Ontario improves rules for net metering

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has submitted to public consultation the new regulation for net metering that will come into force on July 1, 2017.

The OEB said the new rules are intended to increase consumer interest in net metering, while the consultation is aimed, among other things, at improving the availability of information on net metering, improving process efficiency by ‘standardizing’ net metering applications and agreements, and enhancing how net metering activity is tracked via the OEB’s Reporting and Record-Keeping Requirements (RRR).

The most relevant aspect of the new rules is the elimination of limit size of 500 kW for solar and renewable energy power generators installed under the scheme.

“The intent,” the Ontario Ministry of Energy said, “is to enable larger customers to right-size renewable energy systems to their load. Larger customers tend to self-consume a higher proportion of generated electricity due to higher daytime loads, aligning with the objective to match generation to local demand, which can help reduce local load and related infrastructure needs. The requirement that the generator must generate power primarily for their own use and the proposed 12-month credit reset period will encourage right-sizing for all customers.”

The new rules will also allow power system owners to use storage systems when paired with renewable energy generation

The ministry announced its intention to amend the scheme, which was introduced in 2005, in December 2016. At the time, the government said the new rules were conceived under the 2013-Long Term Energy Plan, which is committed to examine the potential for microFIT to transition from a generation purchasing program to a net metering program.