May 31, 2019
Opening Note:  Federal Government Announces Climate Action Incentive Fund, Solar Energy Eligible
On May 30, 2019, the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced the launch of the Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF) to create jobs, grow the economy, help businesses save money, and fight climate change. To access the Federal Government News Release,  click here .
 
Under the CAIF program, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and New Brunswick - the four provinces where the federal price on pollution applies - could be eligible to receive up to 25 percent of their energy efficiency project costs with funding ranging between $20,000 and $250,000. Eligible projects include building retrofits, improved industrial processes, cleaner transportation, fuel switching, and the production of renewable energy, including solar energy projects. According to the Federal Government, the fund will be open for applications in the upcoming weeks.

Funds available through the CAIF for SMEs in 2019-2020 will come to a total of $150 million, based on the percentage of carbon revenues collected within each province: $102 million in Ontario, $30 million in Saskatchewan, $13 million in Manitoba, and $5 million in New Brunswick.

These funds would be in addition to tax benefits from the  Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance changes the federal government announced in 2018, as a result of CanSIA advocacy efforts, that allows businesses to immediately write off the full cost of specified clean energy equipment, including solar energy and energy storage equipment.
 
CanSIA is communicating with the Environment Canada to learn more as there are still many questions to be answered regarding proponent eligibility, project criteria, and the application process. CanSIA will continue to update its members as more information becomes available.
Please read on for further updates from the CanSIA Team. 

Policy & Market Development: 
Policy & Market Development
Sign Up for CanSIA's New Alberta MicroGen Member Caucus and Networkcaucus
With a new UCP government in Alberta, there is plenty of uncertainty around the future of the Energy Efficiency Alberta (EEA) Residential and Commercial Solar Program. Just recently, the  EEA announced they were no longer accepting applications for this program . At the same time, a spokesperson for the new Minister of Environment, Jason Nixon, recently stated, " We will consider the merits of each program encapsulated by the EEA on their own merits, and we are approaching this process with an open mind. " So, what is next for the residential and commercial solar program and the MicroGen sector in Alberta?

To engage members and to ensure the continued sustainable growth of the MicroGen sector in Alberta, CanSIA is launching a new Alberta MicroGen Caucus and Network. As such, CanSIA is currently developing policy and regulatory recommendations and crafting a government relations plan to advocate on behalf of the MicroGen sector in Alberta.

The mandate of the Alberta MicroGen Caucus, open to Corporate 1 and Corporate 2 members, is to work with CanSIA and its group of consultants to inform and develop CanSIA's MicroGen policy / regulatory recommendations and government relations strategy, as well as to provide the opportunity to participate in advocacy efforts. In combination, the CanSIA Alberta MicroGen Network, open to Corporate 3 members, will be informed of the direction and recommendations put forward by the Caucus, serve as a consolation body to the Caucus, and have the opportunity to participate in local advocacy efforts (e.g. writing letters and meeting with MLAs).

Sign up and learn more about the Alberta MicroGen Caucus or Network by clicking here.

CanSIA anticipates the first Alberta MicroGen Caucus member meeting will take place within the next coming weeks.
Alberta Throne Speech Announces Carbon Tax Repeal ActABcarbontax
On May 22, 2019, Premier Jason Kenney delivered his speech from the throne . Three areas of focus included:

1) Jobs, Growth, Economic Diversification, 
2) Standing Up for Natural Resources,
3) Making Life Better for all Albertans

