Ontario's Feed-in Tariff program backgrounder

Wed, 12/16/2009
Ontario’s Feed-In Tariff Program Backgrounder

  • Ontario’s Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program for renewable energy generation is a cornerstone of the province’s Green Energy Act. The provincial government launched the program in September 2009, and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) started accepting applications October 1, 2009. It is North America’s first comprehensive feed-in tariff program for renewable energy.
  • The program includes a stream called microFIT which is designed to encourage homeowners, businesses and others to generate renewable energy with projects of 10 kilowatts (kW) or less. MicroFIT is designed to make it simpler and faster to get small-scale renewable projects installed and producing power.
  • Prices paid for renewable energy generation under FIT and microFIT vary by energy source and take into account the capital investment required to get a project up and running:
Solar PV - 80.2¢/kWh Windpower - 13.5¢/kWh Waterpower - 13.1¢/kW
Biomass - 13.8¢/kWh Biogas - 16.0¢/kWh Landfill gas - 11.1¢/kWh
  • Under the program, participants are paid a fixed-price for the electricity they generate. FIT and microFIT contracts are for 20 years, with the exception of waterpower, which has a 40-year FIT contract.
  • Domestic content requirements for both FIT and microFIT projects are intended to help support the creation of 50,000 new green jobs in Ontario. MicroFIT projects will help create new local businesses and green jobs as demand rises for technologies such as solar panels, wind turbines, biomass and electricity storage systems, and for Ontarians who can design, build, install, operate and maintain these technologies.
  • The first round of contracts awarded under the FIT program will produce 2500 megawatts (MW) of electricity and will generate in excess of $5 billion in investments in manufacturing, design, construction and installation and create thousands of new green jobs.
  • Currently, approximately 1,275 MW of renewable electricity are in operation in Ontario, excluding large-scale hydro.  Since 2003, Ontario has gone from being a lagging jurisdiction on renewable energy to being among one of the North American leaders.
  • Ontario is Canada’s leader in wind power and solar photovoltaic capacity. The province is home to both Canada’s largest wind and solar farms. Ontario is already among the top 10 solar jurisdictions in Canada and the United States, ranked even higher than sunny places like Florida and Texas.

microFIT Applications

  • As of December 1, 2009, the Ontario Power Authority received 1,193 microFIT applications. Ontario Power Authority is continuing to review and verify these applications.
  • Breakdown of microFIT applications received as of December 1, 2009 :

Energy Source Number of Applications Capacity (Kw)
Renewable biomass 4 40
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) 1166 8382
Water 1
Wind 22 187
Total 1193 8611
  • The week of December 14, 2009, the Ontario Power Authority started sending conditional offers to the first 700 microFIT applicants subject to applicants obtaining approval to connect to the electricity grid from their local distribution company (LDC).
  • Once the connection offer is obtained from the LDC and a contract is signed, the length of time it will take for microFIT applicants to start generating electricity will vary depending on the readiness of individual projects.
  • People whose microFIT applications were submitted by December 1, 2009 and who have not yet received a conditional offer should hear from the Ontario Power Authority by Jan. 15, 2010.
  • MicroFIT is an ongoing program with applications being accepted on a continual basis. Once the current applications have been processed, the Ontario Power Authority anticipates a 30-day turnaround for microFIT applications.
  • Detailed information about the microFIT application process and program rules is available here.

FIT Applications

  • For these FIT projects, the Ontario Power Authority has estimated that there is approximately 2,500 megawatts of available transmission connection capacity. As of December 1, 2009 the Ontario Power Authority received 1,022 FIT applications with about 8,000 MW of potential electricity generation. This translates into about three megawatts of potential generation for every megawatt of connection capacity available. The Ontario Power Authority is continuing to review and verify these applications and will give priority to “shovel-ready” projects.
  • Unlike microFIT applications, which must simply meet certain requirements to qualify for a contact, the first round of FIT applications are prioritized based on specific criteria to determine the most viable and “shovel-ready” projects that can be in operation soonest. FIT applications require a much more extensive review by the Ontario Power Authority, local distribution companies, transmitters and the Independent Electricity System Operator. Given the tremendous number of applications, the Ontario Power Authority has redeployed resources to complete the review.
  • In February, the Ontario Power Authority will start offering FIT contracts beginning with Capacity Allocation Exempt projects (500 kW or less), and continuing in March with all of the rest of the FIT projects.
  • The 1,000 FIT applications have an estimated 8,000 megawatts (MW) of potential electricity generation:

1 – Biogas, Biogas (On Farm), Biomass, Landfill Gas, Water

  • Economically viable projects that do not receive contracts will be considered once more transmission connection capacity is available or approved. The Ontario Power Authority will determine viability through an Economic Connection Test. The Ontario Power Authority will carry out this test every six months on a rotating basis throughout the province. The schedule for the test will be developed as part of the review process.

Transmission Expansion

  • 1,500 MW of additional transmission capacity will be delivered through the Bruce to Milton transmission project that Hydro One currently has underway.
  • Ontario is undertaking an ambitious program of expansion and renewal of the province's transmission facilities. Twenty transmission projects as well as investments into the distribution network were announced last September to ensure there is enough capability for renewable generation resulting from the FIT and the Green Energy Act.  The projects represent an investment of about $2.3 billion over the next three years, and are expected to result in about 20,000 jobs. They include core lines, which form the backbone of the transmission system, and enabler lines. Hydro One Networks is leading these transmission expansion initiatives.
  • Planning for six core transmission network upgrades are moving forward, including North-South lines from Sudbury to Barrie and Barrie to the Greater Toronto Area and an East-West line from Nipigon to Wawa. In addition to bringing more renewable power online, these significant upgrades will strengthen the reliability of Ontario's transmission system and increase energy transfer across the province.

Detailed information about the FIT application process and program rules is available here.

Media Contact − Tim Butters, Ontario Power Authority, 416-969-6307 /
Toll Free: 1-800-797-9604