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March 29, 2017
Opening Note from Wes Johnston, Vice President, CanSIA
With the election of President Trump in the United States and the uncertainty surrounding trade, tax competitiveness, and environmental regulation - compounded by the downturn in the Canadian oil and gas sector - striking a balance between environment and economy is a challenge that every government navigates.

However environment and economy are fundamentally interconnected. Albeit, due to recent events, the focus is now squarely on clean economic growth, ultimately working towards success in both economy and environment. As you can see in the following publications featuring CanSIA, the solar industry excels at both:
CanSIA is excited to share with Canadians the importance of the solar in Canada's future on behalf of our Members!

I hope you enjoy the articles. Read on for further policy, market development and regulatory updates from the executive CanSIA team.
Upcoming CanSIA Network Webinars
Policy & Regulatory Scan for Community Solar & Virtual Net Metering in Canada
Date: Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Time: 2:00 - 3:00 PM ET | 12:00 - 1:00 PM MT
Register here.

The definition of "Community Solar" varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In all cases, it involves the participation of civil society in a solar electricity generation project. Traditionally, participation was driven by a shared mission of democratization and decarbonization. Now with solar capital costs lower than ever and project economics reaching the required level of return for many investor profiles, the pool of those willing to participate is deepening. As policy-makers and regulators seek to encourage a greater role for distributed energy resources in the electricity system, the options for (and ease for) participation is greater. However, policy and regulatory frameworks dictate project sizing and siting, how the project is paid for and who owns it and how compensation is received (and by whom) for the value delivered. "Virtual Net Metering" is one regulatory approach to billing and account settlement that is becoming more popular to enable community solar. This webinar will explore existing and proposed approaches to community solar and virtual net metering that exist across a number of jurisdictions and will examine the compatibility of each for the varying provincial and territorial electricity market structures of Canada.

CanSIA Members can register here for the 'Policy & Regulatory Scan for Community Solar & Virtual Net-Metering in Canada' Webinar.

Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change: Implications for Solar Energy
Date: Tuesday, April 25th, 2017
Time: 2:00 - 3:00 PM ET | 12:00 - 1:00 PM MT
Register here.

On Friday December 9, Canada's First Ministers announced the completion of a Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. The initiatives contained within this comprehensive national strategy are broadly grouped into four pillars: i) national carbon pricing; ii) complementary actions; iii) adaptation and resilience; and iv) clean technology, innovations and jobs. Federal Budget 2017 released on March 22nd provides additional details on expenditures associated with the implementation of the strategy. This webinar will review the key elements of the Framework and Budget 2017 that are of most relevance and importance to the solar industry. 

CanSIA Members can register here for the 'Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change: Implications for Solar Energy' Webinar.

Policy & Market Development
Federal Budget 2017 Earmarks $3 billion for Decarbonized and Smarterbudget
On March 22nd, the Federal Government of Prime Minister Trudeau released their second budget since taking office and their first since ratifying the Paris Agreement and since the election in the United States of President Trump.  The Budget continues to place significant focus on the future importance of clean technology and allocate significant investment to climate action and clean growth but is presented through a lens of intense uncertainty around the future of trade, tax competitiveness and environmental regulation in North America.  A Fall Economic Update will present an opportunity for course adjustments.

In addition to signalling that further details on the allocation of the $2 billion Low Carbon Economy Fund announced in Budget 2016 will be announced in the near future, the following is a list of specific allocations to programs that will support the transition to a cleaner, smarter and more distributed energy systems:
  • $100 million to support smart grid, storage and clean electricity technology demonstration projects.
  • $220 million to reduce reliance of remote communities on diesel fuel and support renewable power.
  • $182 million to retrofit existing buildings and build new net-zero energy consumption buildings across.
  • $200 million to support the deployment of near-commercial renewable energy technologies.
The ongoing review of federal tax expenditures to make the system less complex and more efficient and the uncertainty from the United States are two key factors that forced this Budget to hold-back on the major tax reforms that were expected.  CanSIA is continuing to review the documents and will provide further commentary to Members in the coming days.

