Since 2009, the province of Ontario, Canada, has had an
program that pays homeowners, schools, companies, and other
organizations for solar power that they generate. This power is
fed to the electrical grid. The program is divided into two:
microFIT and FIT.
The microFIT is for homeowners, companies,
schools, cooperatives and other organizations who own the system
and produce 10kW or less.
The FIT is also for owners of the systems
but produce more than 10kW.
FIT stands for Feed-in Tariff. Each program has different rules.
The contract period is 20 years.
Different amounts are paid depending on the system size and type.
Both are up-to-date below.
The FIT (>10kW) and microFIT (10kW or smaller) amounts are as
January 1, 2017.
||6kW or smaller
||greater than 6kW and up to 10kW
||10kW or smaller
||10 to 100kW
||greater than 100kW and up to 500kW
||greater than 10kW and up to to 500kW
In Ontario, Canada the average consumer can pay around $0.20 per kWh for
electricity (total bill amount/kWh used) so this is a substantial
A typical microFIT system diagram
A typical microFIT system looks like this.
The video below is a good overview of a microFIT system and the program
by a person who owns a system.
The costs for a microFIT Verison 2.0 system
The high cost of solar panels still plays a big part in the decision
as to whether or not to go with this approach. The following is a
quick back of the envelope calculation to illustrate this for
a 5kW roof mounted system. As the table shows, a 5kW PV system costs
around $22,000 (rounded up to the nearest $1000).
||20 solar panels x 250W per panel at $300 each
||5kw grid-tie inverter
||wiring on and from the solar array
||various fees (inspection fee, connection cost, building permit, meter)
||certified electrican for final connection
||taxes (HST) but you can get this back so it's not included in the total below
Assuming an average of 3.1 hours of sunlight per day, it would
generate 3.1 x 5kW per day, which is 15.5kW. 15.5kW per day x 365
days in a year gives 5,660kW per year of generated power. At
$0.311 per kW x 5,660kW, that's $1,760 per year of income. Given the
initial cost of $21,150 divided by $1,760 per year, it would
take just over 12 years to cover the initial costs and start making a
profit for the remaining 8 years of the 20 year contract.
The panels typically have a 25 year warranty and the inverter
a 10 year warranty. The only part likely to be replaced during the
contract is the inverter since there are some electronic components
in it that can wear out.
Annual costs will vary. For example, there may be a small account
charge with the local distribution company (power company). Also,
the system will add to the value of the property, possibly increasing
the property taxes. There is also the consideration of getting
insurance. The income from this program is taxable income.
However, if grants or subsidies are available then they can reduce
the initial cost, giving an earlier payback. Another approach is
to have a leasing company purchase the solar panels and other
hardware and then lease it to you, causing you to begin making
money much sooner, though since you wouldn't own the hardware,
you will always have the cost of paying the leasing company.
Domestic content requirements for microFIT
As of July 25, 2014 there are no more domestic content requirements.
Solar panels, inverters, and all other materials as well as labor
can be sourced from outside Ontario if desired.
The purpose of the domestic content requirements was to help
grow the green industry in Ontario. Inverter companies
like SMA Solar Technology AG, and solar panel manufacturers such
as Canadian Solar and Opsun Panels now have plants in Ontario as a
result of this now defunct requirement. In an even older version of this
program the domestic content requirement was 60% which meant pretty much
everything had to be from Ontario.
August 31, 2016 - New prices effective January 1, 2017 have been
January 1, 2015 - All pending price changes have been made regarding
the microFIT system (10kW or smaller). The amounts paid have decreased by
January 1, 2015 - The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) has been merged
with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to form a
new organization called the Independent Electricity System Operator
(IESO). Both organizations will continue to do the same things
they did before. As a result of the needed docmentation changes
to reflect this new name, the new version of the microFIT program
is version 3.2.
August 29, 2014 - The Ministry of Energy directed the OPA (Ontario
Power Authority) to review the amounts paid for the FIT and microFIT
programs (the price schedule.) A new price schedule was arrived at and
was put into effect for the FIT program as of September 30, 2014.
It will not take effect for the microFIT program until January 1, 2015.
July 25, 2014 - The domestic content requirements were removed from
the FIT and microFIT programs. Solar panels, inverters, and all other
materials as well as labor can be sourced from outside Ontario if desired.
August 26, 2013 - The FIT/microFIT program released new rules as
FIT/microFIT Version 3.0. Major changes were to decrease the amounts paid
and a significant reduction in the domestic content required.
July 16, 2012 - The microFIT program is now accepting
new applications for systems, and has new finilazed rules.
It's now designated as microFIT Version 2.0.
The above amounts paid table, costs estimate and domestic content details
have been adjusted.
