Canada suspends MicroFIT until July

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Last week Ontario’s grid operator announced that it was suspending the province’s feed-in tariff for PV systems under 10 kW, effective immediately.

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) says that it is taking this step to “protect the integrity of the MicroFIT program and consumers”. The agency expects to re-open the MicroFIT when new a new version of the MicroFIT is launched in July.

IESO says that a “number of irregular and incomplete applications have been discovered in the past few weeks”, and notes that the upcoming MicroFIT version 4 will include a requirement for a commissioned or notarized declaration form from all applicants.

MicroFIT version 4 will also include a separate rate class for PV systems smaller than 6 kW. The current price will apply to systems that are larger than 6 kW.

IESO hit its target to procure 50 MW under the MicroFIT in 2015, however Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) says that this year the target was already in jeopardy, following a 23% cut in MicroFIT payment levels. The association notes that by the end of April only 1/3 the volume of PV had registered for the program as in 2015.

"We expect the temporary suspension of the microFIT Program to have significant impacts on the industry’s ability to hit the 2016 50 MW procurement target as it has been closed during prime solar selling season," notes CanSIA Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs Ben Weir.

Update: This article was updated on May 3 at 9:40 AM Eastern Time (U.S. and Canada) to include market estimates and commentary by CanSIA.