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February 29, 2016
A Note from Patrick Bateman, Director of Market Intelligence & Research 
Good morning,

Earlier this month representatives of the Canadian renewable electricity sector convened on Parliament Hill under the banner of the Canadian Council on Renewable Electricity for meetings and a reception with elected officials and political and departmental staff.  The turnout was impressive. The vibe was electric (pardon the pun).  

The message from Canada's solar, wind, hydro and marine sectors was clear:  renewable electricity is Canada's climate opportunity.  Climate change is a daunting challenge, but it's one we must face. Confronting it will be made easier if we don't focus solely on what needs to be cut, but also on what can be created.

CanSIA has been actively communicating this message to policy-makers and regulators across Canada on behalf of the solar energy industry.  As you will see from many of policy, regulatory and market updates presented below from the CanSIA Executive Team, the solar industry is on the brink of a new wave of opportunity and success thanks to the momentum built in recent years: 

Kindest regards,

Patrick Bateman
CanSIA, Director of Market Intelligence & Research

Upcoming Webinars
In March, CanSIA will launch the first of our upcoming members-only Network Webinars. These webinars are intended to inform and engage members on important industry trends and developments, as well as to keep members up to date on the work CanSIA is doing on behalf of our members. Descriptions of each of the first three webinars, and details on how to register, can be found below. 
March 3rd, "Behind-the-Meter and Small Power Producer Program Design":

This webinar for CanSIA's Utilities & Regulatory Affairs Network will present a jurisdictional scan of existing program and regulatory designs for distributed solar generation in select jurisdictions including Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan and will outline some of the formal processes and related timelines underway for review and modernization. 
March 31st, "Competitive Procurement of Renewable Electricity in Alberta":

This webinar for CanSIA's Policy & Market Development Network will present an overview on the status of renewable electricity policy 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 will include the opportunities, challenges and outlook for solar. 
April 28th, "Federal Tax Enablers & Incentives for Solar":

This webinar for CanSIA's Utilities & Regulatory Affairs Network will present an overview of the options available to the Government of Canada to enable and incentivize the deployment of solar technology through the tax treatment of capital costs or revenue streams from solar technology.

 CanSIA members can register for webinars here.

Non-members who are interested in these webinars should consider joining CanSIA. More information about our member benefits and services is available here.

Policy & Market Development
NAClimateNorth American Climate Change and Clean Energy Accord Takes First Steps
Canada, the United States and Mexico have signed a trilateral agreement that could mark the start of discussions on the first North American accord on climate change and clean energy.  Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and Mexico's secretary of energy, Pedro JoaquĆ­n Coldwell, signed a memorandum of understanding on North American climate change and energy collaboration in Winnipeg earlier this monthly.  "As of today all of our North American energy data and energy maps are gathered on one platform for the first time. This is significant because it allows us to think about continental energy integration in a new light," Carr said.  "This memorandum takes the important strides we've made in recent years towards a continental approach to energy and expands our relationship in support of an even more ambitious clean-energy environmental agreement."

ABAlberta launches rebate programs to assist Municipalities and Farmers to Adopt Solar
As part of its Climate Leadership Plan, the Alberta government is investing more than $5 million to help municipalities and farmers harness the power of the sun and support good local jobs.  The Alberta Municipal Solar Program and the On-Farm Solar Management Program.  According to Minister of Environment and Parks, Shannon Phillips "It's about doing the right thing for our province", "it supports new jobs in a greener more diverse economy" and it "is just the beginning".  Cities and towns will be offered rebates of up to $.75 per watt to a maximum of $300,000 per project. It's hoped that will provide incentive for municipalities to install solar on municipal buildings like fire halls and community centres.  As for farmers, the province says they can get a share of the $500,000 for installing solar energy systems.  Listen to a panel session from Solar West 2015 moderated by Marc Huot of the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre (the program administrator) on the role of solar in meeting municipal climate change objectives
CapTradeOntario: Climate Change Legislation and Cap and Trade Regulation Released
Last week saw a flurry of activity on the climate change file in Ontario. On February 24th, the government of Ontario introduced Bill 172, the Climate Change Mitigation and Low Carbon Economy Act, and on February 25th the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change posted the full draft regulation for the forthcoming Cap and Trade regulation for stakeholder comment. Both of these important policy developments have significant implications for the solar industry in Ontario.

