OPA Announces Revised FIT Program

Shifting Opportunities in Ontario's Renewable Power Landscape

On April 5, 2012, the Ontario Ministry of Energy issued a ministerial directive to the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to continue the renewable energy Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) and microFIT programs, subject to a number of amendments that reflect the results of the FIT Program Two-Year Review. On the same day, the OPA posted draft FIT Program Rules, form of contract, and standard definitions for stakeholder review and comment. This review and comment process will run until April 27, 2012 and the final versions of the documents are expected to be made available by May 27, 2012. This Osler Update highlights the thematic changes to the FIT program that are reflected in the drafts of the revised FIT 2.0 program documents1.

New Prioritization for Future Contract Awards

A new priority "points" system for FIT Applications will be implemented with points awarded for, among other items:

projects with 15% or more of their equity held by Aboriginal communities, community co-ops, educational institutions or healthcare facilities; projects with a prescribed form of support resolution from the applicable municipality or applicable Aboriginal groups; projects located on sites controlled by educational or healthcare facilities; and dispatchable projects (i.e. those other than wind and solar). If projects have the same number of prioritization points, their "time stamp" (which will be retained from the original application submission if the project is eligible for resubmission under the new rules) will be used as a tie-breaker.

Specified Application Periods

Rather than receiving applications and issuing contracts on an ongoing basis, the revised FIT Program will have specified, targeted "Application Periods" when applications for only certain types of projects will be solicited at the discretion of the OPA. According to the ministerial directive, the first group of contracts to be awarded under the revised FIT 2.0 will be limited to microFIT and small FIT projects (primarily rooftop solar projects). Remaining connection capacity is to be allocated to larger FIT projects, with a minimum of 100 MW of connection capacity allocated to projects with at least 50% of their equity held by Aboriginal or community co-ops, and 50 MW of connection capacity set aside for hydroelectric projects.

Eligibility Requirements

Ground-mounted solar PV project proponents will have less flexibility in their choice of...

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