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June 21, 2016
A Note from Erin Seegmiller, New CanSIA Team Member
Good morning,

My name is Erin Seegmiller. I had the pleasure of joining the CanSIA Team at the end of March, with a focus on CanSIA Communications. Since joining the team, I have encountered more and more media reports forecasting the peak fossil fuels and the future dominance of solar electricity.  Analysts are all beginning to converge on these conclusions at the global-level (give or take a number of years).  I'm told this outcome is far from a certainty - but I am seeing first-hand that CanSIA is working hard on making it become a reality.

Much of the future of solar will be determined by households, businesses and communities (such as my hometown - Guelph, Ontario) who make the choice to own solar technology or buy solar electricity.  In our favour, supply has never been cheaper, demand has never been higher and new incentives (i.e. Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba) will continue to build consumer confidence in our industry's products and services and to drive down costs. Mechanisms such as carbon pricing and federal emissions regulations that are being considered as a result of the Vancouver Declaration will accelerate our low-carbon transition indirectly, positioning our zero-carbon energy source for further success.

For non-utility solar, defining our contribution to energy efficiency, conservation and demand-side management will be a critical next step so that policy-makers and regulators can accurately value the behind-the-meter services we can provide.  It is, of course, difficult to meter the absence of something. For this reason, market-structures are not prepared to value energy not consumed.  I have been fortunate to be a part of CanSIA's ongoing work in Ontario's Net-Metering Working Group and Rate Design hearings, in the Alberta Energy Efficiency And Community Energy consultations and through the release of our Consumer Protection Framework. All of which are examples of the hard work that needs to be undertaken to realize a future where solar electricity becomes dominant in Canada.  

You too can be a part of the work and discussions that are shaping the future of the solar industry. It is now more important than ever that you join CanSIA's Network's & Forums. 

Please read on for some other policy, regulatory and market updates from the CanSIA Executive Team and for how you can get involved:
Upcoming Webinars
CanSIA Consumer Protection Initiatives
Date: Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016
Time: 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM EDT

This webinar will focus on CanSIA's newly introduced consumer protection initiatives including the new Solar Business Code of Conduct and Complaint Resolution Process. Also covered in the webinar will be our new Going Solar: A Guide for Consumers document. These initiatives are being implemented to maintain a focus on consumers by providing them with clear standards to which CanSIA members will adhere in the conduction of their business, as well as expanded resources to which they can refer when evaluating the decision to go solar. We will discuss why and how these new initiatives have been developed and answer any questions our members have on the their implementation.

CanSIA members can register for the webinar 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 and Regulatory Options for Distribution-Connected Solar in Alberta
Date: Thursday, July 14, 2016
Time: 12:30 PM EDT

Alberta's Climate Leadership Plan has made significant progress on the development and introduction of new climate change policy.  The commitment for up to 30% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030, the Renewable Electricity Program (REP) that will launch the first competitive procurement for utility-scale renewables by the end of 2016 and several other important policies including the revamped carbon pricing regime and coal retirement schedule all demonstrate material climate action.  The next key piece-of-the-puzzle for stakeholder engagement, will be the policy, regulatory and technical considerations for distribution-connected solar.  This webinar will provide background on the existing opportunities and challenges for projects of this scale in the province and discussion of the key enhancements that CanSIA believes would drive this important sector forward.

  CanSIA members can register for the webinar here.

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

Upcoming Events
CanSIA's Summer Solstice 2015

Join CanSIA tomorrow for our 8th Annual Summer Solstice on June 22, 2016! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Time: 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Location: Jazz Bistro, 251 Victoria Street, Toronto, ON M5B 1T8

Don't miss this great opportunity to network with over 200 solar energy executives, professionals, practitioners and stakeholders. Build your network of solar colleagues and friends and to stay-up-to-date on timely and important industry updates.

Click here to register for this exciting event!

Policy & Market Development
Alberta's Renewable Electricity Program (REP) advances, AESO recommendations now with Government REP
 At the Alberta and Saskatchewan Renewable Energy Finance Summit in Calgary earlier this month, Mike Law, VP Renewables Development and Sustainability of the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) delivered a presentation outlining the policy and procurement development status and progress for utility-scale renewables in the province, the Renewable Electricity Program (REP). The timelines shared included approval expected from the Government of Alberta in Q3 2016 with the first competition opening in December 2016 and first projects in service in 2019.  CanSIA's Solar West 2016 in Edmonton on October 5 - 7 will be an important event for investors, developers and suppliers interested in the REP to convene to learn and share insights.

Long-Anticipated Small-Scale Renewables Consultation and Energy Efficiency Panel launches in Alberta small
The Energy Efficiency Advisory Panel who will provide advice to the Government of Alberta on policy and programming for energy efficiency and small-scale renewables has been announced.  The Panel that will be chaired by Dr. David Wheeler will consult broadly throughout the Summer in parallel with a consultation led by the Department of Energy on the technical and regulatory considerations for small-scale renewable generation in the province. CanSIA has formed the Alberta Distribution-Connected Solar Forum to engage and consult with Members on this topic.  Members interested in getting involved can subscribe to the mailing list through through the Members-Only Portal.

