Ottawa – The Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) responded to the Auditor General’s 2015 Annual Report, which makes a number of recommendations on Electricity Power System Planning in Ontario as well discusses the development of renewable energy in the province.

The Ontario government’s Feed-in Tariff (FIT) Program was introduced in 2009, in conjunction with the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, with the fundamental objective of facilitating the increased development of renewable generating facilities of varying sizes and technologies. In addition to these goals the province aimed to jump start a domestic renewables industry from product suppliers through to project developers. On both of these objectives the province has undoubtedly succeeded.

As of Q2 2015 Ontario has seen the contracting of more than 2,400 MW of solar generation with approximately another 360 MW currently moving through the procurement process. These projects range from small residential rooftop installations on the homes of individuals to large utility scale projects designed to provide power to many thousands of homes and businesses.

Together these projects have resulted in almost $5 billion of private sector investment, with $ 1.6 billion of that coming into Ontario for solar projects in 2014 alone.

Solar energy is rapidly becoming cost-competitive with other forms of electricity generation. Manufacturing costs have fallen by 50 percent over the last five years; and capital costs are forecast to fall by another 40 percent over the next five years, according to a Deutsche Bank study. With equipment costs expected to continue to fall, “grid parity” – or price-competitiveness with other fuel sources – is, for the first time, an achievable goal for solar energy.

In addition to declining costs, solar has unique operational advantages. It generates electricity during the day, when power demands are highest, helping to keep supply reliable. It can also be located close to customers, avoiding costly additions to the electricity transmission and distribution system.
Solar facilities also come with a number of economic benefits – good-paying jobs during construction; permanent jobs for operators; and significant payments to site-hosts and property taxes paid to municipalities.

Solar power also enjoys high levels of public and community acceptance, making it easier to build in our communities. Ontarians especially appreciate its role in keeping the air clean and helping to prevent climate change.

“Ontario was one of the first North American jurisdictions to implement a comprehensive renewables procurement strategy and the first to phase out electricity generated from coal,” says John Gorman, President of the Canadian Solar Industries Association. “Within the solar sector alone this has resulted in over 2,400 MW of contracted electricity generation, $5 billion of private sector investment and the creation of more than 30,000 person years of employment. Because of the government’s foresight, this province now finds itself in a leadership position with a globally competitive renewables industry ready to contribute to further decarbonization of Ontario’s economy while serving emerging markets within Canada and abroad.” said John Gorman, President & CEO, Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA).

About CanSIA:
The Canadian Solar Industries Association is a national trade association that represents the solar energy industry throughout Canada. Since 1992, CanSIA has worked to develop a strong, efficient, ethical and professional Canadian solar energy industry with capacity to provide innovative solar energy solutions and to play a major role in the global transition to a sustainable, clean-energy future.

In December 2014, CanSIA released our Roadmap 2020. Implementing the objectives contained in this document will solidify solar as a mainstream energy source, and an integral part of Canada’s diversified electricity mix. It will also ensure the solar electricity industry will be sustainable, with no direct subsidies, and operating in a supportive and stable policy and regulatory environment that recognizes the true value of solar.

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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