Canada’s solar power generation led by Ontario

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) technology is growing at a fast rate in Canada, as the government employs various initiatives to support the rapid deployment of solar PV energy sources, states a new report by power experts GlobalData.

The new report* portrays Ontario as a leading beacon in the renewable energy industry, as the Canadian state sees tariffs, tax rebates and joint ventures encourage the rise of solar PV generation and the solar PV backsheet market.

Canada’s ecoEnergy Retrofit program and tax credits provide support across the country, and the solar power industry in the Canadian states of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Nova Scotia also benefit from net metering. However, provincial efforts, such as investment incentives offered by the Ontario government, show local power authorities wielding significant influence.

The Ontario Green Power Tariff system program provides rules, tariffs and contracts for solar power producers, and also stipulates domestic content requirements for solar power generation, strengthening the local solar equipment manufacturing base. The Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program (RESOP) and sales tax rebate initiative also support the development of the solar power market in Ontario.

Canada is an import-oriented market for solar backsheets, as there are no backsheet manufacturers currently located in Canada, with the local PV industry still in its early stages. As a result of the introduction of the Ontario Green Energy Act in 2009, solar PV backsheet installations increased from 4 Megawatts (MW) in 2006 to 240 MW in 2011, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 131%. However, the local content requirement clause has boosted the market for domestic modules. Annual solar PV installations over the forecast period are expected to record consistent growth, with backsheet capacity expected to increase from 240 MW in 2011 to 937 MW by 2020.

Individual companies are also getting involved. Recently, producer and supplier of solar modules Canadian Solar, and Canada’s leading developer of solar parks, SkyPower, joined forces to develop alternative energy in Ontario. The 50:50 international joint venture saw Canadian Solar agree to acquire a majority stake in 16 solar projects in Ontario from SkyPower, with an estimated total installed capacity of between 190 to 200 MW.