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article imageGreen Ontario cancellation means solar investment is moving west

By Karen Graham     Jun 21, 2018 in Politics
Calgary - As anxious homeowners in Ontario were checking with their window installers Wednesday after incoming premier Doug Ford announced he was canceling the Green On fund, the solar industry began focusing on Alberta and the U.S.
Like Donald Trump in the U.S., Doug Ford, the Progressive Conservative incoming premier of Ontario, intends to keep his campaign promises.
Ford has quietly axed the Green Ontario Fund, an environmental program to help homeowners get smart thermostats, energy-efficient windows, and other retrofits to reduce their hydro bills and fight climate change.
Called Green On, the $377-million fund, financed through the proceeds of cap-and-trade auctions is winding down. According to the Toronto Star, the incoming government has set an Aug. 31 deadline for the installation of windows in order to qualify for the rebates, but some consumers will be left in the lurch.
The Green On initiative was started by the Liberal government last year as an initiative to encourage environmentally-friendly upgrades to businesses and homeowners. But Ford announced Green On was being axed on Tuesday as part of his elimination of the cap-and-trade policy
Solar investment heading west
For the first time in its 20-year history, the Solar Canada Conference and Exposition is being held in Calgary instead of Ontario. The two-day event started on Wednesday and goes through today.
Ontario is losing out on the conference, seeing as over 2,200 delegates are in attendance and over 100 exhibitors. However, this may be an early indication the solar industry is expecting to do less business in Ontario.
Toronto-based SolarWall was poised for "explosive growth" in Ontario. The company makes solar heating systems for buildings, and Todd Marron, the North American sales manager for the company said they will now concentrate on finding contracts in Alberta and the U.S. reports the Global News.
“All of that money in Ontario is going to Alberta right now. Or back to the safe haven of California,” he said in an interview at his company’s exhibition area booth.
Alberta's Infrastructure Minister, Sandra Jansen - in a speech at the conference said that Alberta is preparing new rules for an upcoming renewable energy procurement process that will encourage solar electricity proposals. Previous procurements rounds have only looked at wind energy projects.
“Show us what you can do. Make us an offer we can’t refuse,” she said to conference delegates.
One exhibitor, Randy Fillmore, national sales manager for Ontario-based Fusetek, wants to give incoming premier Doug Ford a chance at proving getting rid of cap-and-trade will make for a friendlier business environment. His company imports and sells electric fuses.
This is going to be an exciting story to follow, not only as it applies to the expansion of solar energy in Alberta, but also in how Ontario is going to fare under the leadership of Doug Ford.
More about Solar energy, Doug Ford, Green Ontario fund, capandtrade, gasoline companies