microFIT Application Processing Wait Time

With the decision yesterday by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) regarding ground-mounted solar PV projects (64.2 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh)), I have to applaud the OPA for not making this change in the pricing retroactive.

In an email received from the OPA, which likely was received to all those registered under the microFIT program, it states:

“The Ontario Power Authority has announced that it has finalized the price for the new microFIT ground-mounted solar PV category at 64.2 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). This price applies to microFIT ground-mounted solar applications submitted after noon on July 2, when a new price category was proposed.”

So, those who did go ahead and invest in ground solar PV equipment will still receive the 80.2 cents per kWh.

Yes, that is great news for the microFIT program. However, a government can change its mind at any time without notice.

So, I will continue to wait until I receive the conditional contract before I commit to a contract with any solar installation vendor. I submitted my OPA microFIT application more than 2 weeks ago. It is a pretty simple application; one has to wonder why it should take any more than a few minutes to review.

When will that occur?

Well, the same email from the OPA indicates the following:

“The microFIT team is now working to process all applications it has received. If you submitted your application prior to July 31, it will be processed by the end of September. If you submitted in August, you will hear back from the OPA by the early fall.”

So, based on the above paragraph, I should expect to hear from the OPA if I will receive a conditional microFIT contract some time in the next 6 weeks. When I do, then I will join the hundreds of others who will be joining the mad dash to have the solar PV installed on our roof before the end of 2010 when the Ontario content requirement increases from 40% to 60% and thus increase the installed cost.

Lastly, there was this small paragraph towards the end of the same email from the OPA:

“Commercial aggregators (e.g., businesses that lease land or rooftops from individuals for multiple renewable energy projects) will no longer be allowed to participate in the microFIT program. This will ensure that the microFIT program is focused on its original purpose – encouraging homeowners, farmers, farm co-operatives, First Nations, small businesses and institutions such as schools to own and develop small renewable projects.”

So, it appears that programs to lease roof tops will no longer apply for the microFIT program. Personally, I applaud this policy decision. Other than short term cash flow, I have yet to see any leasing situations which benefits the individual in the long run.

Lastly, the email mentions a May 31, 2011 installation date but with no other reference. I went to the microFIT site and found this within the New Price Category Proposed for microFIT Ground-Mounted Solar PV Projects notice published on August 13, 2010:

“Eligible ground-mounted solar applications submitted prior to noon on July 2, 2010, will receive the original price of 80.2 cents/kWh whether or not they have received a contract or conditional offer.  These applicants will also have until May 31, 2011, to install and request a connection for their projects before higher domestic content requirements are required.”

This one has me puzzled. What about roof top microfit installation applications? And, why ground-mounted solar applications submitted before noon on July 2, 2010? Why not all microFIT solar applications in the application processing backlog?

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  1. Robb Wilkin says:

    It would appear that only ground mount applicants who were “stranded” in the processing
    queue up until July 2, 2010 will be granted the
    deadline extension on Ontario content rules.

    As it was explained to me by the OPA,
    they have an obligation to various
    manufacturing stakeholders in the province
    who are relying on the domestic
    content rules to fuel demand for their products.

  2. Stuart Watt says:

    Hi Dan,
    Thanks for your article. We have noticed that in recent months the process has sped up quite a lot. We received an approval in just 5 days. The program is now closed however, but I think the OPA is getting better at the timing and should soon be getting approvals through in about 1-3 weeks. I wrote an article about the decision process that people go through with buying Solar Panels in Ontario. Please check it out and comment if you wish. Thanks again

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