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September 30, 2016
A Note from CanSIA President & CEO, John Gorman

In less than one week CanSIA will be welcoming attendees to Edmonton for the 7th annual Solar West at a defining time for the solar industry in Canada. Given the commitments of Alberta to meet 30% of the province's electricity needs with renewable resources by 2030 and Saskatchewan for electricity to be 50% by capacity from renewables by 2030, we do not exaggerate when we say we expect this to be our best Solar West to date. This is the moment the solar industry have been waiting for and working toward in Western Canada.

This moment in time is not all upside for the solar industry. The suspension this week of Ontario's LRP II is a major blow for those who have been developing the most cost-effective utility-scale solar projects in Canada's history. CanSIA will continue to work to ensure that our efforts including those in Western Canada and at the Federal Level maximize opportunity in the near-term for all sectors of the solar industry and we thank you for your support and hard-work in making the solar industry strong and resilient.

Please read on for more policy, regulatory and market updates from the CanSIA Executive Team and learn how you can get involved: 
Upcoming Events
Solar West - Join us next week! 

Join us next week, along with government officials, policy makers and industry stakeholders at the 7th annual Solar West! With new policies that address climate change and economic diversification, the Canadian western provinces provide a unique opportunity for renewable energy companies, particularly solar energy.
  • HEAR First-hand about new policies and market dynamics evolving in Western Canada.
  • CONNECT and network with policy makers from all levels of government, solar energy professionals and other stakeholders.
  • LEARN about the new market opportunities for the solar industry through the evolving policy and market dynamics in Western Canada.
CanSIA members save $150 on full conference pass - Register here today!

Upcoming CanSIA Network Webinar: Solar & Climate Leadership in Alberta
Date/Time: October 20, 2016 from 12:30PM - 1:30PM MT / 2:30PM - 3:30PM ET

This webinar will present a status update on the renewable electricity policy and regulatory framework development and procurement design in Alberta driven by the province's Climate Leadership Plan on the path to 30% renewable electricity by 2030. Topics discussed included the opportunities, challenges and outlook for solar.

CanSIA Members can register for the upcoming 'CanSIA Network Webinar: Solar & Climate Leadership in Alberta' through the Members-Only Portal.

Previous CanSIA Webinar recordings and archived materials can be viewed through the Members-Only Portal on the Network Resources Page. 

Policy & Market Development
Government of Ontario suspends large renewable energy procurementOntario
On September 27th, the Government of Ontario announced the immediate suspension of the second round of the Large Renewable Procurement (LRP II).  For the solar industry in Ontario this means that 250 MW of utility scale solar projects will not be procured in 2018 as was previously planned.  The Government has also communicated, however, that this decision will not affect ongoing FIT and microFIT procurements.  

John Gorman, President and CEO of the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) released this statement following the announcement:

"CanSIA is disappointed with the Government of Ontario's decision to suspend the LRP II procurement as it represents a significant back-step from previously committed renewables procurement in the Province that we believe will be required to deal with supply and GHG emission risks, such as delayed nuclear refurbishment schedules, un-met conservation targets, or increased demand as a result of electrification to meet the province's climate change targets. Cancelling or delaying the procurement of renewable electricity could leave Ontario unprepared to effectively deal with these risks cost-effectively and without increasing electricity sector GHG emissions.  CanSIA remains hopeful that the upcoming Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP) process will provide further opportunities for the industry. Both the Ministers of Energy and Environment and Climate Change have received mandate letters which include a strong focus for reducing electricity sector GHG emissions even under high electrification scenarios, encouraging the growth of renewables, and making Ontario one of the most cost effective North American jurisdictions for installing solar panels. Through the LTEP CanSIA will be advocating for the Ministry of Energy to adopt policies that encourage greater consumer choice in the adoption of energy solutions to meet communities' power needs and GHG reduction targets."

CanSIA will continue to inform members of new information and new developments as they arise. CanSIA remains hopeful that the upcoming Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP) consultation process will provide opportunities for all renewables, including large-scale solar. Participate in CanSIA's LRP II Forum to be a part of the on-going discussion and if you have questions or comments please contact, Ben Weir, CanSIA's Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs.

Alberta announces firm target of 30% by 2030, Support for 5,000 MWAlberta
On November 30 2015, Alberta's Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office Shannon Phillips, announced that the province will commit to a firm target of 30% by 2030 and support 5,000 MW of additional renewable energy capacity. During a session later in the day at the conference where the announcement was delivered,  CanSIA and CanWEA representatives Patrick Bateman & Evan Wilson delivered the key message that " 30% renewables by 2030  is achievable in Alberta both cost-effectively and without compromising reliability of supply".  The announcement was covered by several news outlets including the CBC, Globe and Mail and Calgary Herald and the practical implications of this target will be discussed during CanSIA's Solar West 2016 in Edmonton from October 5th to 7th.

