Thursday, September 30, 2010

Article: Driving Green Power via Ontario's Communities

I recently reviewed the benefits of local community buy-in to ensure the success of Ontario's green energy policies in an article for an upcoming International Bar Association newsletter.  The article, Ontario's Green Energy Act: the Answer to (Public Acceptance) is Blowing in the Wind, will be published in the October 2010 edition of the IBA's Environment, Health and Safety Law Committee newsletter (Vol 7, No 1). 

This article also works as a primer for an international audience interested in learning the basics about the province's Green Energy and Green Economy Act (GEGEA).  It highlights some key components of the GEGEA; identifies issues that have recently been raised as concerns by certain groups and canvasses the Government of Ontario's response to some of these challenges.  As is my wont, it also mixes metaphors to ensure that solar and wind energy feel as though I'm treating them as equal brothers in the province's drive to a lower carbon future.  (My apology if any bio-energy fanatics were snubbed in the authorship of this piece.)

The article is reprinted below:

IBA Environment Health and Safety Law Committee Newsletter Oct 2010

International Bar Association
The IBA was established in 1947 and works to influence the development of international law reform and shapes the future of the legal profession throughout the world.  It currently has three main objectives:

  • To promote an exchange of information between legal associations worldwide;
  • To support the independence of the judiciary and the right of lawyers to practise their profession without interference; and
  • To promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law via its Human Rights Institute.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Got Java? My Afternoon Coffee Industry Education

On Sunday, September 26, 2010 I took my complimentary pass (courtesy of local indie cafe and roaster Te Aro Roasted) to the Canadian Coffee & Tea Show as the latter made its return to Toronto. I arrived looking for my daily cuppa and left with a buzz that could have powered more of the city than its landmark urban windmill.

I'm a bit of a Johnny-come-lately to the coffee world having only embarked on my java journey three years ago, but I feel that my four years in Japan at least provided me with a crash course in tea appreciation. Realistically, my goal was more along the lines of identifying legal issues unique to the coffee and tea industry than it was to find the next post-Kopi Luwak trend.

Some of the fun highlights from the trade show included:
  • Ice-Drip Coffee:  Te Aro's booth hosted the first ice-drip coffee maker I have ever seen (or tasted). The process looks like something out of a science class where every couple of seconds, a drop of ice water falls into a coffee filter, soaks the grounds and then winds its way into a glass pot. Viola! Six to eight hours later you have a deliciously smooth cup of coffee.
  • Cups of Excellence:  I learned there is a global competition that selects the best coffee produced in a country for a particular year and sells these coffees to the highest bidder during an Internet auction. Apparently 80-85% of all coffees so designated end up in Asia while only a very few, if any, arrive in the Canadian market and are made available to the general public.
  • Innovation:  Besides the ice-drip process, I discovered both the coffee and tea industry continue to innovate with new processes, new flavours, localized growing methods and gorgeous presentation. One personal favourite was the delicate rosewater tea on offer by a Chinese tea supplier. 
  • Marketing:  Hands down, the Social Coffee & Tea Company wins the award for cheekiest marketing based on the names of their coffee blends. For instance, depending on how aggressive you feel, you may have a hard time choosing between Imperialiste Noir and Western Liberation.
Now all of these lessons were well and good but did I have any take-aways from a legal perspective?  While I'm hesitant to suggest there were broad trends, a few anecdotes stuck out:
  • Carbon Credits:  A number of roasters have established close relationships with coffee growers in developing countries and are looking for ways to increase the growers' ability to benefit from sustainable practices. One roaster even directed me to a Smithsonian report demonstrating that shade-grown coffee farms outshine sun-grown coffee farms on sustainability measurements. However, no one has yet heard of a way for these growers to benefit from any additional carbon sequestration that may occur on a shade-grown farm.
  • "Fair Trade":  More than one roaster and supplier indicated that not all "fair trade" labeled products are easily traced and in those cases they may choose not to offer a fair trade blend (e.g. chamomile) or, more likely, they attempt to source a coffee or tea that is "beyond fair trade." One roaster in particular mentioned that he prefers to purchase a Cup of Excellence crop and then work in a long-term relationship with that grower to develop their sustainability methods.
  • Labeling Consistency:  A Japanese importer of matcha tea bemoaned the patchwork of national labeling standards for "organic" products. This made it a challenge to encourage consistent standards among growers who may have to select a particular market for their "organic" tea rather than be able to offer their matcha as "organic" on a global basis. This lack of consistency was echoed by some of the fair traders.
  • Leases:  One of the more interesting anecdotes was provided by a coffee/tea distributor who suggested that cafes owners may not always find themselves in advantageous lease situations.  Apparently, a lack of standards is endemic in the industry and provisions that might be useful in a cafe context are not always found in cafe leases. 
I am intrigued by some of the feedback I received at the Show and would love to hear from more experienced industry hands to see if anything I heard is something you've experienced or heard about.  Perhaps it's something we can discuss over a cup of Social's Western Decadence!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Domestic Content: Storm Clouds on the Horizon?