10,000 Solar Rooftops Program to Be Discussed at Solar West 2017RooftopProgram
CanSIA's annual western region conference, Solar West 2017, will take place at the Westin Edmonton from May 9th to the 11th.  This year, we expect to welcome 400 attendees.  One key area where attendees will be seeking information will be on the $36 million Residential and Small Commercial Solar Program that will be launched before this summer.  The residential-sector program stream is expected to provide an incentive rate of $0.75 per-Watt for systems up to 15kW in size. For residential customers, incentives will be limited to the lesser of 30% of eligible system costs or $10,000. The commercial/not-for-profit sector stream will provide an incentive rate of $0.75 per-Watt for systems up to 5MW in size. For commercial and non-profit customers, incentives are expected to be limited to the lesser of 25% of eligible system costs or $500,000.  A dedicated session moderated by Dave Kelly, CEO, SkyFire Energy Inc. will examine the program with panelists including David Dodge, Chair, Energy Efficiency Alberta and Philippe Dunsky, President, Dunsky Energy Consulting.

Announcing the Launch of the CanSIA Alberta Community-Scale Solar Electricity Forum ABForum
In 2016, Alberta's Micro-Generation Regulation was reviewed and revised resulting in several enhancements including the removal of the requirement for it to be periodically reviewed and extended, an increase from 1 to 5 MW in the maximum system size and an easing of the siting restrictions.  In 2017, Alberta Energy will be reviewing the policy and regulatory framework for generation connected to the distribution -system that is not "tied-to-load" which currently falls under the definition of "Distributed Generation".  

Proposed Timelines for this initiative are as follows:
Wednesday, March 22nd
CanSIA Members were invited to join Forum mailing list.
Wednesday, March 29th
E-Survey circulated to Forum Members to solicit initial feedback.
Thursday, April 6th
Forum Kick-Off Webinar to present draft positions and solicit feedback.
Monday, April 10th
Deadline for Forum to provide feedback following Kick-Off Webinar.
Tuesday, April 11th
Network Webinar with broader Membership to present proposed final recommendations.
Thursday, April 13th
Deadline for Network to provide feedback following Network Webinar.
Tuesday, April 18th
Final draft circulated to Forum.
Friday, April 21st
Final submission made to Alberta Energy

Materials, meeting notices and agendas will be distributed to those that subscribe to the Forum mailing list. Recommended pre-reading includes the following submission to the Alberta Energy Efficiency Advisory Panel.

CanSIA Members can sign-up for the 'Alberta Community-Scale Solar Electricity' Forum here.

Prince Edward Island's 10 year Energy Strategy Considers Future Role of Solar in the ProvincePEI
Prince Edward Island's new energy strategy will create jobs, stimulate the economy, and put money into the pockets of Islanders. The 10-year plan aims to develop a stronger, more sustainable, and resilient province. It focuses on energy efficiency, conservation, and generating more renewable energy. Based on input gathered from Islanders and Island businesses during public and partner consultations, the strategy was developed by the Prince Edward Island Energy Corporation with support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. Solar is given significant consideration in the strategy and anyone interested in doing solar business in the province should read it in full. In the meantime, with help to the tune of $1.5 million from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), PEI's installed solar capacity is getting a boost at Summerside's Credit Union Place community centre who is installing a $3 million solar-plus-storage energy project to help offset the facilities $380,000 annual energy costs.

Release of Ontario's Long Term Energy Plan to be DelayedLTEP
The Ontario Ministry of Energy (MOE) continues to develop the next iteration of the Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP). Development of the LTEP has been stalled slightly and it is no longer expected to be released before the end of May 2017, with the potential to be later. CanSIA Members can access the presentation and audio archive for a Network Webinar on the LTEP Strategic Project's recommendations to the MOE here.

Utilities & Regulatory Affairs
Alberta transitions Carbon Pricing regime from "SGER" to "OBA" SGER
Alberta will transition from the current Specified Gas Emitters Regulation (SGER) to a carbon competitive system in January 2018. This system will use an Output-Based Allocations (OBA) approach for emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries.  Any facility that emits 100,000 tonnes or more of greenhouse gases will be included in the new greenhouse gas management system. Many types of facilities fall under this plan, such as:
  • electricity production
  • heat production and use
  • oil extraction, upgrading and refining
  • natural gas processing and transmission
  • chemical manufacturing
Under the output-based allocation system, facilities will be allowed to emit a certain amount of greenhouse gases, free of charge from the carbon levy. This approach protects industries from competitiveness impacts that could shift production to other jurisdictions.  These "free" emissions will be determined based on a product-specific emissions benchmark. Benchmarks will be set relative to high-performing industry peers or competitors who produce the same or similar products.  CanSIA has represented the solar industry in the design of the OBA and recently submitted a brief letter describing the key design principles that we feel are important for inclusion.

