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January 31, 2018
A note from CanSIA Vice President, Wes Johnston
Happy new year! I hope you, your family and colleagues all enjoyed a joyous and peaceful festive season and that the beginning of 2018 is pointing toward growth and success for you in the year ahead.

During the past 18 months, stakeholders (including CanSIA) in the energy and environment sectors were engaged in an unprecedented level of consultation on climate action and clean growth.  CanSIA's hope and expectation is that our extensive involvement in these countless policy and regulatory development processes will lead to extensive project development opportunities for the solar industry in Canada. 

We believe that announcements throughout the month of January are early signs of more to come. NRCan's Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities, Emerging Renewable Power and Smart-Grid programs and Alberta's On-Farm Solar PV Program are examples of how new investments and carbon pricing revenues will begin to accelerate the role of solar energy in the solution to meeting our national 30% by 2030 emissions reductions targets.

Meeting in December following Solar Canada 2017, the new CanSIA Board immediately recognized that if the solar industry was to continue prospering in Ontario following the sunsetting of the microFIT and FIT programs, a new pathway would be required and that the solar industry would have to make its voice heard to make that happen.  Following the direction of the Board, and building upon ongoing advocacy efforts, CanSIA asked Ontario solar industry participants and stakeholders to take action and submit a letter to the Province, advocating for the immediate launch of a residential and commercial solar PV rebate. 

The industry responded emphatically! 

Letters flooded in from individuals, utilities, NGOs across the province, sharing their stories and how the government's actions would affect them and their company.  The Green Ontario Fund, which launched several programs to help Ontarians reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, is now considering the introduction of rebate programs for solar electricity and heating.  While we are hopeful for a solar program announcement in the upcoming weeks, we can rest assured that our voice has been heard.
 
CanSIA continues to track multiple leadership, investment and regulatory opportunities at the federal and provincial levels and look forward to sharing more good news with you all throughout 2018.

Please read on for further updates from the CanSIA Executive Team.
Policy & Market Development
Solar Plus Smart Technologies Capture Two Thirds of Global Clean Energy Investments in 2017solarplus
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)'s newly released state of clean energy investment trends report, world clean energy investment totalled $333.5 USD billion in 2017, up 3% from 2016 and the second highest annual figure ever, taking cumulative investment since 2010 to $2.5 trillion.  Solar led the way again attracting $160.8 billion and accounting for almost half of the total.  In combination, solar and energy-smart technologies (i.e. smart meters, battery storage, smart grid, efficiency and electric vehicles) accounted for almost two thirds.

Utility-Scale Solar Increasingly Competing Head-to-Head with Conventional Power Sourcesutilityscale
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), for new projects commissioned in 2017, electricity costs from renewable power generation have continued to fall. After years of steady cost decline, renewable power technologies are becoming an increasingly competitive way to meet new generation needs.  The fall in electricity costs from utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projects since 2010 has been remarkable. Driven by an 81% decrease in solar PV module prices since the end of 2009, along with reductions in balance of system (BoS) costs, the global weighted average LCOE of utility-scale solar PV fell 73% between 2010 and 2017, to USD 0.10/kWh.  Increasingly, this technology is competing head-to-head with conventional power sources - and doing so without financial support.

Canada to Create a New National Vision for Energy Sector in 2018VisionSurvey
Energy issues can be a polarizing force in Canadian politics, all too often pitting region against region, or opening up divisions between rural and urban.  The Citizen's Dialogue on Canada's Energy Future, five regional citizen dialogues as part of NRCan's Generation Energy public consultation, engaged 150 Canadians from different hometowns, perspectives and backgrounds to sit down at the same table to learn about each other's lives, ideas and aspirations and to discuss how Canada can balance energy issues such as greenhouse gas emissions, jobs and international competitiveness.  In their consensus statement, citizens outlined the need to transition to an energy future that achieves a more sustainable and clean environment, while continuing to provide employment and affordable energy. To achieve this vision, participants called for the federal government to play a leadership role in partnership with provinces, territories, Indigenous peoples and local governments to create a national energy plan.

A Technical Report was released to detail the process, key takeaways include:
  • Citizens overwhelmingly supported a transition to an energy future that achieves a more sustainable and clean environment, while continuing to provide employment and affordable energy
  • Participants emphasized that to be successful, this transition needs to include a transition plan to support communities that will be negatively affected
  • There was a strong desire for federal leadership and a national energy plan to guide this transition
  • Citizens don't trust government alone to steer the transition and are calling for independent, non-partisan oversight to increase public confidence
On December 12, 2017, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, announced the creation of a 14-member Generation Energy Council to provide recommendations on how Canada can transition to a reliable, affordable, low-carbon economy in the future. The Council's work will be informed by the takeaways from October's ground-breaking, two-day Generation Energy Forum held in October, as well as the Citizen's Dialogue. The Council will then prepare a report, which will inform the Government as it develops an energy policy and helps define Canada's energy future.

