Ontario’s Feed in Tariff (FIT) Program

The Green Energy Act regulations directed the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to buy electricity from renewable energy sources. The electricity purchase price or tariff is guaranteed for 20 years in the OPA contract or Power Purchase Agreement. The tariff paid for solar electricity transmitted to the electrical grid is based on the energy source (solar or wind), system location (solar roof-mount or ground-mount) and the inverter’s kilowatt (kW) or nameplate capacity. An inverter is an electrical power conversion and management device that is an integral component of a solar power generation system.

One kW is equal to 1000 watts or a ‘kilowatt’. A 10kW system is equal to 10000 watts or ’10 kilowatts’. One MW is equal to 1000000 watts (one million watts) or a ‘megawatt’. A 10MW system is equal to 10000000 watts (ten million watts) or ’10 megawatts’. The computation of solar power sold to the grid is measured by an electricity meter that is installed between the solar power system and the Hydro One or Local Distribution Company (LDC) electricity grid connection point. The electricity transmitted is measured in 1000 watthours (kWh) or, for larger power systems, 1000000 watthours (MWh). The tariff is stated in purchase price per kWh of electricity transmitted to the grid.

There are two Ontario feed in tariff (FIT) programs. The Micro FIT program is designed for smaller power generators of 10 kW or less nameplate capacity used for residential, small commercial and co-operative communities, including religious buildings, schools and healthcare clinics. The FIT program is available for power generators between 10 kW and 10MW of nameplate capacity. The FIT market is suitable for large commercial, warehouse, industrial and larger co-operative enterprises for solar power rooftop and ground-mount installations.

Solar Power Tracker - Suncharge

Source: Solar Power World

Ground-mount solar system installations are more flexible to optimize based on the size of qualified available land, proximity to electrical transmission stations and solar insolation or duration and density of peak sunshine hours. An estimate for ground-mount solar power generation nameplate capacity is to divide the number of qualified acres by 10 and the result would be the number in megawatts (MW) of nameplate solar capacity that may possibly be installed on the land, all else being equal.

The Green Energy Act regulations define the contract terms for grid-tied solar power generation. Regulations tend to favour rooftop installations with cooperative or community involvement. Ground-mount solar power projects are prohibited on quality agricultural soils and special produce regions. Ground-mount solar power proposals require stringent environmental assessments and close (within ~ 100 meters) proximity to a common point of connection to grid power lines with sufficient conduction capacity that feed into transformer or distribution stations with sufficient additional power generating capacity.