Government of Ontario Releases Fair Hydro PlanFairHydro
In early March the government of Ontario announced high level details of their Fair Hydro Plan. The Fair Hydro Plan is being implemented to provide, in total, a 25% reduction on the average residential electricity customer's bill. These impacts, however, are largely focused on volumetric portions of the bill (commodity/electricity charge, HST, regulatory charge) and will thus impact the economics of solar net metering as this is the portion of the bill that can be reduced by a net metering system. The 25% reduction will come largely from refinancing the Global Adjustment (GA) component of electricity bills, and from the already implemented 8% provincial HST rebate.

While the GA refinancing plan will have the largest impact, the cumulative impact of all announced changes (including shifting certain regulatory charges onto the tax base) are additive and will contribute to the overall impact. The impacts will be especially pronounced for residential customers. The commercial/industrial sector will not be as heavily impacted due to the relatively low costs per unit of electricity that come from the GA for these customers. CanSIA is working through our LTEP Strategic Project to quantify the impacts to Time of Use (TOU) and Tiered Rates as well as to total changes to the volumetric portion of the electricity bill for Class B customers. Included within this analysis will be a revision to the transitionary capital cost incentive, recommended previously by CanSIA's Distributed Generation Task Force, which will be required for solar net metering projects in order to make them financially viable.

The Fair Hydro Plan will be in-place by the summer of 2017, likely in May when the updated Regulated Price Plan (RPP) electricity rates will be announced by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB).

CanSIA's Ontario Net Metering Forum Consults on Phase 2 Net Metering Revisionsnetforum
The Ontario Ministry of Energy's (MOE) Net Metering/Self-Consumption Working Group (AWG) continues to conduct stakeholder engagement in order to develop policy recommendations on the Phase 2 net metering revisions. These potential revisions include enabling Third Party Ownership (TPO) of net metering systems, and a framework for virtual net metering (including Single Entity Virtual Net Metering and Multi Entity Virtual Net Metering). CanSIA, through our Ontario Net Metering Forum, will continue to engage with the AWG to deliver's the solar industry's recommendations on structuring the new regulation. A copy of the most recent deck used for these purposes is available here.

Ontario Revised Renewable Energy Approval Technical Guide Releasedguide
On March 2, 3017, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) posted the final Renewable Energy Approval (REA) Technical Guide. The Technical Guide has undergone a series of revisions which offer clarity and new ways of ensuring compliance with the REA requirements and process. CanSIA's recommendations to incorporate provisions to enable operational flexibility in order to avoid making unnecessary and expensive amendments to an issued REA have been adopted. These changes will allow solar companies to utilize a larger more detailed study area at the outset of project development in order to make certain eligible changes (such as moving modules or relocating connection assets) within the set boundaries of the study.

Ontario Energy Board to allow new RPP Price PilotsRPP
On March 15, 2017 the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) released a notice of amendment to the Standard Service Supply Code (SSSC) which will enable Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) to offer their customers pricing plans that differ from the Regulated Price Plan (RPP). These changes apply to customers that have signed up for OEB approved pricing pilots. As LDCs roll out more of these pricing pilots they will very likely experiment with new pricing structures (such as the introduction of lower off-peak rates and "critical peak" rates. Critical peak rates are of interest to solar net metering customers as they would charge customers very high prices for electricity consumed during system peak hours (and very low prices for electricity consumed during off peak hours) because system peaks tend to align well with the generation peak of solar. LDCs implementing these pilots will learn how differentiated pricing impacts a customer's use of the grid, as well as how new pricing can support or hinder the use of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) like solar PV, storage, and demand response. The Ontario Minister of Energy has voiced his support for exploring differentiated rate structures and the learnings from these pilots could very well inform how electricity rate regulations evolve over the coming years.

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