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August 23, 2016
A Note from CanSIA Vice-President, Wes Johnston
 
When I joined CanSIA in 2007 there was less than 3 MW of cumulative installed capacity on Canada's grid. I always believed that solar electricity would become a mainstream energy source in the future.  When the amount of solar on Canada's grid doubled in 2008 and grew ten-fold in 2009, I realized that it was happening much faster than I had thought possible.  

This solar market growth was driven by pockets of activity in select provinces and municipalities.  There were few precedents and many lessons were being learned for the first time.  

Looking forward another ten years, I have no doubt that the rate of change will be far in excess of that over the last. This change will be driven by CanSIA Members and by the elected officials, policy-makers, regulators, industry, utilities and other stakeholders who share our vision.

A Pan-Canadian Climate Change Framework is being used to coordinate efforts across Canada. This will serve as a milestone that pushes the past pockets of activity toward a comprehensive policy and regulatory framework that will be serve as the final push for solar from marginal to mainstream.  

CanSIA has built an Executive Team with the experience and expertise to lead the solar industry into the next decade. If you would like to get more involved or provide further support to CanSIA in 2016/2017, please contact a member of Team CanSIA.

Please read on for more policy, regulatory and market updates from the CanSIA Executive Team and learn how you can get involved: 
Upcoming Events
microFIT and Solar Business Code of Conduct Teleconference
CanSIA will be holding a teleconference with the Consumer Protection Forum to discuss two issues that have come to CanSIA's attention with regards to the microFIT Program in Ontario and adherence with CanSIA's Solar Business Code of Conduct. Ben Weir, CanSIA's Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs, will be informing members of how to revise practices to ensure compliance with the microFIT Program and the Solar Business Code of Conduct.  

Date: Friday, August 26, 2016
Time: 2:00 - 3:00 PM EST
CanSIA Members can access full details and register for the teleconference through the Members-Only Portal.

CanSIA Network Webinar: Revised Ontario Net Metering Regulation Consultation
The Ontario Ministry of Energy has posted revisions to the net metering regulation (Ontario Regulation 541/05) for stakeholder comment. When finalized, this regulation will form the basis of treatment for net metering customers in Ontario and represents an important step forward in the transition of the distributed solar energy industry away from centralized procurement and to a customer focused market. CanSIA has been directly involved in the formulation of this revised regulation and will use this webinar to conduct further engagement with members on the regulation. See webinar details below:

Date: Thursday, September 15, 2016
Time: 1:30 - 3:00 PM
CanSIA Members can register for the webinar through the Members-Only Portal.

Policy & Market Development
CanSIA presents Budget 2017 priorities to Federal Standing Committee on FinanceBudget
Credit: Heipei
CanSIA has continued to collaborate with CanWEA (the Canadian Wind Energy Association) to make a submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance (FINA) for the pre-budget 2017 consultation process. This submission follows-up on the recent joint submission made to the Pan-Canadian Climate Change Framework consultation and ongoing stakeholdering with the Federal/Provincial/Territorial mitigation, adaptation, carbon pricing and cleantech and jobs working groups. CanSIA and CanWEA's recommendations to FINA cover topics including carbon pricing, tax policy and climate finance. FINA will table a report on these consultations in the House of Commons in December 2016 and its contents will be considered by the Minister of Finance as the 2017 federal budget is developed.

CanSIA will also be making a submission to the second phase of the Federal Government's infrastructure plan that aims to address the gaps in infrastructure across our country with spending of $120 billion over the next 10 years in areas including communities, green infrastructure, public transit and social infrastructure. CanSIA continues to engage and consult with our Members on these topics. Those interested to participate in or support CanSIA's at the federal level should contact a member of Team CanSIA.

Natural Resources Canada: Call for 'Clean Energy Innovation' Proposals NRCAN
Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)'s ' Energy Innovation Program (EIP)' is providing funding to support energy technology to produce and use energy more cleanly and efficiently. Submissions, (due by October 31, 2016) are being requested in the following strategic priority areas:
  • Renewable, smart grid and storage systems
  • Reducing diesel use by industrial operators in northern and remote communities
  • Addressing methane and volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the building sector
  • Carbon capture, use and storage
  • Improving industrial efficiency
The program may pay up to 75% of total project costs per project, amounting between three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) - five million dollars ($5,000,000). Click here to learn more about this opportunity and the submission process.