Climate Change Mitigation and Low Carbon Economy Act (Bill 172)
  • A link to this bill is available online.
  • This bill enshrines Ontario's emission reduction goals in legislation and includes important details on the Cap and Trade mechanism.
  • Schedule 1 of this bill (available on page 54) includes specifics on the types of projects that will be eligible for funding from the Cap and Trade revenues. These eligible projects include:
    • The production or installation of renewable, low-carbon, carbon-free and net zero alternative energy
    • Distributed renewable energy generation and energy management technologies to support load-shifting, energy storage, net metering and other measures to eliminate the need for grid-based electricity during natural gas peaking,
    • Geothermal solutions, insulation, and other technologies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings and neighbourhoods, 
    • Support for increasing consumer demand for near-net-zero and net zero buildings, structures and communities, 
    • The design, construction and retrofitting of buildings and structures to reduce greenhouse gas emitting energy sources related to space and water cooling and heating 
  • Projections released in the 2016 Ontario Budget now forecast revenues from the Cap and Trade auction to be $478 million next year and $1.9 billion in 2017/2018.
  • CanSIA is working through our Ontario Solar Climate Change Initiative (OSCCI) to position solar to access a portion of these revenues.

Draft Cap and Trade Regulation
  • The full draft Cap and Trade regulation has now been posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights registry for stakeholder comment, available here.
  • The full regulation includes some interesting details regarding the electricity system:
    • The electricity sector is proposed to remain a covered sector and all allowances to emit would need to be purchased (i.e. no free allowances).
    • The electricity sector, however, will not have a cap decline rate (i.e. the MOECC expects emissions from the electricity sector to remain flat and not decline during the first compliance period of 2017 to 2020). 
    • Information already released by the IESO points to electricity sector emissions increasing over the next 15 years. CanSIA will push for initiatives that will support increased development of solar in order to meet the MOECC's goal of not having electricity sector emissions rise.

The Cap and Trade regulation is posted for stakeholder comment for 45 days and CanSIA's OSCCI will be following up on past submissions into the process.

ONGovernment of Ontario Completes Commitment of $325 Million Green Investment Fund  
The Government of Ontario has announced that it will invest $325 million in projects that will fight climate change, grow the economy and create jobs.  These investments are part of the Government's plan to secure a healthy, clean and prosperous low-carbon future.  Green Investment Fund projects will: help homeowners use less energy, support more electric vehicle charging stations across Ontario, retrofit social housing developments and help businesses reduce emissions.  The GIF is intended to be a "down payment" for the province's Cap and Trade revenues

According to a poll conducted by CanSIA in May 2015, about three-quarters of respondents support the allocation of a "significant" amount of Cap and Trade revenues to solar and solar enabling technologies.   Much of the committed spending will do just that:  electric vehicles creating new demands for solar electricity and charging infrastructure creating new applications for solar and storage integration, natural gas displacement which will create opportunities for solar heating and cooling and energy efficiency.  

Importantly, these announcements also signal areas where the government is likely to focus in their forthcoming Climate Action Plan.  Ontario's Climate Action Plan will be a much more specific and targeted document than the already released Climate Change Strategy. Where the Strategy identified broad areas of focus for climate policy, the Action Plan will get into more details about how to reduce emissions from those areas. For example, where the Strategy identified that emissions must be reduced from the buildings sector, the Action Plan may initiate a revision process for the Ontario Building Code to consider energy efficiency standards.

CanSIA has provided input to the Climate Action Plan via the Ontario Solar Climate Change Initiative (OSCCI), one of CanSIA's 2015-16 Strategic Projects. This input focused on codes and standards for solar ready buildings, net zero energy buildings, and programs for energy efficiency retrofits. The Climate Action Plan is expected to be released in early 2016.

