To The People of Alberta From Ontario MicroFIT Business Owner, Carl Strand (www.strandenergy.ca) Regarding the Adoption of Ontario’s MicroFIT System – PLEASE DON’T DO IT: Implement Community Solar Bonds, Outlined Below, For An Equitable, Environmental, Investment System With NO Government Money Required.
ATTENTION: Rachel Notley, Premier of Alberta and Alberta’s Taxpayers / Electrical Rate Payers
As President of an Ontario Renewable Energy company who has installed many Solar MicroFIT projects since Ontario’s Green Energy Act was initiated in 2009, I offer some advice on how to set up an equitable SOLAR PROGRAM that will benefit Albertan Taxpayers, Ratepayers and Investors. Please profit from our experience with the Ontario MicroFIT mistakes – and keep your Taxpayers and Electrical Ratepayers happy.
While Ontario’s FIT and MicroFIT programs are, generally, a great idea to promote renewable energy and help clean the environment, please consider the PROBLEMS our company experienced, first hand:
1. It is too complicated and has too much red tape. (More detail upon request)
2. The MicroFIT system in Ontario benefits only Homeowners with a combination of enough savings or credit and a proper South-facing rooftop, large enough to install a full 10kW system.
3. It is important to incentivise renewable energy with good rates, however, currently, only 1% of Ontario Homeowners have a MicroFIT system on their rooftops. The other 99% are not directly involved yet they are the Ratepayers lumbered with the extra expense.
4. Although material costs have more than halved since Ontario’s MicroFIT first started – which Albertans will benefit from – the cost of installing individual 10 kW systems on Homeowner’s rooftops is still expensive, forcing the Government to offer higher electrical rates to make the system a good investment for Homeowners.
The sun in Alberta belongs to all the Residents and they should all be allowed to participate in solar energy’s electrical production and benefit as investors – unlike most Ontarians.
Please consider the SOLUTIONS we suggest:
The Province of Alberta should set up a Solar Energy Fund that will allow all Residents to become involved. As with most developments, economies of scale bring cost down as volume increases. The same goes for Solar Installations and I propose the following;
1. Alberta would be wise to offer Solar Bonds to individuals, earning 7% interest per annum and come due in 20 years (which is the current length for a MicroFIT contract). I propose interest is paid yearly.
2. The Fund would, ideally, rent industrial factory rooftops in brownfield and other areas, for these solar installations, at 5 cents per watt of installed solar panels and assemble large solar installations on them or, install large ground-mount systems on Provincially-owned property.
3. The Solar Fund would be paid 19 cents per kilowatt-hour, or much less, for electricity produced by these solar installations. This amount should earn the Solar Fund about $250.00 per 1,000 watts of solar panels, per year, with an interest payout, at 7% per annum, of $115.00. Solar Bond interest rates could be applied in a tier fashion, and 7% interest could be offered to the first $100,000,000.00 in bonds sold after which, the interest rate could be reduced.
NOTE: Ontario’s Green Energy Act started at the rate of 80 cents per kilowatt hour but dropped down to 38.4 cents for 2015. The cost of solar is very low today and makes economic sense. The cost to Alberta Residents, will remain at 19 cents, or less, for the next 20 years. The Province will earn about $250.00 per installed kilowatt, per year, over 20 years or longer. After paying the interest on the Solar Bonds there will be money to repay the Bonds in 20 years, plus make a small profit and utilize the carbon credits the Province generates.
The Alberta Government should look at a way to reduce the income tax on the Bonds at the time the interest is paid out to Investors. If the taxes can be reduced, then a lower interest rate can be paid. I suggest the Solar Bonds can be bought by any Alberta Resident or Company, up to an amount of $20,000 per person or company. This program fits with the NDP philosophy, allowing the many to participate like the Tommy Douglas Health Care System. This plan is for the people of Alberta, along with other Provinces, and is not like the system in Ontario where profits are enjoyed by big banks, few homeowners and other wealthy corporations.
To leverage this idea, further, the Provincial Government could set up their own Solar Panel Manufacturing lines which would keep the cost of panels down and employ over 200 workers. Carbon Credits earned, will go to the Province to sell or offset their own carbon footprint.
The above plan could move very quickly and the coal-fired plants could be put out of commission starting in 5 years. By using this system around the world, we would give the energy of the sun to the People. I am painting the system with wide brushstrokes and it will need refinement by your Politicians and Civil Servants.
This Letter has been written by Carl Strand, President of STRAND Energy Corp.
CONTACT: Carl Strand
ADDRESS: 8985 Beachwood Road, Wasaga Beach, Ontario, Canada L9Z 2X9