Switch flipped on Alberta's largest solar rooftop in Canada (1.14 MW DC) in Leduc LeDuc
Alberta's cumulative installed capacity has jumped by approximately 10% with the completion of the 1.14 MW DC array on the Leduc Recreation Centre, a rooftop solar facility in Canada.  The city is also installing a second 630 kW system on its operations building. This project is demonstrative of the momentum building as a result of the province's Climate Leadership Plan.  New policies and programs for renewable energy are expected to be released in the Fall and interested individuals are encouraged to attend Solar West 2016 at the Westin Edmonton, October 5th - 7th.

David Gabrielson of PACENow to deliver Keynote at Solar West 2016David
"Property Assessed Clean Energy" (PACE) is an innovative means of providing low-cost financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and services on private property.  Through PACE, governments offer a specific bond to investors or private lenders.  The funds from the bond sale are loaned to eligible projects and loans are repaid via an annual assessment on property tax bills.  Unlike other types of loan, one of the most notable characteristics of PACE programs is that the loan is attached to the property rather than an individual.  PACE addresses a gap in the capital markets for projects in the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars range and can support the development of residential and commercial solar markets.

PACENow is an advocacy group PACE in the United States.  The mission of David Gabrielson, Executive Director, PACENow is to promote PACE financing by providing leadership and support for a growing universe of PACE market participants.  David's career has spanned energy, politics (as an elected councilman in Bedford, New York) and in investment banking (at national firms including Credit Suisse, First Boston and J.P. Morgan).  David earned a bachelor's degree in Economics at the University of California at Berkeley and holds a Masters Degree in Public and Private Management from Yale University.  David's keynote address will focus on the promise and opportunity that PACE could unlock for the residential and commercial solar sector in Western Canada.

Interested individuals are encouraged to register early for  Solar West 2016 at the Westin Edmonton, October 5th - 7th.

Ontario's FIT 5 Price Review and Draft FIT 5 Rules/ContractPrice
On July 8, 2016 the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) announced the initiation of the annual Price Review process to set the rates applicable to the FIT 5 procurement and microFIT procurement occurring in 2017. CanSIA submitted feedback to the IESO which recommended no more than a 5% reduction to the base contract price and to maintain the currently established microFIT prices. This feedback was based on installed cost data supplied by CanSIA members and analysis of past application periods for both FIT and microFIT.

Also on July 8, 2016 the IESO released the draft FIT 5 program documents. The draft program documents did not contain drastic changes from FIT 4. Generally the changes were clarifications of existing portions of the rules including: the land use restrictions for non-rooftop solar, which types of officials are permitted to sign the Prescribed Form - Zoning Certificate for Non-Rooftop Solar Facility, and the definition of rooftop solar facility. Also included was the proposal to allow in-series metering for FIT projects.

In consultation with The CanSIA FIT Member Forum, a submission was developped with regard to the FIT 5 program documents. The submission focused on having the IESO provide additional clarity on the changes that were made, releasing all contract materials for in-series metering connections, and maintaining the Price Reduction Tiers previously established for FIT 4.

Ontario's microFIT Procurement Updates and Best PracticesmicroFIT
The microFIT Program has been open in Ontario for over 1.5 months and applications have begun to be submitted under the new microFIT 4.0 process. As of August 5, 2016 approximately 268 applications were either submitted or under review by the IESO. Processing timelines have been slower than usual as the IESO has been implementing new review standards to take account of the new requirements of the program, including the requirement to have application forms be notarized or commissioned by a commissioner of oaths. The IESO expects to be back to normal application processing rates within the next 2-3 weeks.

In order to help maintain good application quality and speed the review process, CanSIA members must be aware that:
  1. Each individual Representative and Applicant Declaration Package must be notarized or commissioned by a commissioner of oaths i.e. the same notary or commissioner signature/stamp cannot be used (photocopied or otherwise reproduced) for multiple submissions. Each form must be signed/stamped individually.
     
  2. If an Application has been rejected due to issues with the Representative and Applicant Declaration form, a new form must be submitted with the new application when it is re-submitted. You may not use the same form and amend it.
     
