A note from John Gorman, CanSIA President & CEO
You will have heard it said by the CanSIA executive team that 2016 was an intensely active and dynamic year for policy and market development across Canada. Active consultations hold the promise of new markets and, while many details of the new policies and procurements are yet to be announced, last year's efforts have set the stage for a growing solar energy project pipeline.

As is evidenced by this newsletter, steady progress is visible on a number of levels. The Federal Government is regulating greenhouse gas emissions and investing in renewable energy. Provinces are engaging with the private sector, communities and households to attract investment in the adoption of cleaner and smarter energy sources. Utilities are reviewing their preparedness for distributed and variable generation and planning for the future.

Last week I spent three days in Edmonton meeting with elected officials and political and departmental staff with participants in CanSIA's strategic project-Growing Solar Market Share in Alberta and Saskatchewan-to map out the next steps needed to solidify medium- and large-scale solar electricity generation's outlook in the province (the slide deck is available online for your reference).  The visit coincided with the government's announcement of another program we've been actively working on-the Residential and Commercial Rooftop Program. The path is getting clearer.
The window of opportunity to embed solar energy as an integral and mainstream energy source for Canada is here-and we are working hard to capitalize on this for our Members.
Please read on for more policy, regulatory and market updates from the CanSIA Executive Team and learn how you can get involved:
Upcoming CanSIA Network Webinars
Solar's Role in Ontario's Long Term Energy Plan
Date: Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST (12:00 PM - 1:00 PM MT) 

This Network Webinar will review CanSIA's submission to the Minister of Energy on the 2017 Ontario Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP). We will review potential supply adequacy risks to the Ontario electricity system, the associated GHG risks from supply decisions, the cost of electricity and solar's contribution to that cost, as well as CanSIA's recommendations on how to best utilize solar electricity, heating and cooling to help mitigate risk and achieve the province's climate change goals.

CanSIA Members can register for CanSIA Network Webinars through the Members-Only Portal.

If you are not a CanSIA Member and interested in attending the webinar, please contact eseegmiller@cansia.ca

The Market Outlook for Solar Electricity in Alberta
Date: Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Time: 2:00 - 3:00 PM ET | 12:00 - 1:00 PM MT

CanSIA is working with a consultant to evaluate the potential for Solar generation development in Alberta for the purpose of developing an outlook for the solar penetration by market segment from 2017 through to 2030. In this webinar, CanSIA members will have the opportunity to learn the results of this research and participate in a discussion of their implications on CanSIA's policy development activities.

CanSIA Members can register for CanSIA Network Webinars through the Members-Only Portal.

If you are not a CanSIA Member and interested in attending the webinar, please contact eseegmiller@cansia.ca

Save the date for CanSIA's upcoming webinars taking place later this year:
  • Policy & Regulatory Scan for Community Solar & Virtual Net-Metering in Canada
    Tuesday, April 11th
    2 PM ET | 12 PM MT
  • Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change: Implications for Solar Energy
    Tuesday, April 25th
    2 PM ET | 12 PM MT

Policy & Market Development
10,000 new Residential and Small-Commercial Solar Rooftops for Alberta GovAB
The Minister of Environment and Parks and the Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office, Shannon Phillips, has just announced the launch of the Government of Alberta's new Residential and Commercial Solar Program today in Edmonton, Alberta. The $36-million program will support the installation of solar electricity generation on residential, multi-residential and small commercial roofs across the province with the goal of achieving 10,000 new rooftop solar installations.  View CanSIA's full press release online.

CanSIA has actively consulted with policy-makers and regulators in the province as they turn their attention to a more ambitious approach to climate change and renewable energy. The program builds on CanSIA's collaborative efforts with the Alberta government to achieve the significant and sustainable long-term growth of Alberta's solar market.

