OPA proposes new, lower microFIT price for ground-mounted, small scale solar
The Ontario Power Authority ("OPA") has proposed a new price of 58.8 ¢/kWh for ground mounted solar photovoltaic systems under 10 kW under the microFIT program. The new price is substantially lower than the 80.2 ¢/kWh currently offered for rooftop solar PV systems under 10 kW. The OPA believes the change is consistent with the pricing principles underlying the microFIT program.
"The OPA believes the new price category is fair, reasonable, more accurately reflects the costs associated with ground-mounted projects and maintains the long-term stability of the program," said Colin Andersen, Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Power Authority. "It enables the program to continue to meet its original goals and provides proper value to both generators and ratepayers."
All microFIT prices are designed to allow project owners to earn a reasonable rate of return having reference to the anticipated capital and installation costs of a typical system. Ground mounted systems are significantly cheaper to install that rooftop systems. Project owners who will receive 80.2 ¢/kWh for their ground mounted systems therefore stand to earn much greater returns than intended. Given that the OPA has already received over 16,000 microFIT applications, many more than expected, the unintended windfall for ground-mounted projects threatened to become a significant burden for ratepayers.
The creation of separate rooftop and ground-mounted solar PV prices will bring the microFIT program more in line with the FIT, which already has separate price categories for larger scale solar PV projects.
Consistent with the FIT Rules, the OPA has clarified that people who already have microFIT contracts or conditional offers in hand will be entitled to the original 80.2 ¢/kWh price.
The OPA will be accepting comments on the proposed change for 30 days, ending August 3. As part of this consultation, it will be holding information sessions on July 6 and 8. See the microFIT website for details.