Update: Check out this blog post at Clean Break for an economic/policy perspective on the Domestic Content issue.
 
Despite considerable optimism around Ontario's nascent Green Energy and Green Economy Act ("GEGEA"), the province continues to experience growing pains with this transformational piece of legislation. As has been widely reported, the most recent storm clouds gathering on the horizon arrived with a Japanese complaint to the World Trade Organization ("WTO") related to the GEGEA's domestic content requirements.

The Feed-in-Tariff ("FIT") Program, implemented under the GEGEA, provides 20-year guaranteed contracts at premium rates to generators of qualified renewable energy installations. For instance, rooftop solar projects between 10 kW and 250 kW receive 71.2 cents per kWh for energy delivered to the provincial grid. However, project proponents for solar and wind must meet prescribed domestic content levels in their projects in order to qualify for a FIT contract. In the case of solar, subject to an exception for certain microFIT projects, proponents will have to achieve a level of 60% domestic content starting in 2011 in order to maintain their eligibility.

The domestic content obligation is the lynchpin in the government's attempt to create 50,000 green energy jobs in three years. It is essentially the guarantee for Ontario's return on investment from the subsidies it is providing to encourage companies to set up their facilities in the province.

The Japanese complaint alleges that the FIT Program's domestic content requirements are a violation of Canada's WTO obligations. Lawyer Tim Armstrong has summarized the key questions as to whether the requirements are consistent with the WTO's Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMS) and Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures:

"The former explicitly prohibits developed economies from imposing local content requirements on goods manufactured for export. Some argue that the Ontario legislation is justified since it involves 'government procurement.' But Japan’s complaint extends beyond government procurement and involves the production by private companies of green energy equipment and supplies for export.
Alternatively, are the subsidies justifiable since they originate in subnational (provincial) rather than national (federal) legislation? If not, are there alternative defences?"

So what happens now?  How will these questions be answered and what does it mean for the FIT Program?

The WTO dispute resolution process was created in order to have members use a multilateral system to settle disputes instead of taking action unilaterally. This means following an agreed-upon procedure and the observation of the WTO panel's decision. Ideally, the process is designed to arrive at a prompt settlement taking no longer than 12-15 months including the potential for an appeal.  In practice, only about 136 of 369 cases had reached the full panel process by January 2008, while others were settled "out of court" or continued to follow the consultation process from as far back as 1995.

Japan and Canada are now in the first stage of consultations between the governments, which lasts for 60 days.  The next stages of the process are as follows:

45 days
Panel set up and panelists appointed
6 months
Final panel report to parties
3 weeks
Final panel report to WTO members
60 days
Dispute Settlement Body adopts report (if no appeal)
Total = 1 year
(without appeal)
60-90 days
Appeals report
30 days
Dispute Settlement Body adopts appeals report
Total = 1y 3m
(with appeal)
Source:  World Trade Organization

Reports have stated that the federal government believes the FIT Program to be WTO compliant.  While this may simply be diplomatic posturing, the Ontario government has made this an important part of its program and will likely do everything it can to defend it. I am no International Trade lawyer but this would seem to suggest a strong likelihood of pursuing the full WTO process rather than finding a negotiated solution unless Japan is willing to compromise for something less than a full repeal of the domestic content requirement.

Thus, a certain level of uncertainty has been created for producers (e.g. solar module manufacturers) who may otherwise have been willing to set up operations in the province to ensure their products meet the domestic content obligation. Now, they may prefer to hold off an a multi-million dollar investment to see if they will eventually be able to enter a domestic content-free market. Naturally, this would be weighed against the risk of ceding one of the hottest renewable energy markets in the world to those producers who were willing to be first-movers and have already set up shop and may become established as market leaders.

