Solar energy investors expected to snub Ontario in wake of Ford's environmental decisions

Solar

Solar industry participants say they expect more investment to flow to Alberta and the United States in the wake of premier-elect Doug Ford's vow to axe Ontario's cap-and-trade system and the Green Ontario Fund consumer rebate program it fuels.

Exhibitors at the Solar Canada conference in Calgary – which is being held outside of Ontario for the first time in it 20-year history – say the decision means they expect to do less solar energy-related business in Ontario.

Todd Marron, North American sales manager for Toronto-based SolarWall, which makes solar heating systems for buildings, says his company was poised for "explosive growth" in Ontario but will now concentrate on finding contracts in the United States or Alberta.

Peter Aulich, CEO of Toronto-based KB Racking, says he expects the Ontario market for his company's solar array mounting systems will slow down considerably over the next few years because of the Ford government's moves.

Alberta Infrastructure Minister Sandra Jansen said during a speech at the conference that Alberta is preparing new rules for an upcoming renewable energy procurement process that will encourage solar electricity proposals after a previous round selected only wind power projects.

She said the formal procurement process will launch in August and wrap up before the end of the year.

"Show us what you can do. Make us an offer we can't refuse," she said to conference delegates.

Canadian Solar Industries Association chairman Thomas Timmins says the industry in Ontario is strong enough and the cost of solar power has declined to the point that it will be able to survive without government aid.