Friday, January 25, 2008

Solar Power in Ontario

Summary (From the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper)

Ontario Canada is on the verge of becoming a center for solar power. In 2007 the Ontario Power Authority signed 145 contracts for future contruction of 250 MW of solar power. If all the projected projects come to fruition, Ontario will be home to some of the biggest solar farms on the planet. This sudden boom in plans and construction isn't unwarranted or accidental. Ontario pays 42-cent a kilowatt hour for solar generated electricity, roughly seven times the price for conventional power. Each megawatt can power about 350 homes. Many of the contracts were signed by individuals and community groups who are planning on roof top installations.


Based on studies associated with this project and others, I believe Ontario's obsession with solar power will short lived. In order for solar farms to make a profit they would need to get close to 50-cent per kilowatt, while roof-top systems would require around 60-cents for profit. A study done by the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association actually recommended 80 cents per kilowatt in order to jump start the industry. 80-cents compared to 42-cents just doesn't sound like a good idea if I was in the business of building solar farms. Unless Ontario re-evaluates the prices they plan to pay for "greener" energy the movement will soon fade and day.

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