NRCan Launches Clean Energy & Remote Communities, Emerging Renewable Power and Smart-Grid ProgramsNRCan

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)'s $220 million Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities Program is seeking proposals to reduce the reliance of rural and remote communities on diesel fuel for heat and power. Proposals will need to demonstrate local community support and outline the community benefits of the project, particularly for Indigenous communities. Proposals are due as early as March 18. NRCan's Emerging Renewable Power Program (ERPP) will provide up to $200 million to expand the portfolio of commercially viable renewable energy sources available to provinces and territories as they work to reduce GHG emissions from their electricity sectors.  The Expression of Interest has now been launched. NRCan's Smart Grid Program will invest up to $100 million in utility-led projects to reduce GHG emissions, better utilize existing electricity assets and foster innovation and clean jobs for: demonstration of smart grid technologies; and deployment of smart grid integrated systems. CanSIA wishes Members participating in these programs the best of luck with your applications!

Federal Climate Leadership Fund To Support Energy Efficiency & On-Farm Solar PV in AlbertaFedCliLead
More than $81 million over the next four years is being made available for Alberta's agriculture sector through the Federal Low Carbon Leadership Fund to support energy-efficiency projects including solar electricity.  "This investment in energy efficiency will help agricultural producers save energy and money, supporting their future growth and sustainability. With new opportunities for solar power, low-pressure irrigation and energy savings, these grants will make life more affordable for Alberta's farmers and agri-processors while also supporting our transition to a low-carbon economy" said Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office.  Grant programs will include:
  • Farm Energy and Agri-Processing: For primary producers and smaller agri-processors to improve overall energy efficiency.
  • On-Farm Solar PV: For farm electricity customers to install solar panels.
  • Irrigation Efficiency: To convert high-pressure irrigation systems into low-pressure systems.
  • Energy Savings for Agri-Processors: For larger agri-processors to improve energy efficiency.
Applications for the energy-efficiency programs are being finalized and will be available at agriculture.alberta.ca.

What Shape will Future Rounds of Alberta's Renewable Electricity Program (REP) Take?abREP
Alberta's Renewable Electricity Program (REP) intends to support 5,000 MW of utility-scale renewable electricity generation by 2030. The first round of competitive procurement awarded contracts to 600 MW of wind energy projects with a weighted average contract price of $37/MWh. In addition to the low contract prices achieved, the first round successfully also demonstrated the benefit of long-term government-backed power purchase agreements over the merchant electricity market for near zero marginal cost variable renewable electricity. CanSIA established the Alberta REP Forum to engage and consult Members on potential enhancements to future rounds of the program to maximize competition and efficiency and to minimize cost.  Members can view the slide deck from the Forum's kick-off meeting and Members can subscribe to the Forum here.  CanSIA Director of Policy & Market Development is participating in the Alberta School of Business Quarterly Energy and the Environment Speaker Series Luncheon Event to discuss the future of the REP. Registration is available online.

Utilities & Regulatory Affairs
CanSIA To Launch "Dispatchable Solar Forum" to Explore Status & Potential of Solar-Plus-StorageDispatchable
The Government of Alberta has tasked the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) with assessing how dispatchable renewables and electricity storage could benefit the electricity system as it transitions towards 30 per cent renewables by 2030.  The AESO will carefully coordinate this assessment with ongoing capacity market design work and any future Renewable Electricity Program competitions.  A questionnaire is to be filled out by stakeholders by February 14.  To engage and consult with Members on CanSIA's response to the questionnaire, CanSIA is launching the Dispatchable Solar Forum.  Members with expertise and experience with the development, construction and operation of solar-plus-storage facilities are invited to subscribe to the Forum mailing list . Next steps will be communicated to participants via email.

CanSIA Makes Submission on Ontario Net Metering and Non-Rooftop Solar Siting RegulationsOnNetMetering
Following the Ontario EBR posting and consultation period, CanSIA made its submission to the Ontario Ministry of Energy on January 18, 2018 regarding the following proposed regulations:
  1. Net Metering and Virtual Net Metering
  2. Net Metering Third Party Ownership Protection Measures
  3. Siting of non-rooftop solar PV Projects
Through CanSIA's Ontario Net Metering Forum numerous members participated in a conference call and through email correspondence to provide CanSIA with valuable recommendations, comments and feedback.

The Ministry of Energy is now reviewing submissions from all stakeholders. The final regulations are expected to be in force on July 1, 2018. CanSIA will continue to monitor the evolution of all net metering regulatory matters including the Virtual Net Metering Demonstration Program consultations which are expected to launch in Q1 2018. For those interested, CanSIA encourages members to participate in these IESO consultations as well as participating in CanSIA's Ontario Net Metering Member Forum .

Renewables Consortium Makes Submission to IESO Non-Emitting Resources SubcommitteeConsortium
During a December 21, 2017 webinar, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) requested feedback from stakeholders regarding initial thoughts on the forthcoming Non-Emitting Resources Sub-Committee (NER-SC) Request for Information (RFI) scope, development, and timelines. The IESO expects to formally launch this RFI in February 2018.

In response, the Consortium, a group of Ontario renewable generators, energy storage providers, and industry associations coordinated by Power Advisory LLC, made its submission  to the IESO on January 17, 2018.

As background, Ontario is forecasted to have an incremental need for electricity capacity in the early-to-mid 2020's. To assess how non-emitting resources may help to address this need, the IESO will be launching this RFI process to obtain details on prospective products, and indicative pricing, to help inform mid-to-long term decision-making. CanSIA will continue to monitor the work of the IESO NERSC and the upcoming RFI.