Action needed now to protect green jobs

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Ontario’s solar industry is at risk. The government’s poorly designed review of the province’s green energy programs is killing jobs, threatening our economy and the future of renewable energy in Ontario. And the Liberal government is missing in action while local solar entrepreneurs struggle to stay in business.

The Green Party of Ontario is demanding the government take steps to fix the problem.

Although everyone in the green energy sector knew a review program was planned 2011, no notice was given that contracts would be frozen during the review. Worse yet, the government has suspended contracts awarded two months before the program review was announced last October.

Without income, solar businesses in communities across the province are struggling to make payroll, laying off workers and in some cases closing their doors permanently.

To meet Ontario’s target of 50,000 jobs in the green energy sector, new contracts for the Feed-in-tariff (FIT) program need to be awarded. The busy spring and summer season is quickly approaching, and new program applicants need to know what return on investment to expect. Potential customers who can’t plan for their return on investment will stay away, and local solar companies risk losing an entire season of business.

In addition, poor management by the government and the Ontario Power Authority is also irresponsible to electricity rate payers.

It is clear that the contract price for solar energy should come down as input costs decline. In fact, solar panel prices have dropped dramatically over the past year, and price adjustments for FIT projects should have begun sooner. But freezing contracts while making these adjustments is killing jobs in an important, growing Ontario industry.

The GPO is calling on the government and the Ontario Power Authority to rectify the situation:

  • Provide contract extensions to those people who have invested in solar based on “expired promises”

  • Expedite the current FIT review process, and in the future lower contract prices at regular intervals when input  costs decline without freezing contracts

  • Create realistic timelines for project completion, and reduce the red-tape that slows down local microFIT projects

  • Revise the long term energy plan that will waste billions on new nuclear and prioritize energy efficiency and allocate more grid capacity to community-based renewable energy projects.

Help take action on this important issue today.

Send a message to Energy Minister Chris Bentley in support of Ontario’s solar entrepreneurs.

Erik Coverdale
GPO Candidate: Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale
FIT Review Issue Campaign Director