As anticipated, the government presented Bill 1, Carbon Tax Repeal Act which will be introduced in the spring session for the purpose of repealing the previous government's carbon tax, while maintaining carbon pricing on large industrial emitters. CanSIA continues to engage with the Alberta Government on the implementation of new carbon pricing policies that will impact opportunities for solar.
Ontario Passes Bill to End the Fair Hydro Planfairhydro
On May 9, 2019, the Ontario Government passed new legislation that implemented reforms to conservation programs as well as the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) , and which ends the Fair Hydro Plan. Specifically,  Bill 87, Fix the Hydro Mess Act  ends the existing Conservation First Framework and transfers the obligation to deliver certain programs to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO); implements reforms to the governance structure of the OEB in accordance with the recommendations of the OEB Modernization Panel; and refinances the Fair Hydro Plan while holding residential bills at inflation. Following the passage of Bill 87, the chair and CEO of the OEB resigned and the position remains vacant .
IESO Releases Innovation RoadmapIESO
The IESO published its Innovation Roadmap and workplan which focuses on the integration of emerging technologies, new business practices, and regulatory constructs that will shape the electricity sector in the future. Several priority areas and initiatives will have an influence on the future integration of solar and storage into the Ontario market. As a part of the IESO's workplan, they are releasing a series of white papers on a variety of subjects, including, consumer empowerment, non-wires alternatives, evolution of the distribution sector, framework for integrating Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) into the wholesale market, system cost allocation options, and impacts of decarbonized economies.
Nova Scotia Hosts Solar Sales Training Workshop NSWorkshop
CanSIA has partnered with Efficiency Nova Scotia to offer a one-day Solar Sales Training Workshop taking place at the Double Tree Hilton in Dartmouth on May 29. Over 30 installers have registered. Workshop topics include:
  • facilitated sales training and coaching session
  • solar technical sales including site analysis, financial analysis, initial system design, and an accurate presentation of the PV systems' electrical, financial, and environmental performance projections
  • CanSIA's Consumer Protection Framework and Code of Conduct
  • Efficiency Nova Scotia's Customer Service Standards.
CanSIA would like to extend a special thank you to the Nova Scotia Department of Energy and Mines for supporting the workshop.
Utilities & Regulatory Affairs
CanSIA Continues Strong Engagement in Alberta Utilities Commission ActivitiesAUCactivities
On May 23, 2019, CanSIA participated in a witness panel with respect to the Alberta Utilities Commission's (AUC) proceeding on the Alberta Electricity System Operator's rules for the implementation of a Capacity Market. CanSIA's testimony builds on evidence submitted to the proceeding, lead by Leonard Olien from Solas Energy Consulting and Terri-Lee Oleniuk from Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. Wes Johnston, President of CanSIA, joined the experts on the panel. CanSIA's focus is to ensure that the capacity market rules do not disadvantage solar, particularly avoiding any price suppression of energy market revenues. You can review a transcript of the testimony here. We note that the Alberta Government has committed to review the decision to implement a Capacity Market through a 90-day consultation periods. CanSIA continues to monitor this closely.

Community Generation Working Group (CGWG), consisting of CanSIA, First Nations Power Authority and the Alberta Community & Co-operative Association, submitted final reply argument to the ISO Tariff Proceeding (AUC Proceeding 22942). The final reply argument submitted can be found here, and an argument summary can be found here and here.

On May 29, 2019, the AUC issued a ruling with respect to cost eligibility to participate in the AUC's Distribution System Inquiry . The CGWG was approved for cost award. CanSIA is excited to participate in this important proceeding which will assess the key issues related to the future of the electric distribution grid, to aid in developing the necessary regulatory framework to accommodate the evolution of the electric system.  CanSIA will reach out to members shortly with respect to next steps. Submissions for Module One are due July 24, 2019.
BC Hydro Plans to Change Net Metering Program BCHydro
Established in 2004, BC Hydro's Net Metering (NEM) Program is designed to support homeowners implementing their own renewable energy systems, as defined by the Clean Energy Act. Since the programs development, over 1,330 customers now participate with 95% choosing to employ solar PV systems. On April 29th, BC Hydro submitted an application  to the BC Utilities Commission for changes to the Net Metering program. This new application follows another application submitted by BC Hydro on April 20, 2018, which proposed limited interim amendments to address an immediate concern regarding recent project applications where the customer's Generating Facility was sized to exceed the customer's estimated Annual Load. The BCUC approved the interim amendments sought in the 2018 application and request that BC Hydro submit the permanent version of amendments this year.

BC Hydro's recently submitted application for amendments will not affect existing or future customers that have a properly sized PV system to offset their annual consumption. Currently under the Net Metering Program, when a homeowner generates surplus energy (kWh) in a billing period, BC Hydro allows the customer to bank the surplus generation credits (kWh). These energy credits may be built up over the summer billing periods where there is more solar energy available, to be later used up over the winter billing periods. If the PV system is oversized and there are energy credits remaining at the end of the year, they are currently paid out to the customer at the previous Standing Offer rate.

