With the new feed-in tariffs in Ontario for electricity from renewable sources, both the manufacturing and the development sides of the industry are set to become a mainstay in our provincial economy. Particularly with solar PVs, new manufacturers are beginning to set up shop in Ontario and progressive communities are supporting these emerging businesses. With industry comes a need for skill, which breeds a natural connection with local colleges and universities. We can see this happening in both the solar PV and the wind industries. Solar PV system installers are in high demand, providing growing support for colleges to adjust their curriculum to meet the needs of the industry.

But often overlooked in the implementation of renewable energy initiatives is the administrative and policy side of the transaction. Return on investment numbers and capital costs often overshadow the actual working gears of the renewable energy movement… the contracts, the applications, the approvals. Ontario has a 19 page standard form contracts for suppliers of electricity from renewable sources, which makes it easier to enter into the contract, but without some careful reading one might glaze over the fact that any offset credits generated by the project become property of the OPA. Projects of significant size likely need municipal approvals and may require a tricky appearance before the Ontario Municipal Board. Both commercial, institutional, and residential suppliers of renewable energy need to ensure that despite the emphasis on the quick and easy, standard form, feed-in tariff benefits, there is a complex side of the renewable energy movement that requires just as much attention … if not handled properly, it could be mean a quick end to a well-intentioned project.

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