Ontario’s Feed in Tariff Program

The Green Energy Act regulations directed the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to buy electricity from renewable energy sources based on prices or tariffs guaranteed for 20 years in the OPA contract or Power Purchase Agreement. The tariff paid for solar electricity transmitted to electrical grid is based on the energy source (solar or wind), site location (roof-mount or ground-mount) and the inverter’s kilowatt (kW) or nameplate capacity.

There are two Ontario feed in tariff (FIT) programs. The Micro FIT program is designed for smaller power generators of 10 kW or less. The FIT program is available for power generators greater than 10 kW of nameplate capacity. The FIT market is suitable for most commercial, industrial and institutional rooftop owners. Optimal nameplate capacity for rooftop installations are between 150kW and 250kW. Nameplate capacities below 150kW and above 250kW are acceptable but marginal return on investment is maximized for 250kW systems. Ground-mount solar system installations are more flexible to optimize based on the size of the available land, proximity to electrical transmission stations and insolation profile of the site.

Modern commercial and industrial roof designs often do not accommodate the weight of large nameplate solar power systems. Roof loads need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. The roof would need to support the weight of the solar power system. Investment return on solar power systems is determined after deducting capital and operating costs from electricity revenues earned over the term of the tariff contract or Power Purchase Agreement.

Several criteria determine the suitability, marketability and lease rate of solar power generation properties:

Rooftop Solar Leases

  1. flat roofs with at least 20 years of remainder life
  2. minimum of 30,000 square feet (2,790 M²) of unobstructed roof space
  3. roof load capacity to permit minimum installation of a 150 kW solar power system, and
  4. minimum annual average solar insolation of 4kW/M²/Day

Ground-mount Solar Lease

  1. minimum 10 acres (4 Hectares) of cleared level land with CLI 4 and above agricultural class rating (not productive for agriculture or specialty crops use)
  2. located within 250 meters of a feeder transmission line
  3. located within 4 kilometers (km) of a Hydro One Transformer Station (TS) with available transmission capacity, and
  4. accessible by all-season roadway

Solar Power Lease

Leasing roof space and land for solar power generation has its advantages. The solar power system developer pays rent and/or a percentage of electricity revenue generated to the property owner for the use of  the roof or land.  It is important to ensure that your solar power system tenant installs an optimal solar power system on your roof or land to generate the highest possible kWh of electricity transmitted to the grid.

Listing your rooftop or land with an agent working on behalf of one solar power developer will likely result in a lease that favors the solar power developer.  The alternative solution is to engage the services of an independent solar power developer that specializes in representing property owners’ leases to several qualified solar developers.

Suncharge offers solar power lease advice and representation on behalf of property owners.