March 22, 2012 - The results of the
Two-Year FIT Review have been announced. The main highlights are:
- The payment amounts have been significantly lowered, reflecting
the lowering prices for solar panels over the years. The new
amounts are in the table at the top of this page. As an example, a
roof mounted microFIT (<=10kW) used to pay $0.802 per kWh but will
now pay $0.549 per kWh. But as you can see from the above back of
the envelope calculation, you can still get a payback of under 10
years for the 20 year contract.
- It's been recommended not to go ahead with the CFIT (Commercial FIT)
program. This program has long been under consideration for
allowing companies to "rent" people's rooftops or property for
installing systems on.
- Much has been recommended for encouraging greater community and
July 7, 2011 - The Ontario provincial government released a
Progress Report that included the progress regarding clean energy
and infrastructure. Highlights on the electricity side are:
- More than 2,000 megawatts of new electricity supply from
sustainable, renewable sources have been brought online -
enough to power nearly 900,000 homes,
- 13,000 clean energy jobs have been created.
- Reduced coal usage for 2011 by 90% from 2003 and are on
track to eliminate all coal altogether by 2014.
- Went from 10 wind turbines in 2003 to 900 in 2011 and
now have the capacity to power more than 350,000 homes.
- Have more than 200 megawatts for solar capacity online,
enough to power more than 30,000 homes.
- Signed or offered contracts for more than 21,000 small, medium
and large clean energy projects and about $13 million in private
sector investment, including investment in manufacturing.
The following is a collection of announcements of plants either planned
or in production as a direct result of the introduction of the
Feed-in Tariff program.
June 2, 2011
Hanwha SolarOne has entered into a supply agreement with Photowatt
Ontario, Inc.,(PWO) a wholly owned subsidiary of ATS Automation Tooling
Systems, where Photowatt will produce Hanwha SolarOne PV modules to serve
the Ontario marketplace.
April 18, 2011
Emerson is partnering with Sanmina-SCI to build Emerson solar power
inverters at Sanmina-SCI's Ottawa, Ontario, manufacturing facility.
April 14, 2011
United Solar... announced that it will establish a manufacturing
facility in Ontario, Canada, that will be operational by August 2011.
The 7,000 square meter facility, located at 6135 Morton Industrial
Parkway in LaSalle, Ontario, is under lease to the company for 10
years, and will result in the hiring of up to 80 people.
February 1, 2011
Celestica Inc, a contract electronics maker, is expanding
solar-equipment manufacturing to serve renewable energy
developers seeking lucrative contracts being offered by the Canadian
province of Ontario.
December 6, 2010
SunEdison announced today that its affiliate, MEMC Singapore, is
partnering with Flextronics to produce solar photovoltaic panels at
Flextronics' facility in Newmarket, Ontario. Located in York Region,
production of the solar panels is expected to result in more than 100 new
jobs for the province.
November 25, 2010
ATS Photowatt officially opened its Photowatt Ontario Green
Wing production facility.
November 11, 2010
JNE Consulting and Chinese-based Daqo Group Co. Ltd. are forming a
joint venture that will create up to 300 jobs at a solar panel assembly
plant in Hamilton.
October 20, 2010
Italian solar photovoltaic manufacturer, Silfab SpA, announced that
it is creating an incorporated Silfab Canada in Mississauga, Ontario.
October 20, 2010
Suntech Power and Calisolar Inc., a privately held, vertically
integrated manufacturer of solar silicon, wafers and cells have signed
a Letter of Intent to construct a solar silicon manufacturing facility
in Ontario Canada.
October 4, 2010
Mecasolar has opened a new
manufacturing facility in the Canadian city of Wallaceburg (Ontario),
adding to its existing factories in California, Greece and Spain.
August 12, 2010
Canadian Solar will establish a new solar module manufacturing
facility in Ontario. The facility, located at 545 Speedvale Avenue,
West in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, is expected to be ready to commence
production early next year, and will be one of the largest solar
panel module manufacturing plants in North America.
Samco Solar, formerly just an aut parts manufacturer, opened
a plant in Scarborough, Ontario, to produce solar mounting systems
resulting in 15 to 18 fulltime positions.
May 10, 2010
With an announcement May 7, the community [Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario]
is entering into a new phase in the green sector.
is constructing a solar panel
manufacturing facility on Second Line, which will employ up to 36
March 9, 2010
SMA Solar Technology AG is to strengthen its presence in North
America with the foundation of a subsidiary in Canada.
March 1, 2010
Schletter GmbH announced today that it will begin office operations
of its Canadian subsidiary company, Schletter Canada, Inc., in
April. By May, Schletter Canada's manufacturing and distribution
facility will be fully operational for order fulfillment,
manufacturing, and distribution.
December 4, 2009
Opsun Panels Inc., a subsidiary of Opsun Technologies Inc., has
decided to set up a 50 MW solar panel production line in Ontario to
meet the Feed In Tariff's Domestic Content requirement.