microFIT Solar Generation Still the Best Investment

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Drop in solar electricity payouts not slowing business for solar installers-Sunfish Solar

On March 22’nd Ontario’s Ministry of Energy announced new rates for Ontario’s microFIT Program that pays homeowners, farmers and small business owners to add solar-generated electricity to the grid.

The change amounts to a thirty percent drop in the rates payable to people joining the microFIT Program. This involves investing in solar equipment and feeding electricity into the grid (under 10 kilowatts per installation). But for solar installers across the province, as well as the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA), it’s neither a shock nor bad news.

“It was expected,” says Kevin Best, partner at Owen Sound-based SunFish Solar. “It’s part of the Ontario FIT Program grand plan to create jobs and wean Ontario off fossil fuels. The price drop is a result of a review that had been planned from the beginning. What came out was that prices paid for solar-generated electricity have been adjusted to reflect the reduced costs of installing a system. Nothing has changed except that our industry is maturing. As an investment it’s still a big win for the property owner,” he adds.

Best’s thoughts echo those of the OSEA. The advisory group believes the reduction is a “positive and natural progression” of the provincial government’s Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program.

SunFish Solar is one microFIT solar system installer that has not seen business slow down as a result of decreasing payouts. Quite the opposite: in 2011 the company doubled revenues over the previous year, despite a downward pricing revision in 2010. In the last four months alone the company installed a total of ten of their signature ground-mounted Micro-MAX™ Tracker Systems. Seven systems went in on Rutledge Farms properties in Melancthon and Mulmur Townships, two on Manitoulin Island and one more in Melancthon.

“The fact is that you’re getting a high-performance stock market type of return with the security of a government bond,” explains Best. At a new rate of 54.9 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for rooftop-mounted solar panels and 44.5 cents for ground-mounted, Best pegs returns at 12 to 14% percent in most cases. He emphasizes that contracts are ironclad and that payment is guaranteed by the Government of Ontario. “In an increasingly unstable global economy,” says Best, “micro solar electricity generation in Ontario might just be the wisest ultra low-risk investment choice available today”.

According to Best, a big part of keeping returns healthy is local manufacturing of solar products. “Equipment prices have come way down. At the beginning, we had to import everything from California and elsewhere. But thanks to good long-term planning on the part of the Ontario government, solar equipment sold in Ontario must now be made here.” The Ontario Ministry of Energy claims that including manufacturing and installation, the FIT program has created 20,000 jobs thus far, with future goal of 50,000.

microFIT | Ontario Power Authority: http://microfit.powerauthority.on.ca/

About SunFish Solar
Based in Owen Sound, Ontario, SunFish Solar designs, manufactures and installs top-of-the-line FIT, microFIT and off-grid solar systems across south & central Ontario. Company partners have developed unique systems and components that outperform competing systems on solar generation capability, durability and price. Systems include the company’s signature ground-mounted Micro-Max™ Tracker System and roof-mounted Micro-Max™ Fixed System. For more information, visit http://www.sunfishsolar.ca.

For specific media inquiries, please contact: Carl Michener, Outwrite Communications 416 476 7484.

To reach SunFish Solar, please contact Kevin Best, Partner: kevin(at)sunfishsolar(dot)ca 519 372 6431.

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Kevin Best, Partner

Carl Michener
Outwrite Communications
416-476-7484
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