March 5, 2010
By Paul Gipe
The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) reports that 40 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) contracts were in commercial operation by the end of 2009. This represents about 46 MW of installed DC capacity in the industry’s standard notation.
In a few short months Ontario has become a major market for solar PV in North America.
The data is contained in A Progress Report on Electricity Supply, Fourth Quarter 2009 by OPA.
The early fall 2009 addition of the 9.1 MW First Light project 50 km (30 miles) northwest of Kingston put Ontario on the map of solar PV in North America. The SunEdison-SkyPower joint venture was soon followed by Giant French utility EDF’s first big solar PV project in Ontario toward the end of 2009. EDF’s 23.4 MW Arnprior project within the city limits of Ottawa, Canada’s capitol, pushed Ontario to the top of the solar charts.
With completion of one of several 10 MW projects near Sarnia by year end, Ontario reached an AC capacity of 40 MW. Several more First Solar 10 MW projects are scheduled for completion in 2010.
Ontario’s new solar capacity was installed under the province’s Standard Offer Contract program, the forerunner of its current feed-in tariff program.
The solar panels are expected to generate 46 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year for the next twenty to thirty years. This is enough electricity for some 4,000 typical Ontario homes.
In other Canadian developments, New Brunswick will soon launch a limited feed-in tariff of $0.10 CAD/kWh ($0.096 USD/kWh) for community wind power.
And in Nova Scotia the government’s interest in a program of feed-in tariffs led to the creation of Nova Scotia Sustainable Electricity Alliance (NovaSEA) on March 2, 2010. NovaSEA’s founding members represent agriculture (Nova Scotia Agricultural College), labor (United Steelworkers – Atlantic Canada), First Nations, a host of national and local environmental organizations, and several commercial renewable energy developers.