- Industry Pushes Forward Despite Campaign Rhetoric's Damage to the
Solar Value Chain -
TORONTO, Sept. 22, 2011 /CNW/ - Ongoing political debate from opposition
parties over the McGuinty government's Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program is
crippling value chain development for solar companies, according to a
recent industry review by Solar Power Network Inc. (SPN), released
today. In order to solidify the industry's development network and,
ultimately, establish an enduring program, SPN estimates that the
current commercial rate needs to decrease to 60¢/kWh by the end of this
year, a 20% reduction. But this can only happen once the rhetoric ends
and the FIT program, as established, is able to run its course and
develop its full potential.
What opposition parties are continuing to disregard is the domino
effect their rhetoric has on the viability of the current Green Energy
Act and the future feasibility of Ontario's solar industry. Their
threats to dismantle the current Green Energy Act, post September 30,
2011, have appeared to have lead to application processing delays and
uncertainty in contract awards since December 2010. Without even an
interim statement of commitment, these factors continue to foster
market instability. Such instability is preventing the costs associated
with manufacturing, engineering, financing, and installation to
decrease. Additionally, while we applaud the terms of the current
program that call for Ontario-manufactured materials, which have lead
to job creation throughout the province, the policy, coupled with the
current political instability, layers on a significant cost premium on
"Upon entering the solar arena, the industry was promised a chance to
grow throughout the two-year, inaugural run of the Green Energy
program, giving companies like Solar Power Network the opportunity to
build the industry before its future was threatened," says Peter
Goodman, CEO of Solar Power Network Inc. "Ironically, it's the fight
amongst ratepayers, fuelled by the opposition party in this provincial
election campaign, that has severely limited the return on investment
that the Province needs to realize before considering the program a
success. Certainty in favour of the Green Energy Act, as opposed to a
stalled rollout of anticipated contracts, is what is needed to
successfully achieve an innovative market, which the current government
has worked so hard to champion."
Countries with similar green energy mandates which have been supported
by clear political commitment have benefited from decreases to the cost
of materials and development; however, without a credible forecast
structure in place, risk in the Ontario solar market remains too high
to attract and retain the longer term financial interest and investment
in innovation needed to mature the industry and drive costs down. Lower
costs will spur a decrease in commercial rates and ultimately result in
a lower subsidy funded by ratepayers.
Despite uncertainty of the future policy framework, pending the results
of the current campaign, Ontario's solar industry has still seen major
development due to the diligence of industry pioneers. SPN, for
example, has introduced a lower panel angle to maximize efficiencies
and create useable rooftop space out of many Ontario roofs that can't
sustain loads from traditional higher-angle solar layouts.
SPN's lower panel angle also mitigates the impact of wind and snow
throughout the harsh Canadian winter, allowing for the economic capture
of energy regardless of weather conditions.
"Despite the political wrangling, the business of solar electricity
generation in Ontario is already on a world-class track," adds Goodman.
"We're currently within reach of countries like Germany, which has
benefited from consistent political will for more than a decade longer
than we have here in Ontario. We need to establish that same political
will. Legislative risk is the single greatest barrier to achieving
global cost parity."
To curb this unintended consequence , the Ontario solar industry and its
ratepayers need stability in the government's commitment toward green
energy. If the current program were allowed to roll-out contract
offers at the current rates ending September 30th, and if a new two-year solar policy were established, then prices would
fall significantly - by 20% to 60¢/kWh. The goal of global cost parity
is something that is within our reach - legislative stability in
Ontario will cause the cost drivers to decrease, which will lower
ratepayers subsidy of this emerging industry.
About Solar Power Network
Solar Power Network Inc. is a Canadian-owned private company, based in
Ontario and specializing in generating clean energy, using proven solar
technologies. Solar Power Network partners with local businesses,
leasing and converting idle roof-tops into solar power generation
spaces. The company offers competitive, generous, up-front payments and
continual roof maintenance services. Led by a team of professional
engineers, Solar Power Network offers building owners high financial
return with minimal risk and structural impact.
For more information visit: solarpowernetwork.ca.
SOURCE Solar Power Network
For further information:
Katie Gates, Optimum PR