Long time since this was updated. As of February 2017, the Ontario govt has stated that it prefers net metering to the MicroFIT program for PV installations. Therefore, there will be no new MicroFIT installs after the end of the year (the exact date is unknown to me). In my opinion, the people who have pushed for this, including HydroOne, who never wanted solar in the first place, have killed off a good source of manufacturing jobs in this province and reduced the growth in a the only truly renewable and benign power source available.
Net metering, as of now, still requires an application (with its fee) to the IESO (formerly the OPA) and also requires a payment to the utility for connection. This could total $2000 depending on the utility just for the privilege of having your meter run backwards. While it is better than nothing, the cost seems a bit steep. To get around these fees, many people are installing “behind the meter” systems or ones that do not send any power to grid, only to the home or to a battery backup system such as the Tesla Powerwall or others by Panasonic, etc.
Still another way to save the power is to use an electric car as a battery for the house. I have still not done this but it is talked about a lot. Stay tuned for more.
While they still don’t believe in global warming, they gave $850 million to the nebulous and ineffective program called “Carbon Capture and Storage”, while the cheaper and much more effective EcoEnergy program, which helped pave the way for 1000s of jobs retrofitting houses and buildings, not to mention solar, was plowed under.
So, in Ontario, we are left with their part of the program: $1250 for a water heater. Not enough to get anyone’s pulse racing … but probably the best program ever made just wrapped up in Toronto. The Solar Neighbourhoods project gave the 0% interest loan to anyone who wanted it. Although it was only a pilot project, it had the effect of allowing those who could not normally afford the upfront cost of installing a solar system to do so, something no other program has done before, to my knowledge. And when it was combined with the $1250 from the feds and the renovation tax credit, a perfect storm was created. One that, I fear, is never to be repeated. Unfortunately, governments don’t tend to care much for the working poor, and solar in all its forms needs upfront money so they are left out of the loop. Solar Neighbourhoods was the exception.
So we are left with the FIT and MicroFIT program, may they never die. It is a progressive a program as we have in North America at this time. Enter the PVT (PVthermal). Piggyback the thermal onto the PV panels, get a bit more electrical production from it, save some racking and installation cost, and provide for a lot more of the annual energy bill by providing for hot water.
Addendum…..before the election in the spring of 2011, one of the compromises made with the NDP was to return the EcoEnergy rebates. The rebates are now available but so far, only till the 2011 fiscal year end at the end of March.