It will be interesting to see which producers decide to grab their umbrella and enter this turbulent market and which ones lock the door and come out once the sun is shining again.

Sunny Days(?),
~Rob

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Solar Access Issue: Will You Get Burned?

Update:  This blog entry was recently featured on Toronto Star reporter Tyler Hamilton's blog Clean Break:  www.cleanbreak.caTyler writes a weekly column of the same name that discusses trends, happenings and innovators in the clean technology and green energy market.

Having drawn widespread comparisons to a gold rush, Ontario’s welcoming market for solar photovoltaic (PV) investments under its year-old Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program has prompted a race among solar developers to secure commercial rooftops across the province. The FIT program is widely regarded as providing the most lucrative incentive to generate electricity in the world. The Government of Ontario has committed to paying up to 80.2 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for electricity generated by solar rooftop systems under guaranteed 20-year power purchase agreements. This compares quite favorably to the price of electricity sold to the end-user, which can dip as low as 5.3 cents per kWh during off-peak hours.

Simultaneously, cities across Ontario are incorporating infill development as a significant part of their smart urban growth programs. It’s almost certain these two green trends will eventually experience an increased degree of friction as they continue to rollout across the province’s urban landscapes. In fact, the issue has already attracted media attention in non-PV contexts:

  • in Toronto, a local restaurateur found his home severely shaded by a neighbouring infill project that was eventually resolved with the developer’s offer to install a solar-thermal unit that would replace 50-60% of the annual energy used to heat hot water in the home1; and
  • an Ottawa homeowner who employed a solar “architect” to incorporate passive solar heating for the home is now under threat from a nearby five-storey condo development2.

Although the former situation resulted in a happy ending, both stories are cautionary tales for aspiring solar electricity generators, adopters of solar water heaters, and anyone else considering more passive solar heating options. As homeowners, businesses and communities are increasingly drawn to these technologies, protecting one’s sunlight will transform from a mere aesthetic concern to an important economic one.

Solar access has been defined as “the ability to have uninterrupted direct rays of sunlight fall onto one’s property.” A “right to light” would be a legally enforceable right to access a natural and unobstructed flow of solar light. There is currently no “right to light” for Canadian property owners.

Typical legal advice to more commercially oriented rooftop solar generators includes ensuring that their solar lease incorporates covenants from the landlord that it will not take or permit any action which would block or otherwise interfere with light reaching the solar PV array. In addition, a solar lease will also need to address the tenant’s right to terminate if at some point something happens which impairs the availability of sunlight or otherwise prevents the tenant from operating its facility. However, these provisions do not address the root cause of the problem – a lack of an effective and predictable solar access policy framework in Ontario.

Canadian courts have not been eager to recognize a right to light. The Ontario Court of Appeal tackled the issue in the 1978 case Earl Putnam Organization Ltd. v MacDonald. A property owner sued its neighbour for constructing an opaque fence directly in front of a window. The plaintiff argued that the fence interrupted the building’s right to light.

In tossing out the Putnam’s case, the Court of Appeal affirmed that “at common law, there is no natural right to lateral light.” Thus, the court confirmed that property owners enjoy an unrestrained right to build on their land even if their construction will cause shading on neighbouring properties. It has been left up to local politicians and planners to ensure that owners and tenants will not be left in the dark by the encroachment of nearby property developments.

Fortunately, legal developments have occurred that may provide a small ray of hope to future adopters of solar energy. One such tale involves two solar enthusiasts who nearly had a significant solar investment rendered useless by a condo project at King and Spadina in Toronto. Their case was heard by the Ontario Municipal Board (“OMB”), which had to decide whether a developer’s proposed 14-storey condo would be allowed to cast a shadow on their solar array. The OMB cited the extra two hours of shading on the PV panels for an additional four months as having an adverse impact on the community. It was unequivocal in its disapproval stating, “[a]fter all is said and done this proposal is simply too big; it is too massive; it flies in the face of the … [Toronto Official] Plan; its impacts on surrounding properties are too great.”

Municipal zoning by-laws and development agreements are, in fact, attuned to the impact of shadows on neighbouring properties and go some way to ensuring that light, view and privacy can be enjoyed by members of the community. As in the situation above, this approach has resulted in right-to-light issues generally coming before a Committee of Adjustment or the OMB on an application to vary the strict provisions of a zoning by-law.