  3. If using a commissioner of oaths to sign/stamp the form, that commissioner must be eligible to sign on behalf of the company/individual. Some commissioners are only eligible to commission certain types of documents or only able to commission on behalf of certain entities. Make sure that the commissioner you are using is eligible to sign the forms and act as a commissioner for your company and/or the Applicant. If the commissioner you use is eligible to commission documents for a parent company or subsidiary, make sure you include an organizational chart to show the relationship between your company and the parent/subsidiary.
Utilities & Regulatory Affairs
Community Solar: Low Costs, Utility Involvement and Real-Time Date Key for Consumers Community
A new report from the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) and Shelton Group based on market research of residential utility customers and small business customers across the U.S. includes profiles of ideal community solar customers and the messages most likely to appeal to them in addition to other key issues including:
  • The ideal target audience for community solar
  • Who prefers a lease and who prefers a subscription/rate plan
  • Whether array visibility matters
  • Whether participation fees turn customers off
  • Whether and how they want to be recognized for participating
  • Which program sponsors and terminology customers prefer
  • How big the potential market is for both residential and commercial community solar
Ontario: Revised Net Metering Regulation Posted for CommentNet
On August 19, 2016 the Ontario Ministry of Energy posted a draft version of the revised net metering regulation (Ontario Regulation 541/05) for stakeholder comment. The draft regulation is available here.

The draft regulation makes several changes while maintaining aspects that are of great importance for the solar industry and net metering customers in Ontario, including:
  1. Retail rate compensation is proposed to be maintained
  2. Credits are proposed to continue to expire with the active period extended from 11 to 12 months
  3. The 500 kW size restriction is proposed to be removed (allowing any size system)
  4. Energy storage it proposed to be explicitly permitted in conjunction with a renewable net metering system
  5. Existing net metering customers are proposed to be permitted to switch to treatment under the new regulation
CanSIA has been working with the Ministry of Energy, Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), Ontario Energy Board (OEB) and various different Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) in order to provide input for this draft regulation and we are pleased to see it progress through the regulatory process.

CanSIA will be holding a Network Webinar on the draft regulation on September 15, 2016 in order to gather Member feedback on this important proceeding. CanSIA Members can register for the webinar through the Members-Only Portal.

Ontario: Hydro One Offer to Connect Timeline Changeshydro
CanSIA members that are active within the microFIT Program should be aware that Hydro One (HONI), the largest distribution company in the province, recently changed their timelines for accepting an Offer to Connect for a micro generator.

Previously, this timeline had been set at 180 days in-line with the timeline to construct and have the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) inspect a microFIT Project. Since the introduction of microFIT 4.0, applicants and Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) must ensure that the microFIT project has been built, inspected by the ESA, connected, and the connection has been reported to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) within 180 days. For this reason HONI has reduced the 180 day timeline to 45 days to help encourage applicants and solar companies to move through the process quickly and to avoid issues with missing the IESO's timelines.

CanSIA has heard from some members that this period shortening is causing issues with normal business cycles. If you are concerned with this change, please reach out to Ben Weir, Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs at bweir@cansia.ca.

IESO Releases Ontario Energy MapIESO
Curious to see the location of the province's planning regions, Local Distribution Companies, transmission lines and transmission connected generating assets? Look no further.

Stories We Are Following
CanSIA Announcement
Changes to Circulation of CanSIA's Policy & Research UpdateAnnouncement
The solar industry is changing. CanSIA is seeing a trend in the increasing value of policy and market information made available through our monthly Policy & Research Update. CanSIA members show their commitment to the industry in many ways, one of which is their financial support of CanSIA's work on behalf of the industry through their annual membership fees. In recognition of that support, it is only fair that CanSIA members enjoy greater access to valuable information than non-members. To this end, CanSIA will no longer circulate our monthly Policy & Research Update to non-members as of September 1st. CanSIA will, however, continue to circulate the communication to policy-makers, regulators and other stakeholders of importance to our industry.

CanSIA Members can access this Policy & Research Update as well as past editions through the Members-Only Portal.

To learn more about the benefits of a CanSIA membership, visit the CanSIA website or contact Lisa Hatina, Business Development and Member Relations Manager, at membership@cansia.ca