Significant Federal Climate Change Action Contemplated, Government Working Groups reviewing Ideassignificant
The June 2nd deadline for submitting recommendations to the federal climate change consultations has now passed.  The federal, provincial and territorial representatives on the mitigation, adaptation, carbon pricing and cleantech and jobs working groups will now review submissions throughout the summer in the lead up to the next First Minister's meeting in the Fall and COP 22 in Marrakesh in Mid-November. In addition to putting forth recommendations as a Member of CanCORE and supported a cross-sectorial initiative led by Clean Energy Canada,  CanSIA also presented recommendations in concert with the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) which are summarized as follows:
  1. Ensure there is an economy-wide price on carbon throughout Canada by 2020
  2. Decarbonize Canada's electricity supply
  3. Encourage the deployment of renewable energy
  4. Increase electrification and fuel-switching to renewable resources in buildings, transportation and industry
  5. Develop and implement a Canadian renewable electricity export strategy

The Future Role of Solar in Saskatchewan TBD, Cost Key to Market Sharefuture
Late last year, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall announced that 50% of Saskatchewan's electricity generation will be renewable by capacity by 2030.  Guy Bruce, Vice - President, Planning, Environment and Sustainable Development delivered a presentation at the Alberta and Saskatchewan Renewable Energy Finance Summit in Calgary earlier this month to provide some early indications of how the province may reach that target.  Mr Bruce discussed how SaskPower will launch an RFQ for its first 10 MW utility-scale project in Q4 2016 with the RFP running in Q1 2017 and that a further 50 MW will be procured in the following years. When asked what factors need to unfold for solar to play a greater role in the province, Mr Bruce replied that the key factor was the competitiveness of the pricing achieved in the early procurements and that from what he had heard in previous panel sessions at the event - it looks promising.

CanSIA Launches New Consumer Protection InitiativeCPF
CanSIA has launched a new Consumer Protection Initiative with the aim of increasing consumer confidence and enhancing industry professionalism, thus contributing to the long-term growth and sustainability of the solar industry throughout Canada.

After extensive consultation with our membership, CanSIA, is releasing these new member policies, processes, and resources, which provide consumers who are evaluating the decision to go solar with additional confidence when dealing with CanSIA members versus non-CanSIA members, because of our members' adherence to these policies. In order to accomplish these goals CanSIA is releasing three resources: Going Solar: A Guide for Consumers, a mandatory Solar Business Code of Conduct, and the Complaint Resolution and Disciplinary Process. All materials are available on the CanSIA website.

This initiative will be an ongoing one. As the industry evolves and new business models emerge it will be important for CanSIA to update these resources and their associated policies to keep pace. Members interested in actively participating in the ongoing development of these resources and improving the industry's consumer protection practices are encouraged to sign up for our Consumer Protection Forum through CanSIA's Members-Only Portal. If you would like to participate in webinars and forums but are not yet a member, please contact us to discuss your membership options.

A webinar will also be held for all members to present and discuss these materials more fully. The webinar is scheduled for June 28, 2016 and an invitation has been sent to members. If you are a CanSIA member and have not received this invitation, please contact us.

Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan Releasedontario
On June 7, 2016 the government of Ontario released their Climate Change Action Plan. The Climate Change Action Plan represents a comprehensive, economy wide, approach to meeting the challenge of climate change. Through the initiatives detailed in the plan, Ontarian's will be given the tools and incentives they need to make the transition away from fossil fuels. By empowering people and companies to implement changes in how they use and generate energy the plan will allow more Ontarians to fuel switch to sustainable and zero emission forms of energy like solar. It will allow people to heat their buildings and their water using solar thermal, it will allow them to generate their own electricity using solar PV, and importantly, it will allow them to save money while doing so. Some of the highlights of the Climate Change Action Plan for the solar sector can be viewed in CanSIA's press release.

On behalf of our membership, CanSIA has been researching and developing policy and regulatory proposals with regards to many of the proposals in the Climate Change Action Plan through our Distributed Generation Task Force and our Ontario Solar Climate Change Initiative. We are pleased to see so many of our recommendations adopted by the government of Ontario. As evidenced by the Climate Change Action Plan, solar is uniquely situated as a "lynch-pin" technology for combatting climate change. Solar electricity is versatile and scalable and acts as an enabler for electric vehicles and storage, allowing for electrification of other sectors of the economy without increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Solar heating and cooling technologies and solar PV can be deployed in urban areas on people's homes and businesses all the way up to larger systems for commercial and industrial applications to reduce their natural gas use. Solar technologies are also seen as a critical component of any net zero building, a critical area of focus of the plan moving forward.