Saskatchewan's Solar Plans to "start small", early learnings to inform long-term ambitionsstartsmall
SaskPower has released details of the first utility-scale solar procurements in the province to support emissions management, meet growth and work toward a target of 50% of generation capacity from renewables by 2030 (doubling the percentage of renewables in the supply mix in just 15 years).  According to Guy Bruce, SaskPower's Vice President of Planning, Environment and Sustainable Development (who is to speak at Solar West 2016) solar generation has seen a "quite dramatic" price drop, and SaskPower sees it as more reasonable now.   "We think solar is still more expensive than wind. In terms of renewable power, wind is still the best bet for Saskatchewan. But solar is just coming down in price so we want to see where is the market at now, and start small."  With the target of 50% by 2030, early learnings will inform the long-term role of solar in the province. Further details may be viewed on SaskPower's new Renewable Roadmap webpage.

Price Review Results Released and FIT 5 Launched in OntarioFIT5
On August 31, 2016 the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) released the new 2017 FIT and microFIT Price Schedule. Prices for solar projects have seen a reduction of between 0.5% - 8% depending on size tranche. microFIT projects will have a smaller price reduction than FIT projects. While these reductions are greater than those advocated for and deemed appropriate by CanSIA in our submission to the IESO, they remain relatively modest in nature. Additionally, CanSIA's recommendation to maintain the current Price Reduction Tiers has been adopted.

Renewable Fuel
Size Tranche
2016 Price (¢/kWh)
2017 Price (¢/kWh)
% Reduction
Rooftop Solar
≤ 6 kW
Rooftop Solar
> 6 kW ≤ 10 kW
Rooftop Solar
> 10 kW ≤ 100 kW
Rooftop Solar
> 100 kW ≤ 500 kW
Non-Rooftop Solar
≤ 10 kW
Non-Rooftop Solar
> 10 kW ≤ 500 kW

Concurrent with the release of the new Price Schedule the IESO released a background deck explaining their rationale for the price reductions. Generally, reductions for solar prices was predicated on reductions in non-module (i.e. balance of system) costs, oversubscription and Price Reduction activity within the FIT Program, and the continued downward trend of solar costs in the US.

For microFIT, CanSIA does not support the IESO's decision to reduce rates. Current rates of application have slowed dramatically since the introduction of the 2016 Price Schedule and while installed costs are expected to be lower than previously indicated in CanSIA's 2016 Price Review submission (as they have been forecast out to 2017/2018 and evaluated by members), they will not be low enough within the 2017/2018 timeframe to warrant a further price decrease. Even previously established contract prices are clearly proving very difficult for solar companies to build (as evidenced by reduced application rates) and installed costs remain higher than those used by the IESO in the development of the 2016 Price Schedule.

The 2017 Price Schedule will apply to the upcoming FIT 5 procurement as well as any microFIT projects that receive an Application Approval Notice in 2017. For microFIT projects that receive an Application Approval Notice in 2016, the current 2016 Price Schedule will apply. Members are reminded that the Application Period for the FIT 5 procurement will be open from October 31 - November 18, 2016 and that final procurement documents have been posted to the FIT Website.

Pan-Canadian Climate Change Framework in progress, Hints on Carbon Pricing and Emissions TargetsPan
The climate change discussions at the global, national and provincial levels are intensifying as COP 22 in Marrakesh approaches.  The Paris Agreement from December 2016 is now to come into force as both the thresholds for the minimum number of countries to ratify it and the proportion of global emissions covered have been met.  While it is not clear when Canada's climate change strategy will be finalized and released, initial indications are that the 20% of Canadians who live in a province or territory where Carbon is not priced will soon and that Canada's national emissions reduction target will remain at a minimum of 30% by 2030.  CanSIA continues to engage in the Federal Government's consultations including a recent joint submission in partnership with partners in CanCORE to the Phase II of the Infrastructure Plan consultation

Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) releases Ontario Planning Outlook ReportIESO
On September 1, 2016 the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) released their Ontario Planning Outlook (OPO) document. The OPO is intended to serve as a technical assessment of Ontario's electrical system requirements associated with capacity, reliability, market and system operations, transmission and distribution. The OPO generally concludes that Ontario is well-positioned to meet provincial needs until the mid-2020s.

The OPO has changed significantly from the " snap shot" that was presented to the IESO's Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) back in March 2016. The initial snap shot included very little information on how the electricity system could change as a result of decarbonization and the government's climate policies. For example changes in electricity demand from electrification of transportation and home heating, changes in GHG emissions, and changes in the cost of electricity due to the cost of carbon, were absent from the initial assessment. These items have now been included, however, are generally very high level and only based on flat demand scenarios rather than inclusive of higher demand scenarios that could result from climate policy. Preliminary analysis of the OPO points to potential areas of opportunity for the Ontario solar industry including: acting as a no-carbon supply option, deployment to meet supply adequacy risks identified through regional plans or as a result of increases in demand due to climate policies.

