In a statement issued, it said the new pricing strategy will provide a price that enables future project owners to recover costs of the projects as well as earn a reasonable return on their investment over the long term.
It continued:Due to this overwhelming popularity for the ground-mounted solar projects, the OPA is proposing a new pricing category of 58.8 cents kilowatt-hour (¢/kWh) for these projects. This will help ensure the program remains sustainable and electricity ratepayers Ontario families receive good value for new, clean, reliable renewable energy… The OPA will consult with applicants over the next 30 days about the proposed price of 58.8 ¢/kWh. During this time the microFIT application intake will continue.
Last October the OPA launched its microFIT Program. Participation has been very popular, it said, with more than 16,000 applications being submitted, the large majority of which are for ground-mounted solar projects.
?It was designed to encourage homeowners, farmers, small businesses and institutions to develop small renewable energy generation projects of 10 kilowatts or less. Project owners are paid a fixed price for the electricity they produce, with prices set to recover costs as well as earn a reasonable return over the 20-year term of the contract.??
The OPA believes the new price category is fair, reasonable, more accurately reflects the costs associated with ground-mounted projects and maintains the long-term stability of the program, says Colin Andersen, chief executive officer of the Ontario Power Authority. It enables the program to continue to meet its original goals and provides proper value to both generators and ratepayers.??
Under the proposed new price category, ground-mounted microFIT applicants who already have an executed contract or received a conditional contract offer from the OPA will receive the original price of 80.2 ¢/kWh, consistent with the microFIT rules. All other ground-mounted microFIT projects, including those for which an application has been submitted but have not yet received a contract or conditional contract offer, will receive the price following consultations on the proposed 58.8 ¢/kWh.