Ontario Passes Bill 135 to Amend Long Term Energy Planning Processbill
On June 9, 2016, the government of Ontario passed the Energy Statute Law Amendment Act (Bill 135). Bill 135 makes a number of amendments and revisions to the Green Energy Act, The Electricity Act, and the Ontario Energy Board Act. These changes are generally centered on the implementation of a new process for conducting the Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP) and associated procurement processes.

Bill 135, while formally changing the "letter of the law" with regards to how the LTEP is conducted, is in many ways simply codifying how the 2013 LTEP was conducted as the new process going forward. Under the new process, the IESO will provide a technical report (to be called the Ontario Planning Outlook (OPO)) to the Minister of Energy. The IESO has already released certain points of information from the OPO through the IESO Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC). Once received the Minister of Energy is required to conduct formal stakeholder engagement with consumers, distributors, generators, transmitters, aboriginal peoples and other appropriate entities in order to develop the LTEP. CanSIA has already submitted preliminary scoping comments to the Minister of Energy for consideration in developing the scope of the LTEP. CanSIA has also initiated a Strategic Project that will be used to conduct research, analysis and member consultation with regards to the LTEP.

Natural Resources Canada New Map of Clean Energy Resources and Projectsnatural
Natural Resources Canada, one of the main repositories of research and analytics on renewable energy in Canada, has released their new Map of Clean Energy Resources and Projects (CERP).

Now, at the click of a button, you can find out where clean energy projects are located and how much clean energy resource potential exists across the country. The CERP map is an interactive web platform composed of several map layers including, the renewable energy potential of wind, solar, hydro, river current, tidal and wave energy, as well as the location of clean power generating facilities, carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities, clean energy test centers, clean energy RD&D projects as well as, aggregate small-scale and distributed generation capacity across Canada.

With the official launch of the CERP map by Minister James Carr at the seventh Clean Energy Ministerial held in San Francisco, you can now learn about Canada's vast clean energy resources and projects by clicking here.

Utilities & Regulatory Affairs
Canadian Electricity Association Issues Call for Reliability Data from Solar Sectorelectricity
The Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) is a national forum for electricity sector stakeholders including electric utilities, independent power producers, transmission and distribution companies, power marketers and the manufacturers and suppliers of materials, technology and services of importance to the industry.

The CEA manages the Equipment Reliability Information System (ERIS). ERIS is the only secure national generation equipment reliability program in Canada, established by Dr. Roy Billinton, in the late 1970's.

Originally the program focused on hydro, nuclear, and thermal technologies. Now the CEA is looking at expanding the data set to capture alternative generation platforms. They seek to engage solar operators to measure equipment reliability, and deliver a valuable tool used in capital planning, maintenance planning, performance measurement, and more to members of CanSIA.

If you would like to hold initial discussions and work with the CEA on establishing Canada's next step in electricity generation reliability data, please contact the Analytics Director of CEA, Daniel Gent, at

CanSIA Completes Submission to Ontario Energy Board Regarding Commercial/Industrial Electricity Rate Designrate
On May 27, 2016 CanSIA's Commercial and Industrial Rate Design Forum submitted our comments to the Ontario Energy Board with regards to the EB-2015-0043 process to revise distribution rates for commercial and industrial electricity customers. CanSIA's feedback focused on implementing rate design changes that would enable customers to adopt conservation and technologies like solar, and accurately reflect the principle of cost causality of for distribution system costs.

Ontario's electricity sector is evolving in a way that could challenge the business model of traditional electricity stakeholders. Distributor revenue decoupling from electricity sales and the OEB's Renewed Regulatory Framework (RRF) fundamentally change the investment incentives and risks facing Local Distribution Companies (LDC). LDCs are also expected to deliver the province's Conservation First framework and to connect increasing amounts of distributed generation. These changes challenge the traditional business models of LDCs and challenge stakeholders to find new paths forward.

The issue of electricity rate design is one that is being taken up across North America as customers and alternative energy companies increasingly demand fair regulatory treatment vis a vis traditional electricity sector stakeholders. Jurisdictions like New York are also tackling these issues on a much wider scale by addressing utility business models through their REV Process.

City of Guelph Moves Forward with Energy Retrofit Loan Program for Homeownersguelph
The Guelph City Council has taken another step forward in the implementation of the Guelph Energy Efficiency Retrofit Strategy (GEERS). GEERS would allow homeowners to apply for retrofit loans through the city that would be paid back through property taxes over time (a concept very similar to Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing).

The City will provide a report in October of this year that will examine the feasibility of a staged implementation of the project (rather than a small scale pilot project). The report will also look at making the program available to a number retrofits, not just solar (though solar would be eligible). The implementation of GEERS itself was voted to be moved to the 2017 budget process with a considerably expanded size and scope.

Stories We Are Following
Join CanSIA for the 2016-17 Membership Year
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.