News

GPO, Ottawa Business Leaders Demand Government Honour MicroFIT Commitments

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

July 23, 2010

NEWS

Green Party of Ontario (GPO) representative Kevin O’Donnell joined local solar businessmen Rob Beckers (President, Solacity Inc.), David Long (President, Pheonix Radiance) and James Cummings (President, Clearly Solar) at a news conference in Ottawa today to demand the McGuinty government honour its promise to pay green energy entrepreneurs 80.2 ¢/kWh for solar projects under 10 kilowatts.

O’Donnell criticized the McGuinty government’s decision to change the microFIT rules without any consultation from the solar industry or their customers.

Beckers described how the OPA and the Ministry of Energy have cast a shadow on the industry’s future without any real justification for the sudden pricing changes.

Long described how the slow processing time for microFIT applications, culminating in the pricing reversal, has shaken consumer confidence and will make it very difficult for solar companies to win back customers.

Cummings described how the sudden price change shows a lack of commitment by the government to their own program which has led to instability and uncertainty in the solar power industry.

The Green Party is launching a province-wide campaign to call on Premier McGuinty to honour his word and stand behind the promised pricing for all current solar microFIT applications. Click here to learn more about the campaign: http://www.gpo.ca/node/2615

QUOTES

“The Green Party considers the solar sector to be an emerging industry that Ontario can be a leader in. We must ensure that investors, businesses and individuals can depend on the Ontario government to honour its commitments. We see the unexpected rate changes as damaging to this emerging industry and damaging to the ability of entrepreneurs to fulfill Ontario’s potential as a sustainable energy leader.”
- Kevin O’Donnell, GPO Representative in Ottawa Centre

“This sudden price change shows a lack of commitment on the part of the Ontario Government to their own program. Changing the rules half way through the game demonstrates instability and uncertainty – the last thing investors want to see. It will kill jobs.”
- Jim Cummings, President, Clearly Solar Inc.

"This rate change has cost us several orders, and discouraged many potential customers. By taking 6 months to process applications the OPA is in essence changing the rules of the MicroFIT program retro-actively, and causing great uncertainty for industry and home owners investing in green energy. A more equitable system would fix the rules, including the feed-in-tariffs, as they apply on the application date. The justification given by both the OPA and the Ministry of Energy are not based on realistic data, and we would very much like to see a real analysis of the costs involved. Keep in mind that even if the $1B number would be correct, this works out to just $1.38 per months on our hydro bill. Is that worth throwing away the future of a vibrant new industry that provides employment for Ontarians, and that can propel Ontario to be a world leader in green energy?"
- Rob Beckers, President, Solacity Inc.

"The introduction of the MicroFIT program created a surge of interest for prospective solar customers in Ontario. It stimulated the growth of Phoenix Radiance, the new green energy division of SageTea Group. There is no question that the slow processing time for MicroFIT applications has impacted our business. This reversal by the Ontario Government will make it difficult to win back potential customers. Ground mounted solar projects are the best ones to do because they have the lowest construction costs. Drilling into people's rooftops, especially when it involves third party roof warranties made rooftop based solar systems something that we chose to avoid. Since the government is targeting our exact product line, we must now re-evaluate our green energy marketing program.”
- David Long, President, Phoenix Radiance - SageTea Group Renewable Energy Division

QUICK FACTS

  • The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) says it has received over 15,000 contract applications since the microFIT program was announced 9 months ago.
  • The majority of applications have been for ground-mounted solar panels predominantly in rural areas. Ground mounted panels are the target of the government’s cuts.
  • The OPA had only approved 3,000 of the contract applications when the cut was suddenly announced. This means close to 10,000 people could be affected by this cutback which will reduce the income on their investment by 27%.
  • A 10 kilowatt solar project costs $70,000 or more to install.

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    Contact:
    Kevin O’Donnell
    (613) 203-2620
    kevin@kodonnell.ca