Utility & Regulatory Affairs
HydroOneOntario's Hydro One Introduces Simplified CIA and new CIA fees for Some Distributed Generation
Hydro One, the largest Local Distribution Company (LDC) in Ontario, has released information regarding a simplified Connection Impact Assessment (CIA) process for qualifying Capacity Allocation Exempt (CAE) small distributed generation facilities. As of January 1, 2016, facilities that qualify for this process may receive a Simplified CIA rather than a regular CIA. The Simplified CIA is shorter in length than a regular CIA, requires less resources to prepare, meets the IESO's requirements for attaining Notice to Proceed, and does not require a CIA fee.

In order to qualify for this Simplified CIA the application must be for a 3-phase generating facility that is either (a) greater than 10 kW and less than or equal to 30 kW and connecting to a less than 15 kV line; or (b) greater than 10 kW and less than or equal to 100 kW and connecting to a greater than or equal to 15 kV line.

The Simplified CIA was introduced after review of the historical impacts of smaller projects confirmed that the voltage effects on the distribution system were minimal and did not require the more in-depth analysis required for a regular CIA.

Hydro One has also introduced an updated fee schedule for certain Connection Impact Assessments (CIA) for distribution connected projects.  For small Capacity Allocation Exempt (CAE) facilities and net metering facilities that are not microFIT facilities the CIA fee will be $5,630 as of February 1, 2016. This fee will not apply if the facility is eligible for the Simplified CIA.  For small non-CAE, mid-sized, and large projects the CIA fee will be $12,055 as of February 1, 2016.

More information on this new Simplified CIA and on new CIA fees is available on Hydro One's website.

CaliforniaCalifornia's Net Energy Metering 2.0 Decision 
On January 28, 2016 the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted 3-2 to enact the net energy metering (NEM) successor tariff, also known as NEM 2.0. This is the policy that replaces the successful NEM tariff that ushered in a robust period of growth in the distributed solar market in California over the past 10 years.

NEM 2.0 has been seen by some commentators as a "show down" between large investor owned utilities and solar advocates over the largest net metering market in the United States. While the full decision document is 155 pages, the salient points of the decision include:
  • New net metering customers will continue to receive retail rates for their exported electricity;
  • Non-bypassable charges for transmission costs will not be charged to new net metering customers;
  • New net metering customers will be subject to additional connection charges intended to eliminate any potential cross subsidization by non-solar customers;
  • Once the NEM 2.0 tariff is active, new net metering customers will be moved to Time of Use rates which will charge different prices at different times of the day; and
  • The NEM 2.0 structure will last until approximately 2019 when the CPUC expects to align the approach to net metering with the results of a much larger regulatory reform process that will focus on residential electricity rates and valuing, incenting and integrating distributed energy resources.
In Canada, 3 provinces are actively reviewing and revising their approach to small scale and net metered distributed solar generation - Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Lessons learned from California will likely factor in heavily in these processes as California has long been viewed as one of the more advanced markets for distributed solar generation in North America. On March 3, 2016 CanSIA will be holding a webinar to discuss these ongoing Canadian processes. If you are interested in attending the webinar, please register here (please note that CanSIA member login is required). 

Stories We Are Following
Join CanSIA's Member Networks!
CanSIA is pleased to announce the introduction of our new Networks and Forums platform, which will replace the Caucus/Working Group model we've used for the past five years. The Networks and Forums will optimize member resources when engaging and collaborating with CanSIA while providing members with a new avenue for accessing research, analytics, and updates from the executive team. Our new structure will also serve to maximize our advocacy impact through stronger cooperation and interaction.

Professionals employed by a Corporate or Supporter Member are eligible to participate in one or more of the following three CanSIA Networks, and can sign up here:
  1. Policy & Market Development Network
  2. Utility & Regulatory Affairs Network
  3. Communications Network
Join CanSIA as a member to increase your access to policy forums, working groups, market research and policy advocacy events.

Contact Lisa Hatina (, Business Development and Member Relations Manager to learn more about the significant opportunities and benefits that CanSIA members receive, can participate in and support in our three core service areas:
  • Policy and Advocacy;
  • Industry Capacity Development; and,
  • Profile Building and Networking.