On July 11, 2012, the Minister of Energy issued a directive to
the Ontario Power Authority to finalize the rules and contracts for
the FIT and microFIT 2.0 programs. The microFIT rules and contracts
have subsequently been issued, and the new FIT rules and contract
are expected to be finalized and posted shortly. Below is a summary
of some of the changes and highlights announced.
The microFIT program rules and contract were posted to the OPA
website on July 12, 2012. The biggest change from the draft rules
previously circulated involves a changing of the microFIT
timelines. Applicants must now seek an offer to connect from their
local distribution company within 30 days of the OPA confirming
that their application is complete. The applicant then will have 90
days to receive an offer to connect.
MicroFIT applications are now being accepted with the intent of
awarding 50 megawatts of new contracts as quickly as possible.
Existing microFIT applicants must resubmit applications by August
10, 2012, and if they do so, they will get considered before any
The Minister's directive is for the OPA to award 200
megawatts of small FIT projects as quickly as possible. The window
for submitting small FIT applications is expected to open in the
coming weeks, when the FIT 2.0 rules and contract are published.
Applications will be prioritized under a modified points system,
which includes priority being given to projects held by a
co-operative in which at least 50 members are local property owners
and to projects with more than 50% aboriginal equity participation.
Previously-submitted applications will now been given
"priority" points, with one point being awarded to
applications submitted prior to July 4, 2011 and 0.5 points for
applications submitted after that date. These points will be issued
in addition to points given for project readiness.
While FIT 2.0 will prohibit ground-mounted solar projects on
lands with class I, II and III soils, there will be certain
exceptions for lands that are contaminated or not used for
agricultural production, including airports, landfills and military
facilities. In addition, a FIT contract will not be awarded to any
non-hydro project located 50 km or more from its proposed
Termination clauses in the new contract will remain as they were
in the FIT 1.0 contract.
In addition, a new pilot program will be launched for small FIT
projects proposed for the rooftops of proposed new buildings. The
OPA will be reserving up to 15 MW of the total small FIT contract
capacity for 2013 for this pilot program.
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