OPA release draft version of FIT 3 Program Rules

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In preparation for the forthcoming FIT application period, OPA in Canada has made available the draft version of its FIT 3 Program Rules for comment and consultation.

The draft is an update on the previous FIT 2.1 Program Rules, with all amendments and changes made to reflect the policy decisions indicated by Canada’s Minister of Energy in June and August.

Chief among the proposed program changes is a tailored provision for applicants who wish to participate in the Unconstructed Rooftop Solar Pilot (URSP) program – a provision that was omitted from FIT 2.1. ??These new rules establish a 15 MW procurement target for the URSP, stipulating "URSP Projects must be located on an unconstructed building," defining a site as somewhere that encompasses both the land and building itself.

URSP applications must also be signed off in the Prescribed Form by a professional engineer or architect who can attest that the building can support the project, the rules add, and URSP applicants must have 100% economic interest from a prioritized group (Aboriginal community, community investment member, municipality or public sector entity) in order to receive project type priority points.

Further proposed changes in FIT 3 include the permittance of both microFIT and FIT projects on the same Deemed Single Property provided that "the microFIT Project is in commercial operation at the time the FIT application is submitted." Additionally, it is proposed that the aggregate capacity permitted on a Deemed Single Property per Renewable Fuel is reduced from 10 MW to 2 MW.

Municipalities and public sector entities would also be eligible to receive project type priority points under the new FIT 3 Program Rules, which also propose lowering the Minimum Required Domestic Content Level (MRDCL) from 60% for all solar PV facilities to 22% for solar PV utilizing crystalline silicon technology; 28% for solar PV utilizing thin-film technology, and 19% for solar PV utilizing concentrated PV technology.

Another proposed change is intended to reflect the removal of large FIT projects from the FIT program – a stipulation that small FIT projects must only connect to a distribution system feeder, rather than directly to a transmission system like before. Small FIT projects will also no longer be required to submit application security to the OPA. Meanwhile, all references to large FIT projects have been removed from the FIT contract.

OPA is seeking feedback on the draft documents, and has given a deadline of September 20 for all responses to be received.