5775 Atlantic Drive, Unit 9 Mississauga, ON L4W 4P3
Q: What is a Standard Offer Contract (SOC)?
A: Ontario is the first Province in Canada to offer a feed-in-tariff program, based on a highly successful German policy model. This is a 20 year contract issued by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and administered by local utilities which allows solar electricity generators an opportunity to sell power back to the grid. The contract rate is valued at approximately 5 times more than the rate paid by consumers in Ontario at 42 cents per kWh. SOC¡¯s provide consumers an opportunity to be paid a premium for the clean power that is generated at peak hours. Solar producers also have a more secure financial investment term that assists them to project the returns of their system over time. The SOC program is currently under review.
For more information: http://www.powerauthority.on.ca/sop/
For customers of Hydro One refer to (also net metering): http://www.hydroone.com/en/electricity_industry/renewable_tech/default.asp#examples
Q: I have already installed a system. Are SOCs retroactive or can they be grandfathered?
A: Yes, however PV systems that are already in service must have been commissioned after November 7, 1998 but before December 31st, 2006. Additional electrical and utility fees would be required.
Q: Is net metering available to residents of Ontario now?
A: Yes. Net metering allows solar power generators to ¡°run their meter backwards¡± or be credited so that they are only charged for the power that they do not use on site. Any surplus is not paid out to the generator, and credits are annulled at year end if a surplus exists. For more information: http://www.mei.gov.on.ca.wsd6.korax.net/english/energy/renewable/?page=net-metering.
Q: What impact will smart meters have on net metering?
A: Some models of ¡°smart¡± meters in Ontario are compatible with net metering and SOC applications, while some models may create technical difficulties. Consult your local distribution company¡¯s metering expert about setting up metering for your home and any rates associated with purchasing a new meter.
Q: Do you need a separate meter or can meters be configured to run backwards or export power?
A: Some older meters do ¡°run backwards¡±, however new or interval meters are digital and can be configured for net metering readings. Where meters cannot be configured to import and export electricity to the grid, a new meter can be connected in series and a homeowners¡¯ existing customer account will be credited for power produced. For Standard Offer Program grid connected customer/generators, an export meter is required (at the expense of the homeowner) and a separate generator account is created (this process is currently under review). The Ontario Energy Board sets out metering regulations described in the following bulletin:
Q: Do you require a Connection Impact Assessment?
A: No. Projects less than 10 kW are exempt from Connection Impact Assessment which applies to all rooftop solar installations as the impact on the grid is considered minimal. A connection approval from the local distribution company (hydro) is required and will involve a site inspection.
Q: Is there a cap on the amount that you can sell to the grid?
A: The Ontario Power Authority, responsible for administering the Standard Offer Program, has recently announced that a 10 MW cap on the amount that generators can sell to the grid is suspended throughout a review process as of end of day May 12th, 2008 after which new contract rules will apply. As most residential solar installations do not exceed 10kW, residential solar projects are not affected by changes to contract rules.
Q: What happens if you sell your house under with a Standard Offer Contract?
A: In the case where a generator is moving, contracts can be assigned to new parties ¨C the new buyer. If you wanted to take the PV system with you to a new address, you would have to apply for a new SOC.