According to the OPA, the rule changes have been designed to identify potential connection issues early on in the application and contracting processes, and will reportedly better align projects with available connection capacity.
The microFIT change affects applications (10 kilowatts (kW) or less in size) submitted on or after December 8, 2010. Applicants will now need to obtain an offer to connect from their local distribution company, before the OPA issues a microFIT conditional offer of contract. In terms of CAE FIT contracts (generally 500 kW or less in size), a new eligibility criterion has been added, which requires CAE facilities to be deemed by the OPA as capable of connecting at the proposed connection point. The rule again applies to applications submitted on or after December 8, 2010.
Prior to the rule change, smaller household projects had a streamlined process, as they were not subject to grid capacity tests before electricity contracts were awarded. Ontario has long been seen as a leader in the integration of PV technology into mainstream usage, and this latest decision comes as teething problems with the original approvals process are fixed.
Since beginning of the Renewable Energy Approval program (RPA) in September 2009, the OPA has offered more than 1,500 FIT contracts representing almost 2,700 megawatts to produce and deliver power to Ontarios electricity grid.