CanSIA will continue to keep our Corporate and Supporter Members informed and engaged in this burgeoning opportunity, specifically through the following:
SaskPower consults on Small-Scale & Community Solar, Releases 10 MW Solar RFPSaskSolarTalks
February has been a big month for solar energy in the province of Saskatchewan.  SaskPower begun consultations on small- scale and community solar. Through their " Solar Conversations", SaskPower traveled the province to select cities (Regina, Estevan, Swift Current) to consult with interested parties on the principles for new small-scale solar programs and on the role SaskPower should play in order to best support solar in the province.  The community consultation will contribute 20 of the 60 MW the utility currently plans to procure by 2021.  A CanSIA Member Forum will be initiated to provide feedback into this process.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) for a 10 MW facility was released by SaskPower on February 15th marking the initiation of the second stage of this competitive procurement.  This RFP follows the successful conclusion of SaskPower's Request for Qualification (RFQ) which was utilized to establish a list of qualified participants. Only those participants who received notice from SaskPower that they have met the requirements of the RFQ will be eligible to participate in the RFP. Proposals to the RFP are due in September 2017 and SaskPower expects to announce the successful proponent in December 2017.  Given Saskatchewan's exceptional solar resource and current outlook for equipment costs, the resultant Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) pricing is expected to reach new lows for Canada.

A second RFP is expected following the completion of the first process so that the total developed through competitive utility scale procurement reaches 20 MW.  Projects developed through similar mechanisms in conjunction with the First Nation's Power Authority (FNPA) will account for a further 20 MW.

Federal Budget 2017 to include $50 million for Diesel Displacement in Remote Communitiesbudget
The upcoming federal budget will include up to $50 million to help remote communities develop renewable energy projects and get off diesel as a power source, CBC News has learned.  Sources say Ottawa is prepared to make "a sizable investment" to help mostly Indigenous communities develop renewable energy projects that could include hydro, solar, wind or biomass energy.  The federal government has been helping remote communities reduce their dependence on diesel power generators for more than a decade. But until now, the money has largely been used to fund feasibility studies and community engagement.

In the 2016 budget, the Liberal government set aside $10.7 million over two years for the Northern Responsible Energy Approaches for Community Heat and Electricity Program, which is designed to help deploy renewable alternatives to diesel fuel.   The Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change signed in December 2016 by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, along with eight provinces and three territories, promised to "intensify" efforts to move away from diesel as a way to reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions.  Earmarking new money in the budget would be part of that effort

NB Power invites Local Entities to participate in 40 MW Renewable Energy Program NB
Local entities (municipalities, co-operatives and not-for profit organizations) are invited to submit proposals to NB Power under the Community Renewable Energy - Local Entities Opportunity, which is the second phase of the government's Locally-Owned Renewable Energy Small Scale (LORESS) Program, by 3 p.m. on April 28.  The program allows for the production of 40 megawatts of electricity from renewable resources like hydro, biomass, wind and solar energy. A maximum of 20 megawatts can be owned by one or more local entity, or 40 megawatts can be owned by two or more local entities if they are located on the same site.  NB Power, along with the New Brunswick Department of Energy and Resource Development, will hold five public information sessions to give potential proponents an opportunity to ask questions about the program and the process for submitting proposals.  Further information about the program is available online.

Prince Edward Island explores solar feasibility at former Confederation Bridge Fabrication YardPEI
Prince Edward Island would like to find out if wind and solar power can be produced at the former Strait Crossing fabrication yard in Borden-Carleton. The province's government has called for expressions of interest to develop a feasibility study on wind and solar at the site.  "The former fabrication yard is an incredibly important strategic asset for the region and for the province as a whole," explained Economic Development and Tourism Minister, Heath MacDonald.  The province purchased the facility from Strait Crossing in 2008. Since that time it has explored various options for the site including renewable energy production, construction of a business park, selling the property to developers, and other possible uses.
"Although it wasn't feasible when the province first purchased the facility, we decided it was important to have another look at renewable energy at this location given the recent advancements in the technology and our province's emergence since then as a leader in producing clean energy," said Minister MacDonald.  The call for expressions of interest can be viewed online.  "I think it's very important that we explore all potential options for the future of this facility," the Minister added. "We look forward to continuing our work with the community to see this developed."

Utilities & Regulatory Affairs
Need for Long-Term Visibility on GHG constraints to Natural Gas-Fired GenerationGHG
Climate change science confirms that greenhouse gas emission reductions of 80%, or greater, will be required in countries like ours by 2050 if the climate change targets agreed upon at COP 21 in Paris are to be met. There is broad consensus that any credible climate change plan seeking to meet the Paris commitments must have at its heart the continued de-carbonization of electricity generation-replacing existing fossil fuel generation with zero-carbon power over time, and ultimately producing all electricity with non-emitting sources.  Equally as important, Canada's broader energy system must also increase its reliance on electricity-switching away from fossil fuel sources to clean, renewable power in a variety of
energy end uses.

