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August 31, 2017
Opening Note from CanSIA Communications Coordinator, Erin Seegmiller
During the summer months, many Canadians spend less time reading and discussing the news and current affairs, and more time enjoying all the rest and relaxation opportunities on offer.  As September approaches, like a switch flipped on a solar array, Canadians kick back into action.

CanSIA's public polling continually shows that Canadians favour solar energy as their choice for new electricity generation.  However, it also shows that most Canadians do not understand how cost competitive it has become nor how it positively supports (not detracts from) grid reliability. Even well-informed Canadians can be confused by misinformation in the media. 

In a recent industry survey, 96% of CanSIA Members 'strongly agree' or 'agree' that improving the public's perception of solar energy is important. CanSIA's new strategic project for the 2017/2018 membership year, Building Public Support for Solar (BPSS), will take a pro-active approach to educate the public while shifting the perception of solar from a future technology to a present day solution.

There is still time to support CanSIA's BPSS and to contribute your company's knowledge and perspective to the project.  Contact Lisa Hatina, CanSIA Business Development and Member Relations Manager, to find out how you can get involved in Building Public Support for Solar.

Read on for further policy, market development and regulatory updates from the CanSIA executive team:
Policy & Market Development
Ontario Announces Landmark Green Ontario FundGreenONFund
Yesterday the Ontario Government announced its much anticipated Green Ontario Fund as part of its Climate Change Action Plan. Also known as GreenON, this fund will provide financial incentives for low carbon technologies, giving residences, building operators and industry greater control and choice in making the switch to renewable energy and energy efficiency. This year alone, Ontario is investing $377 million in proceeds from its carbon market to deliver on its mandate. GreenON is expected to invest a total of $2.4 billion by 2020.

"This is a monumental step forward towards strengthening Ontario's role as a global innovation and technology leader while enabling cost-savings and GHG emission reductions for Ontarians," remarked CanSIA's Vice-President, Wesley Johnston. "Thanks to our dedicated membership, CanSIA has been able to play an instrumental role working with the Ontario Government to develop the Green Ontario Fund and the programs that will follow. Once all the programs are launched, CanSIA expects that the future of pivotal clean technologies like solar electricity, heating and cooling, will be brighter than ever."

Stay tuned for more information as Green Ontario Fund solar energy programs are expected to be released this autumn. To learn more about the Green Ontario Fund visit

"Shared Solar" Holds Key to Overcoming Capital, Siting and Sizing Restrictions for Community Energy in Albertasharedsolar
On July 13 2017, CanSIA made a submission to Alberta Energy in response to the Community Generation Stakeholder Workbook. The consultation, which is expected to hear from more than 200 stakeholders, is expected to undertake in-person sessions in the Fall with final recommendations on how Alberta can best accelerate "Community Energy" ready for consideration by Cabinet in December. CanSIA's recommendations focused on the ability of a "Shared Solar" approach to overcome: "i) Capital restrictions: the capital available to the Individual or Community or their access to finance; ii) Siting restrictions: the suitability of the Individual or Community's building or site or adjacent building or site (including shading, building structural or geo-technical constraints) and/or their right to amend the site (for reasons including whether they own or lease the site); iii) Sizing restrictions: economies-of-scale are limited by the requirement that the Individual or Community size their system such that generation does not exceed their on-site annual demand; and/or iv) A combination of some or all of the above." CanSIA will continue to engage and consult with Members through the Alberta Solar Market Development strategic project and the Alberta Community Solar Forum as this policy development process continues.

Government of Canada's $180 billion "Investing in Canada" plan targets Low Carbon Green EconomyGovCanada
The Government of Canada's Investing in Canada plan, which will provide more than $180 billion in infrastructure funding over 12 years will "create long-term economic growth, build inclusive, sustainable communities and support a low carbon, green economy".

This federal investment includes four funding streams to be delivered over the next 11 years: $20.1 billion for public transit; $9.2 billion for green infrastructure; $1.3 billion for community, culture and recreation infrastructure; and $2.4 billion for wide-ranging infrastructure needs in rural and northern communities. (This includes the $400 million Arctic Energy Fund, which will be delivered under this stream to support energy security in the territories).

The Green Infrastructure stream will be composed of three funding areas: Greenhouse Gas Mitigation investments such as electricity generation and transmission (e.g. smart grid and renewables) and built environment (i.e. energy efficiency); Adaptation, Resilience, Disaster Mitigation; and Environmental Quality.

The Green Infrastructure stream is intended to be the source of funding for projects identified by provinces and territories under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. Infrastructure Canada will work with provinces and territories to prioritize the Pan-Canadian Framework projects in this stream. A minimum floor of 45% of a province's allocation under the green stream will need to be invested in greenhouse gas emission mitigation projects.

The jurisdictional allocation for the Green Infrastructure stream consists of a base amount of $200 million for each province and territory. The remainder is allocated on a per capita basis, using 2016 Statistics Canada Census data. CanSIA encourages developers of large projects to engage with the provinces and territories and with municipalities to identify opportunities for partnership. CanSIA will continue to advocate for programs that support smaller projects. In complement, Infrastructure and Communities Canada are also working to establish the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) ( read CanSIA's recent submission on how the CIB could support small-scale behind-the-meter solar electricity generation with storage).

