Scarborough’s solar energy industry is anticipating the results of a review which could impact its growth and popularity.
The FIT program allows homeowners, businesses and private developers to generate set amounts of energy through wind and solar, and sell it back to the province at a fixed rate over a 20-year contract.
The program is subject to review every two years to assess price adjustments and regulations.
Robert Clack, a sales manager for Eco Alternative Energy, expects the government to pay a lower rate for renewable energy after the review to reflect the decreasing cost of manufacturing the technology. The company installs solar panels on residential homes in the GTA.
“Regardless of what they come out with, we expect someone’s return on investment to be about 10 per cent,” he said. “It’s still going to be a good program and a financially beneficial program for homeowners.”
The results of the review are expected to be released sometime this quarter.
“The idea of this program isn’t to make people rich. The idea of this program is to provide a reasonable and fair return and to build renewable energy.”
– Brad Duguid
Liberal MPP for Scarborough Centre, Brad Duguid, was instrumental in implementing the Green Energy Act as Ontario’s former energy minister. Duguid said that any pioneering initiative will naturally have shortcomings and improvements to the program have happened along the way.
“The idea of this program isn’t to make people rich. The idea of this program is to provide a reasonable and fair return and to build renewable energy,” Duguid said.
Clack has a seven kilowatt solar panel system installed on his home’s roof in Scarborough since 2010 and has a 20-year contract with the government.
“I’m earning about $500 every month selling my electricity back to the grid…So my system will be paid off in less than 10 years,” Clack said.
Despite criticism, the FIT program is bogged down with bureaucracy from people like George Smitherman, who helped introduce the Green Energy Act, Clack says the act has been important for Scarborough’s future in the green energy sector.
“Trust me when I say this, you are going to see quite a transformation of solar. Like every now and then you go down a street and see solar on a house here and there, that’s just going to continue to grow. It’s a really good thing,” Clack said.
Duguid said the switch to renewable energy is already visible just by taking a drive around Scarborough where an increasing number of homes and businesses are adopting solar technology.
“We need to be moving in this direction if we want to build a healthy and environmentally sound future for not only Ontario, but the world,” Duguid said.