MW) of electricity and will generate in excess of $5 billion in investments in manufacturing, design, construction and installation and create thousands of new green jobs.

Currently, approximately 1,275 MW of renewable electricity are in operation in Ontario, excluding large-scale hydro. Since 2003, Ontario has gone from being a lagging jurisdiction on renewable energy to being among one of the North American leaders.

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