SOURCE: Strand Energy Corporation

Strand Energy Corporation

January 02, 2016 06:25 ET

Ontario Solar MicroFIT Specialist Examines Efficacy of MicroFIT for Alberta's Electrical Rate Payers

Ontario Renewable Energy Businessman, Carl Strand (strandenergy.ca), Reviews the Ontario MicroFIT Program and Explains Why Government Solar Bonds Are More Suited for the Alberta Solar Energy Program

WASAGA BEACH, ON--(Marketwired - January 02, 2016) - According to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), out of 13.792 million Ontario residents only a small portion were able to apply to Ontario's MicroFIT program and only 25,863 were granted a MicroFIT contract during its 7 years of operation. Under the Ontario MicroFIT system that Alberta hopes to adopt, less than two-tenths of one percent of Residents were able to invest and earn an income from this solar program. Yet all Ontarians are lumbered with an electrical rate increase of 42% by 2018, according to the Liberal Government's own long-term energy plan. These simple facts, among others, are often overlooked in the exuberant rush to go green.

Seasoned MicroFIT business owner, Carl Strand (strandenergy.ca) emphasizes the key questions Albertans must ask themselves before adopting Ontario's system; "Let's say, optimistically, that 25% of all Alberta's residents have south-facing rooftops that can benefit from the installation of solar. However, after eliminating rooftops under the minimum 680 square feet required to hold a 10kW solar installation, homeowners with no savings, too much debt or no credit, plus renters, condo owners and low, mid and high-rise dwellers with no roof space or those who reside in areas with no line capacity -- then, maybe, 1% of Albertans are eligible to benefit financially from the MicroFIT program. As we've seen in Ontario, even that figure is wildly optimistic. The Alberta Premier has an opportunity to learn from Ontario's solar pioneers and avoid our inequitable policies"

By identifying the program's pitfalls, Strand hopes, Albertans may leapfrog Ontario's MicroFIT red tape, inequality, low uptake and high electricity rates -- striking a balance for all Stakeholders.

Strand suggests a refined, Government-led solar bond system to address these issues for the Province of Alberta prior to a MicroFIT commitment. Strand's proposed Government Solar Fund will encourage cooperation with existing electrical distributors and allow more Albertans to become involved while considerably lowering rates for clean energy.

Strand points out, "As with most developments, economies of scale bring costs down as volumes increase. The same goes for Solar Installations in Alberta. The Premier would be wise to offer Solar Bonds to individuals, earning 7% interest per annum that come due in 20 years (which is the current length for a MicroFIT contract). In this system, I propose interest be paid yearly."

"A Government Solar Fund would, ideally, rent industrial factory rooftops, for these solar installations, in brownfield sites and Provincially owned property, at 5 cents per watt of installed solar panels." Strand states, "The Province can assemble large solar installations on the industrial roofs or install large ground-mounted systems on Provincially-owned land."

Strand proposes this Government Solar Fund would be paid 15 cents per kilowatt-hour, for electricity produced by these solar installations, increasing to maybe 20 cents per kWh at the end of the 20-year contract. This amount would earn the Government Solar Fund about $200.00 per 1,000 watts of solar panels, per year, with an interest payout, at 7% per annum, of $115.00.  Solar Bond interest rates could be applied in a tier fashion, and 7% could be offered to the first $100,000,000.00 in bonds sold after which, the interest rate could be reduced.

DOING THE NUMBERS: The Ontario Power Authority started their price schedule at 80.2 cents per kilowatt hour in 2009, to kick-start the solar industry, but dropped down, in stages, to 38.4 cents by 2015.Ontario's solar pioneers helped bring the cost of solar down to more than half its original price to where it now makes economic sense. By implementing a Government Solar Bond, the solar power rate, to Alberta Residents, can remain low for the next 20 years. The Province will earn about $200.00 per installed kilowatt, per year, over 20 years or longer. After paying the interest on the Solar Bonds there will be money to repay the Bonds in 20 years, plus generate income for Alberta's Treasury.

It is within the power of the Alberta Government to reduce the income tax on the Bonds at the time the interest is paid out to Investors. If the taxes can be reduced, then a lower interest rate can be paid. Solar Bonds can be bought by any Alberta Resident or Company, up to an amount of $20,000.00 per person or company. This program fits with the NDP philosophy of allowing the many to participate, like the Tommy Douglas Health Care System. A plan like this includes the greatest number of Albertans, and other Canadians, and is not like the system in Ontario where profits are enjoyed by big banks, wealthy corporations and few homeowners.

Strand continues, "To leverage this idea, further, the Provincial Government could set up their own Solar Panel Manufacturing lines which would keep the cost of panels down and retrain and reemploy coal workers. If desired, Carbon Credits earned, will go to the Province to sell or offset their own carbon footprint. This plan could move very quickly and the coal-fired plants could begin to be phased-out starting in, as little as, 5 years. By using this system around the world, we would give the energy of the sun to the People."

This article has been written by Carl Strand, President of STRAND Energy Corporation

About CARL STRAND, CE

Carl Strand, CE is a certified Construction Engineer, with decades of experience in design and manufacturing, building over 60 companies employing more than 200 people with $800 million dollars (CAD) in projected sales. Since 2003 Carl Strand has conducted his own Renewable Energy R&D and, in 2006, founded STRAND Energy Corporation that went on to install some of the first MicroFIT projects in Ontario. His latest outreach project is a philanthropic arm of STRAND Energy Corporation, raising funds to replace black-carbon kerosene lamps, with solar charging LED kits, for the children of sustainable schools initiatives in developing world partner countries.

Carl Strand is available for interview upon request.

For more information on Mr. Strand, please visit: www.strandenergy.ca

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Contact Information

  • Contact Information
    Carl Strand, CE
    President, STRAND Energy Corporation

    8985 Beachwood Rd., Wasaga Beach, ON, L9Z 2X9, CANADA
    PHONE: (705) 422-1995
    EMAIL:carl@strandenergy.ca
    WEB:www.strandenergy.ca
    PHOTO: Attached