CanSIA recently released its recommendations to the Ontario Ministry of Energy that, if adopted, would ensure that Ontarians reap the many benefits of solar energy far into the future.
Primarily, CanSIA recommends that the Ontario government adopt a target that sees, by the year 2025, 5 percent of the energy consumed on the grid produced from a solar photovoltaic (PV) source and, the re-establishment of support and targets for the solar thermal sector.
“We may have an adequate supply of electricity today, but projections show that we will need additional generation as early as 2016. The fact of the matter is we can’t wait until we need the energy to figure out where we’ll get it."
Filling the energy gap
“We may have an adequate supply of electricity today, but projections show that we will need additional generation as early as 2016”, said CanSIA President John Gorman. “The fact of the matter is we can’t wait until we need the energy to figure out where we’ll get it. We have to start planning now if we’re going to be able to meet future needs, and solar energy is a natural fit to filling the gap.”
CanSIA points out in its submission that with a variety of unique and favorable characteristics, Solar PV is unlike other sources of generation.
Notably, it is the only large-scale power generation source that has experienced a steep decline in cost in recent history, with costs continuing to go down.
Solar PV is the greenest form of energy, having the lowest environmental footprint of any electricity resource, zero airborne emissions, zero hazardous waste emissions and almost zero noise. It supplements conventional generation by providing electricity during peak demand—during the day, which lessens the burden on the grid. And, it supports more jobs than any other energy source, producing high-quality local jobs in engineering, design and installation.
“This smart electricity grid future is right around the corner. Solar is an inevitable part of that future and, with continued government commitment, Ontarians will only benefit.”
As the cost of solar continues to decrease, and electricity rates continue to rise, consumers’ desire to manage their electricity requirements is driving change. Solar PV will become commonplace on existing residential, commercial, and industrial buildings, and new building construction will incorporate solar into the initial structural designs.
“Using existing technology, empowered consumers will not only be able to generate electricity through a rooftop solar PV array, they will store and supply electricity through their electric vehicle and manage their appliances from smart phones,” said Gorman. “This smart electricity grid future is right around the corner. Solar is an inevitable part of that future and, with continued government commitment, Ontarians will only benefit,” he added.
Ushering new policies
CanSIA also recommends that the Ontario Ministry of Energy make the following changes:
- Continue its commitment to microFIT and small FIT targets, as recently announced.
- Establish specific “solar PV targets” based on percentage of energy consumed.
- Set annual procurement targets for large-scale solar PV, similar to procurement targets set for microFIT and small FIT.
- Ensure that a viable net-metering policy to enable distributed solar PV generation for all consumers by 2018 is uncapped, based on consumer demand for solar.
- Include solar thermal technologies in conservation programming for both electricity and natural gas, as applicable and set targets for the solar thermal industry.
Gorman, and the approximately 650 solar companies that he represents, are confident that solar energy is poised to take its position as a leader in Canada’s energy mix.