The Ontario Solar Initiative

By Paul Gipe

September 5, 2007

For more information contact: Paul Gipe, 416 977 5093, or Kristopher Stevens, 416 977 4441.

Ontario Solar Initiative to Rival California’s Solar Program

1,000 MW Solar PV by 2017

In response to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2007 visit to Toronto, the Ministry of Energy’s call for increased renewable generation and the OPA’s acknowledgement of the important role of renewable energy in Ontario’s future, the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) proposes–the “Ontario Solar Initiative”.

Patterned after Governor Schwarzenegger’s California Solar Initiative, the Ontario Solar Initiative employs Ontario’s pioneering Standard Offer Contract program to rival California’s solar program. Governor Schwarzenegger’s solar initiative seeks to install 3,000 MW of solar photovoltaics within ten years.

OSEA proposes that Ontario seize the momentum and build its lead on California using Ontario’s innovative renewable energy program, the first of its kind in North America. Similar programs have been highly successful in Germany and elsewhere in creating a rapidly growing solar industry.

The Ontario Solar Initiative would see 1,000 MW of solar photovoltaics installed within ten years, a target equivalent to that in California based on its much greater population. Such a program on this scale would require the investment of from 7 to 10 billion dollars. OSEA envisions homeowners, farmers, First Nations, and cooperatives as investing in and owning individual as well as community solar systems.

OSEA estimates that at its peak, the Ontario Solar Initiative will cost ratepayers no more than ½-cent per kilowatt-hour and result in nearly 400,000 rooftop solar systems across the province.

To rival California, Ontario will need to substantially raise the tariff on solar electricity under the current Standard Offer Contract program.