Additionally, it has said it will establish a program advisory panel, but commercial aggregators will no longer be allowed to participate in the program.
The finalized price reflects input received during the consultation period, says the OPA, and incorporates a wider variation of cost inputs and project configurations, including higher operating and maintenance costs for ground-mounted tracking systems. It goes on to say that the price strikes the right balance between providing a reasonable rate of return to electricity generators and protecting ratepayers from higher than necessary electricity prices.
The new price category is effective immediately for eligible projects with applications submitted after noon on July 2, 2010, when a new price category was proposed, explains the OPA. Eligible ground-mounted applications submitted prior to noon on July 2, 2010, will receive the original price of 80.2 cents/kWh whether or not they have received a contract or conditional offer. These applicants will also have until next May 31 to install and request a connection for their projects before higher domestic content requirements are required. Ground-mounted solar microFIT contracts signed and conditional offers received before July 2 will continue to be eligible for the original price of 80.2 cents/kWh.?
The outcome of a constructive consultation process is that these changes provide fairness for those who have applied to the existing program and good value for clean energy, said Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Brad Duguid. The microFIT program will continue to be a sustainable program that encourages residents to participate in the growing clean energy economy. Colin Andersen, chief executive officer of the OPA added: The microFIT program has been tremendously successful since it was launched in October 2009. With these changes, it has been made even stronger going forward. ??
During the 30-day consultation period, the OPA held three web-enabled teleconferences with 1,665 participants and received 1,645 written submissions about the proposed price. Based on this input, the OPA says that it is also making the following announcements: