SOURCE: Ontario Solar Academy

Ontario Solar Academy - PV Design & Installation Training

August 17, 2010 17:32 ET

Ontario's Booming Solar Industry Experiences Growing Pains With Price Adjustment

Enrollment in Solar Installation Courses Continues to Climb

TORONTO--(Marketwire - August 17, 2010) -  After weeks of feedback from solar stakeholders throughout the province, the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) announced that the price adjustment -- from 80.2 to 64.2 cents/kWH -- for small-scale, ground-mounted feed-in-tariff (microFIT) projects will only affect applications sent after July 2. The announcement was welcome news to the 10,000+ applicants who had already committed significant time and investment under the original guidelines. 

Jacob Travis, Director of Ontario Solar Academy (OSA), comments that, "While the price reduction is definitely a blow to many, with over 19,000 microFIT applications already submitted, the continued solvency of the program demanded intervention." 

How much the rate reduction will affect solar growth remains to be seen. While many companies specializing in ground-mounted microFIT projects will need to shift business models, most of the province's solar industry is built around the FIT program for projects larger than 10kw. According to OSA's Marta Michalek, "Despite the price adjustment, interest in our 5-day solar design and installation courses has remained steady." 

Recently invited to sit on the OPA's microFIT Advisory Board, Travis remains optimistic about the program's future. "Ontario's Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure is demonstrating its commitment to the province's ambitious solar program by focusing on a sustainable microFIT program." He adds, "The OPA'S ongoing advisory process with industry leaders will ensure the viability of the program."

Although not a perfect solution, the rate change indicates that the OPA and McGuinty government are receptive to industry feedback and committed to growing the industry. Travis hopes that with the new rules in place, solar stakeholders can build a professional culture founded on transparency and self-regulation.

"Critical to this success is a well-trained workforce and knowledgeable business community able to build the necessary solar infrastructure," he states. "As we continue developing our solar training program, we are proud to be founding members of Ontario Solar Network, establishing communication channels with the OPA, and creating avenues for professional discourse."

Ontario Solar Academy offers monthly PV training courses, with the next class scheduled from August 30 to September 3

About Ontario Solar Academy
Ontario Solar Academy uses NABCEP learning objectives and a hands-on solar lab to quickly advance expertise in solar design and installation. For more information on the 5-Day Solar PV and other courses visit:
www.solaracademy.ca.