It is only by taking these actions together that Canada will be put on a path to achieve the scale of emission reductions needed to meet both our national 2030 target and put our economy on the right trajectory to achieve the much deeper reductions envisioned in Canada's Mid-Century Long-Term Low-Greenhouse Gas Development Strategy -all while creating new and expanded economic and social benefits, supporting the federal government's efforts to deliver 90 percent of Canada's electricity from non-emitting sources by 2030, and contributing toward fulfilling Canada's commitment to the Paris Agreement.

In this context, CanSIA partnered with CanWEA to make recommendations to the Federal Government on the long-term visibility needed on GHG constraints to natural gas-fired generation in response to Environment and Climate Change's intent to "set regulatory requirements for natural gas-fired electricity generation, including coal boilers converted to run on natural gas".  The submission may be viewed online.

Ontario's Net Metering Changes Adopted, Third Parties & Virtual Net Metering Nextnetmetering
Ontario's Ministry of Energy continues to make progress towards reforming the net metering framework for renewable generators. On February 10th Ontario posted the updated net metering regulation (O.Reg. 541/05) which included the following changes:
  • Maintaining credit settlement for exported generation based on the same basis that the customer is charged for electricity consumption. For the time being this continues to be tiered rates, however, the potential to move to Time of Use (TOU) rates remains a possibility in the future.
  • Extending the credit carryover period from 11 months to 12 months.
  • Removing the 500 kW project capacity size limit.
  • Enabling the use of energy storage in conjunction with renewable energy generation.
  • Allowing current net metered customers who have a net metering agreement to enter into a new agreement based on the new regulation.
These phase 1 changes have an in force date of July 1, 2017. Consultations on phase 2 changes, which include Third Party Ownership (TPO) and virtual net metering, will continue over Q1 and Q2 2017 through the Ministry's Net Metering/Self-Consumption Advisory Working Group, on which CanSIA sits. Members are reminded that discussions around implementing TPO and virtual net metering are ongoing and no decisions have yet been made as to whether they will be implemented. Members can read CanSIA's submission on the Ministry's phase 2 changes here.

Natural Resources Canada Consults on PV Ready Home GuidelinesNRCan
As governments around Canada implement policy and regulatory frameworks to limit Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, one important area getting a lot of attention is the construction of energy efficient and net-zero buildings. In order to hit net-zero status, very often some form of on-site renewable generation is required in order to offset GHG emissions from other sources (like natural gas for space heating), and solar is quickly becoming the technology of choice.

In order to help reduce the cost of installing solar PV on homes, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is planning on releasing a Guidelines document which is intended to provide home builders and the general public with best practice direction on how to construct PV ready residential buildings. The Guidelines are intended to be simple and inexpensive to implement and will cover off elements including: roof space, solar PV conduits, wall space next to the electrical panel, and structural loading considerations. CanSIA is currently working with NRCan and The Canadian Home Builder's Association (CHBA) to provide industry feedback on these guidelines to ensure they accomplish the aforementioned goal of reducing solar installation costs.

Ontario Climate Change Solutions Deployment Corporation to Stimulate RenewablesOCCSDC
On February 17th the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) posted the final regulation to establish the Ontario Climate Change Solutions Deployment Corporation (OCCSDC). The OCCSDC, still known colloquially as the "green bank" will be the entity that will deliver a series of programs and incentives using proceeds from the Cap and Trade program in order to implement the goals of the government's Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP). These programs will include such focuses as fuel switching, energy storage and energy efficiency retrofits. In the final regulation to establish the OCCSDC included an expansion of its mandate specifically to include stimulating activities such as "Using renewable energy for generating electricity, for heating or for cooling." This change aligns well with recommendations made by CanSIA during the regulatory consultation process.

This change is a welcome addition for the solar industry in Ontario which has been advocating for solar PV and solar heating programs to be included within the CCAP and the program suite to be delivered by the OCCSDC since early 2016. While the regulation creating the OCCSDC specifies an increased mandate to include deploying technologies like solar PV and solar heating, this does not guarantee that a program will be created to fund these technologies. The OCCSDC now has to be staffed, have a board appointed, and develop programs for delivery to Ontarians. CanSIA is continuing to advocate for the creation of these programs and will keep our membership informed as those discussions progress

Stories We Are Following