Ontario Launches $100M Municipal GHG Challenge Fund & Low Carbon Innovation FundGHG
On August 14, 2017, the Government of Ontario announced the launch of the Ontario Municipal GHG Challenge Fund, aimed help to reduce greenhouse gas pollution in municipalities across the province. This initiative is part of Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan and is funded by proceeds from the province's carbon market.

The Fund, which will have $100M for 2017-18, will support projects that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in any sector, including in buildings, energy supply, water, transportation, waste and organics. Projects that are currently underway are only eligible if they were initiated after June 1, 2016.Conditions for applying for the funding are outlined in the Fund's Program Guide, found here; different conditions will apply, depending on the size of the municipality. Municipalities can submit applications for the fund by Nov. 14, 2017, with selected projects to be announced in 2018.

On August 29, 2017, the Ontario Government announced the launch of the Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF) will support emerging, innovative technologies in areas such as alternative energy generation and conservation, new biofuels or bioproducts, next-generation transportation or novel carbon capture and usage technologies. Successful technologies will need to show significant potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario. This initiative is part of Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan and is funded by proceeds from the province's carbon market. In total, $25.8 million has been allocated to the LCIF. Eligible LCIF projects must be conducted in Ontario and have the potential to play a significant role in helping the province meet its GHG reduction targets as part of Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan.

Utilities & Regulatory Affairs
Solar Debuts in AESO's Long-term Outlook Reference Case, Assumes 71% Cost Reduction in 6 YearsAESO
The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) regularly publishes a "Long-term Outlook" that represents their current generation development expectations (>5 MW) and serves as the corporate forecast informing decisions on several areas of the AESO's business, including transmission system planning. The 2017 Edition reveals that between 2012 and 2017, AESO's assumption for the Levelized Unit Electricity Cost (LUEC) of utility-scale solar electricity has decreased by 71% now sitting in the range of $59 to $1117 per MWh (as illustrated in the graph extrapolated from AESO data by CanSIA).
Electricity load and generation forecasters within system operators may not "gamble" nor do they have "crystal balls". For that reason, they are typically not well equipped to account for a continuation of exponential or disruptive trends.

Based on Alberta's current market structure (i.e. energy only) and pre-Climate Leadership Plan electricity de-carbonization policies (i.e. slim to none) and historic solar capital costs (i.e. >$2/Watt) - it should come as no surprise that AESO's past modelling did not forecast a meaningful future role for solar electricity. As recently as the "2016 Long Term Outlook", AESO's "Reference Case" included no solar electricity generation greater than 5 MW in the province by 2030.

The "2017 Long Term Outlook" tells a different story. The Reference Case now includes 500 MW of solar in service before 2030 and an additional 500 MW in-service between 2030 and 2037. This recognizes that solar will be playing a role in future. However, policy uncertainty abounds and 500 MW by 2030 can be viewed as a placeholder until price discovery, distribution-connected generation policy and the capacity market design all take shape so that analysis and forecasting reflecting these changes can occur. (AESO have also indicated that their forecasting next steps will be to upgrade their load modelling and processes to be able to better account for distribution-connected solar).

AESO's long-term outlook for the role of solar in Alberta published in 2017 has changed dramatically since that which they published in 2016. Most solar industry observers would tell you they expect Alberta to surpass 500 MW in-service no later than the early 2020's. Take-away message: "the only way is up from 500 MW!"

Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) Distribution-Connected Generation Review Reaches Mid-PointAUC
On March 31, the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) was tasked by the Government of Alberta with conducting a broad review into matters around distributed generation in Alberta. The review is intended to provide information to the government as it develops policies to support its goals around clean affordable electricity for Albertans. ("Distributed generation" is "usually small-scale technologies including solar, wind and hydro used to produce electricity at, or close to, the end users of power and often by the end users of power".) The Government is interested in how distributed generation can help Alberta achieve its goal of 30 per cent of the province's electricity coming from renewable sources by 2030. The government set out its request for the review through Order-in-council 120/2017 and announced it in a news release on March 31, 2017.

US DOE's Assessment of Electric Grid finds Renewables No Threat to ReliabilityRUS
When US DOE Secretary Rick Perry sent a memo to his chief of staff in April requesting a review of how "market-distorting" policies are potentially threatening the reliability of the grid, and when he suggested that the federal government could "intervene" in states with strong renewable energy targets, it prompted swift backlash from pro-renewables groups.

The prejudices they assumed would be extolled in the resultant Staff Report were not aligned with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC)'s " State of Reliability 2017" released in June that concluded " the North American power grid is reliable and resilient despite the growth of variable, renewable energy sources". Nor were they aligned with reports commissioned from the Brattle Group (" Advancing Past 'Baseload' to a Flexible Grid: How Grid Planners and Power Markets Are Better Defining System Needs to Achieve a Cost-Effective and Reliable Supply Mix") and the Analysis Group (" Electricity Markets, Reliability, and the Evolving U.S. Power System") also released in June that discussed how "it is a misconception that "baseload" plants (or any plants, for that matter) are 100% reliable" and that "the transition underway in the electric resource mix is not harming reliability" (respectively).

The Staff Report on Electricity Markets and Reliability was finally released on August 24th ( accompanied by a cover letter). While some environmental groups didn't like the report, it was a straightforward account of the factors changing the grid -- not a booster for coal, or any other technology.