Report finds “strong” reasons to support Ontario PV industry

Issued by ClearSky Advisors, the report, Economic Impacts of Solar Energy in Ontario, found that though more expensive than other forms of power generation, there are “strong” reasons to support PV.

For example, it said that if the Ontario Power Authority continues to award feed-in tariff contracts to solar generators at the current rate over the next five years, and if three gigawatts of PV were installed in Ontario from 2010 ? 2015, this would result in 72,429 person?years of employment. On the other hand, costs to the average Ontario household would increase by the equivalent of 0.7 percent of their electricity bill per year, compared to other energy sources.

Furthermore, it said it would provide the province with the opportunity to establish itself as a leading jurisdiction for the PV industry in North America.

The report went on to say that Ontario is poised to become the second largest PV market in North America after California in 2011. As an “early mover”, it therefore has a unique chance to develop a robust local PV industry that can serve markets in the rest of Canada and the U.S.

It was also found that PV will result in CAD$7.9 billion of spending in the province between 2010 ? 2015, in addition to creating hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue for both Ontario and Canada.

Moreover, it said that a CAD$1,000,000 investment in PV will create between 30 and 42 percent as much energy as other forms of peaking power, and between 2.4 and 6.4 times more jobs.

“When you consider the economic impacts of solar, it is clear that it creates far more jobs than any other energy source while also decreasing health and environmental costs. Solar energy does, however, cost more to ratepayers than the alternatives,” says Tim Wohlgemut, co?founder of ClearSky Advisors. “The question to Ontario households is whether the job creation, lessened environmental impact and reduced healthcare expenses are worth the additional costs to their electricity bill.”