Renewable energy projects create new, high-value jobs and provide economic benefits and opportunities for municipalities and local businesses. Ontario supports the development of small-scale renewable energy through the Feed-tariff (FIT) program. Which is administrated by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), and through the net metering program, Administered by local distribution companies with support of the Ontario Energy Board (OEB).
Ontario net metering regulation, passed in 2005, is available to any Ontario customer who generates electricity primarily for their own use and from a renewable source (including bioenergy, wind, solar photovoltaic, and waterpower, as with the FIT program) using equipment of maximum cumulative capacity up to 500 kilowatts in size.
Net metering is a billing arrangement whereby customers can send electricity generated from renewable source to the electrical grid for a credit toward their electricity bill. The customer’s local distribution company will subtract the value of electricity supplied to the grid from the value of what is taken from the grid over a billing period. If a customer supplies power that is worth more than what they take from the grid over the billing period, they will receive a credit that they can carry over to help lower future electricity bills.
Please contact your local distribution company to find out more about net metering. They can provide details about the technical requirements, the approval process, and how to obtain a net metering agreement. Ontario is currently exploring the transition of the microFIT program to a successor net metering program.
Micro Fit Program
Under the FIT program, participants are paid a guaranteed price over a 20-years term (40 years for waterpower projects) for the electricity a produces and delivers to the province’s electricity grid.
FIT prices are designed to cover typical project costs and provide participants with a reasonable rate of return on their investment over the term of contract. The FIT program offers two participation streams: the microFIT program for projects up to 10 Kilowatts (KW) in size, and the FIT program for projects between 10 KW and 500 KW. Between 2013 and 2018, approximately 900 megawatts (MW) of new capacity will be made available for the FIT and microFIT programs.
Since microFIT is for projects that are 10 KW or less in size and projects are restricted to one per individual, small businesses are more likely to find value in pursuing renewable energy projects under the FIT program. The FIT program is open to a variety of participants, including small businesses, co-operatives, and commercial entities, and is designed for projects larger than 10KW and generally up to 500 KW, such as rooftop solar systems.
As a standard offer program, FIT provides a standardized price, contract term, and program rules that apply to all participants. FIT prices are the amount paid per kilowatt hour (KWh) of electricity delivered to the grid under a FIT contract. The IESO opens the FIT program to applications on a regular basis, with the submission window typically lasting one month. The IESO then reviews all applications for eligibility and the ability to connect to the grid, before contracts are offered.