The OPO also serves as the first public input into the Ministry of Energy's forthcoming Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP) consultation process, which is expected to begin this fall. IESO representatives will participate in the Ministry of Energy's consultation process to explain and provide context for the OPO. CanSIA will be engaging in the LTEP consultations through our LTEP Strategic Project and will be identifying potential areas of opportunity for the solar industry within the OPO and developing recommendations around those areas as a piece of the project.

Annual Berkley Lab Reports IssuedBerkley
On August 24, 2016 the Berkley Lab issued new versions of their two annual reports: Tracking the Sun and Utility Scale Solar.

Tracking the Sun focuses on installed pricing trends for distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the United States, while Utility-Scale Solar focuses on the utility-scale market, describing installed prices, as well as trends related to project design, operating costs, capacity factors, and power purchase agreement (PPA) prices.

Utilities & Regulatory Affairs
Enhanced Net-Billing, SREC's, Rate and Tariff Design and Virtual Net-Billing NetBilling Netbilling
Another major milestones in the process to review the policy and regulatory framework for residential, commercial and community solar electricity generation in Alberta has been reached is approaching with the final deadline for submissions to the Alberta Energy Efficiency Advisory Panel to pass on Friday, September 30th. CanSIA's recommendations include enhanced net-billing, SREC's, Rate and Tariff Design and Virtual Net-Billing and will be available online in early October. Many of the topics in the submission will be discussed at Solar West 2016 by representatives from industry, government, utilities, the Alberta Electric System, Operator, Alberta Utilities Commission and the Utilities Consumer Advocate.

Nunavut Opens Door to Renewable Energy with New Net Metering Program Nunavut
The Government of Nunavut is opening the door to renewable energy across the territory, transitioning from their exclusive reliance on diesel to solar and wind energy. Minister Johnny Mike's (responsible for Qulliq Energy Corporation) announcement is empowering residents of Nunavut to use their own power generated through solar panels and wind turbines through a newly introduced net metering program. Customers will be able to generate up to a maximum of 10kW of power while excess power will be sent to the community's power grid. WWF-Canada is also helping with this transition to renewable energy with a $25,000 training fund to help people in Nunavut use and maintain renewable energy options. 

Hydro One Offer to Connect Timelines ExtendedHydroOne
In our last Policy and Research Update CanSIA notified members that Hydro One had changed the timelines to accept an Offer to Connect (OTC) from 180 days to 45 days. Members communicated that this change was causing significant business operations issues with regards to the closing of sales and acceptance of OTCs.

CanSIA has worked with directly with Hydro One on this issue and can confirm that Hydro One will be extending the 45 day period to accept an Offer to Connect to 90 days. Hydro One has also confirmed that any OTC that was issued with a 45 day sign-back period will be honored up to the new 90 day requirement. Hydro One expects to have updated the Offer to Connect agreements to reflect the new 90 day requirement within a couple of weeks.

Financial Accountability Office Finds Electricity Rate Increases In-Line with Other Canadian ProvincesFinancial
On August 25, 2016 the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) released information tracking residential energy costs (electricity and heating fuel) in Ontario compared against the rest of Canada. This analysis shows that Ontarians have lower home energy costs than Atlantic Canadians but higher costs than our neighbours in Quebec and Manitoba. Albertans spend more on home energy than Ontarians. British Columbians enjoy the lowest home energy costs in Canada. Differences across Canada in part reflect the availability and adoption of different energy sources such as electricity, natural gas and other fuels, which include heating oil.

Information from Hydro Quebec supports the FAO's analysis and demonstrated that Ontario (Toronto and Ottawa) have electricity costs far below Boston, New York, and San Francisco - while we continue to track above cities like Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

New Rate Relief Measures Introduced for Electricity Customers in Ontariorelief
On September 13, 2016 the Ontario Ministry of Energy announced several new initiatives aimed at providing rate relief to electricity customers, including:
  1. Instituting an 8% HST rebate for residential and small commercial customers
  2. Providing eligible rural ratepayers with additional relief, decreasing total electricity bills by an average of $540 a year or $45 each month
  3. Expanding the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) which will allow more businesses to participate in the program and reduce their peak electricity demand.
As more analysis is conducted on the overall impacts to customers is conducted, CanSIA will share that information with members. Members currently active in the net metering sector should be aware, however, of the introduction of these measures so they can take them into account when performing electricity consumption analysis for customers.

Stories We Are Following