The recently proposed amendments include adjusting the annual excess energy pricing, accepting the interim system sizing process, anniversary date adjustment and a new true-up period. These changes will not affect systems that are sized appropriately to offset the annual load; however, they do restrict participation in the program. The application process is more onerous and restricting with the system sizing requirements. This, coupled with the adjustment of the annual payout rate, will prohibit participation from communities and co-operatives. To help inform the application to amend the Net Metering Program, CanSIA is preparing responses to the topics under consideration. CanSIA's goals will be to align the program with other jurisdictions, streamline the application process and propose a Virtual Net Metering Program.

Join the CanSIA BC Hydro Net Metering Forum   to participate in the preparation of the responses.
Solar Industry Coalition Group Seeking Members Compass
As you may be aware, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has implemented a new approach with respect to contract management. Along with the cancellation of Feed-in Tariff (FIT) contracts that have not achieved the Notice to Proceed (NTP) milestone as Directed by the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, the IESO recently informed FIT 4 and FIT 5 contract holders that the IESO will no longer allow FIT Suppliers to declare Commercial Operation up to 18 months following the Milestone Date for Commercial Operation (MCOD) which is specified in the contract under Section 9.1(j). The IESO has stated that there is no Long-Stop period available and that if the project does not reach Commercial Operation by the Contract's MCOD, then the IESO will terminate.

Several FIT 4 and 5 Suppliers are currently leading an effort to legally challenge the recent decision by the IESO to have the interpretation overturned. The "Coalition" is being project managed by Jim MacDougall of Compass Energy Consulting.

The Coalition members have engaged legal counsel to have the IESO interpretation overturned. This legal outcome will be a precedent for all industry members and may be used in future cases. The Coalition is seeking member support to pay for the costs of launching a court challenge, whether impacted directly or not by the current interpretation, given the precedent setting nature of this matter for possible future cases.

For more information on this matter and how your company can support this effort, contact Jim MacDougall at jim@compassenergyconsulting.ca or 416-294-0803.
Ontario Government Industrial Rate Consultation ContinuesONgovcontinues
Throughout the month of May, the Ontario Government continued to meet with the industry with respect to the consultation on industrial electricity pricing . CanSIA and several of its members have had the opportunity to participate in consultation meetings to express views from the perspective of customers who wish to adopt solar and other advanced energy solutions. CanSIA's Nexus members have contributed to the development of a report that will be submitted to this consultation and will advocate for support of the Industrial Conservation Initiative while providing greater choice to consumers for other electricity pricing options.
Have your say about Solar PV Installer certification Installercertification
With tremendous solar industry growth comes skilled solar related jobs and careers. It is essential to ensure that solar installation technicians are properly trained and qualified to safely install solar systems and protect consumers, thus creating a level of quality assurance and professionalism in the industry. Proper training and certification can help to further lower overall solar installation costs, as best practices are defined and adopted making solar energy even more accessible to more Canadians.

As part of the Sector Initiatives Program of Employment and Social Development Canada, Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) and the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) are conducting a comprehensive needs analysis to determine the demand and feasibility within the solar labour force and market for a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Installer Certification program in Canada.
This project will involve various activities including:
  • Researching existing certification programs and developing a research-findings report.
  • Conducting industry consultations with key stakeholder groups.
  • Developing a proposed certification scheme and business case.
Industry Consultations

Industry consultations are being held to gather feedback directly from industry stakeholders -regarding potential certification, including potential benefits, challenges and approaches. If you are a Solar PV Installer, an installation organization, a solar PV installer training provider or another key stakeholder, we want to hear from you!
  • Online, until June 30, 2019
  • Toronto, June 6, 2019: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm (exact location TBC)
  • Halifax, June 7, 2019: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm (Hampton Inn & Suites, 65 Cromarty Drive)
Getting Involved

Members at the Corporate 1, Corporate 2, and Supporter 1 levels are eligible to become Influencers by funding and participating in Strategic Projects. Influencers receive a number of exclusive benefits that are not available through traditional membership and, above all else, access information that can be applied to strategic business planning.

Contact Julie Mair, Membership and Business Development Manager, to learn more about how your company can participate in CanSIA's Strategic Projects.