However, solar proponents considering significant financial investments and 20-year commitments may not be reassured by the “protection” offered by the current regime in Ontario. One option would be for provincial and municipal policymakers to look south and review the panoply of solar access laws that have proliferated in the United States. A number of U.S. jurisdictions have taken it upon themselves to ensure that their property owners can rely on their access to light in order to recoup investments made in solar energy technologies. Until then, it is at least worthwhile reviewing an Official Municipal Plan and local zoning bylaws to determine if your potential solar generator could be left in the dark.

FUTURE BLOG POST - Let the Sun Shine In: Solar Access Options for Policymakers

1 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/a-green-solution-to-a-neighbours-spat/article1213370/

2 http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/hippie+discovers+right+light/3218290/story.html

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Green Energy and Green Economy Act 101: Acronyms & Abbreviations

Introduction

Perhaps you've heard a lot of fuss over the past year about the Ontario government's new Green Energy and Green Economy Act ("GEGEA")and how it enables individuals, businesses and community groups to generate their own power.  You may also know that the Ontario Power Authority ("OPA") will sign a 20-year power purchase agreement ("PPA") under its Feed-In Tariff ("FIT") program with each new generator.  This PPA guarantees a set tariff to the generator for each kilowatt-hour ("kWh") the generator supplies to the provincial grid.

Unfortunately, you may also realize after reading the last paragraph that becoming an electricity generator will require navigating a minefield of acronyms, abbreviations and industry lingo that are used as shorthand by more experienced players. Wouldn't it be nice if someone just made it easy for you to tell the difference between a CanWEA and a CanSIA, or a FIT and microFIT?

Well, look no further!  Below is a list of key terms that should get you started in understanding who is who and what is what in the Ontario renewable energy industry.  Hopefully, this is just the first baby step en route to establishing your own residential rooftop solar installation or a community wind farm.  If you come across any terms that should be added to the list, please fire them my way.

Sunny days,
Rob

Key Players:

CanSIA:  Canadian Solar Industries Association, nonprofit trade association working to strengthen the Canadian solar industry and promote the use of solar energy.
www.cansia.ca

CanWEA:  Canadian Wind Energy Association, nonprofit trade association promoting the development of wind energy in Canada.
www.canwea.ca

ESA: Electrical Safety Authority, inspects all new construction and renovation involving electrical work as required by the Ontario Electrical Safety Code.
esasafe.com

IESO:  Independent Electricity System Operator, balances the supply of and demand for electricity in Ontario and then directs its flow across the province's transmission lines.
www.theimo.com

LDC:  Local Distribution Company (e.g. Toronto Hydro)

MEI:  Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure
www.mei.gov.on.ca

OEB:  Ontario Energy Board, regulates the province's electricity and natural gas sectors in the public interest
www.oeb.gov.on.ca

OPA:  Ontario Power Authority, responsible for ensuring an adequate, long-term supply of electricity in Ontario and administers the FIT programs
www.powerauthority.ca

OSEA:  Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, works to initiate, facilitate and support the work of local sustainable energy organizations through membership services, province-wide capacity building and non-partisan policy work.
www.ontario-sea.org

TREC: Toronto Renewable Energy Co-Operative, non-profit environmental co-operative that develops community-owned renewable energy projects and educates Ontarians about renewable energy, energy conservation and the community power model.
www.trec.on.ca

Other Terms:

AEPP: Aboriginal Energy Partnership Program

BIA:  Business Improvement Area

CEPP:  Community Energy Partnerships Program

CP: community power

DAT:  Distribution Availability Test
  
EA:  Environmental Assessment

ECT:  Economic Connection Test

FIT:  Feed-in Tariff

GEA: Green Energy Act, 2009, S.O. 2009, c. 12 Schedule A

kW:  kilowatt

kWh:  kilowatt hour

microFIT:  micro Feed-in Tariff

MW:  megawatt
  
MWh:  megawatt hour 

NRCan:  Natural Resources Canada

O&M:  operation & maintenance

PPA:  power purchase Agreement

PV:  photovoltaic
  
REA:  Renewable Energy Approval

REC:  Renewable Energy Co-operative

TAT:  Transmission Availability Test

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Analysis: Project Development in a Grid-Locked World

originally posted on Clear Sky Advisors' website on May 16, 2010:

In an open conference call on March 24, 2010, Hydro One warned of the capacity issues it is currently facing in connecting distributed energy generation projects to the grid. Hydro One is the largest transmission and distribution company in Ontario. It operates over 96% of the province’s high-voltage transmission capacity by revenue and is among Ontario’s largest low-voltage “Local Distribution Companies” (referred to as LDCs). Hydro One’s assets, including 280 transmission stations and over 1,000 distribution and regulation stations, cover 75% of the province. Whether or not other LDCs find themselves facing the same issues as Hydro One, it is fair to say that the latter’s ability to implement the FIT program will play a significant role in the program’s overall success. 

Rude Awakening or Asleep at the Wheel?

Three years after RESOP was launched in Ontario, Hydro One states that they have only recently begun to fully appreciate the impacts of decentralized power generation and is now in the process of working through various solutions to meeting its Green Energy Act commitments.  While Hydro One has connected more than 5,500 MW of new generation to its distribution system since 2004, the overwhelming response to the FIT program has gone beyond current system capacity. Province-wide there is only existing transmission capacity of 2,500-4,000 MW to meet the almost 10,000 MW of FIT applications submitted. A significant amount of the available transmission capacity was set aside for projects developed by Samsung in a much publicized deal the Korean conglomerate struck with the Ontario government. 

The Grid Bottlenecks

The primary challenges identified by Hydro One are feeder distance limitations, short circuits and transformer station capacity. All of these are factors in evaluating the grid’s capacity for FIT projects; however, feeder limitation is the issue most likely to be felt in the project development marketplace.

Unlike urban LDCs such as Toronto Hydro, Hydro One typically transmits and distributes electricity over vast distances, in many cases over lower voltage or lightly loaded feeders. As the distance of the generator’s connection point from a station increases, the stability of the grid becomes more sensitive to variations in voltage. Unless nearby electricity loads can utilize the electricity produced by intermittent wind and solar generators, power delivered to the grid can produce voltage variations that adversely affect the grid and other customers and trigger costly grid upgrades. 

Market Impact

The feeder distance issues will impact project proponents in two ways. First, distance limitations will be added to a proponent’s FIT assessment process following the Transmission and Distribution Availability Tests. If feeder distance proves to be a challenge prior to the issuance of a FIT contract, the proponent could still receive a contract, but will be notified by the OPA that feeder distance is a live issue. At the Connection Impact Assessment stage, the details of any required alterations to the project will be provided to the proponent. Some required alterations may be conducted post in-service date. Assuming the proponent addresses the OPA’s concerns, its project can proceed to grid connection. If it does not address OPA’s concerns by then, the project will move into the FIT reserve pool and await an Economic Connection Test (ECT).

It is the second impact of the Ontario’s grid limitations that has a more significant effect on the marketplace. Despite establishing the FIT program without an official cap, the number of utility-scale (500kW +) projects that may now connect to the grid has arguably reached a de facto cap for the immediate future. Allotted capacity for the first set of projects is bumping up against transmission system constraints. Moreover, capacity limitations for renewable generation may be stricter than advertised because, as Hydro One pointed out, the published available capacity was based on generalized assumptions rather than location and generator specific analysis.

This de facto cap is an important concern for technology providers looking to make decisions to invest in manufacturing in Ontario because it makes it very difficult to understand the market potential for domestically manufactured content beyond the announced projects. 

Looking Forward: The Economic Connection Test

Project proponents who were not awarded FIT contracts or have not yet submitted applications should understand that the lack of transmission capacity will see their application being placed in the “FIT reserve” pool. Projects in the FIT reserve undergo the next ECT, which will run every six months for each provincial region. The ECT assesses whether the costs of required grid upgrades are justifiable considering:
  • the best available information about confirmed transmission upgrades;
  • other proposed generating facilities; and
  • distribution system expansion plans.

If the required system expansions are deemed to be economical and included in transmission and distribution expansion plans, then the project proceeds to the FIT production line. It will be awarded a contract if the applicable system expansions are approved and will be constructed in time to allow the project to connect by its milestone date for commercial operation. However, there is still a chance that the required expansion will be deemed uneconomical leaving the project in the FIT reserve to wait for the another round of ECT to take place. It is our understanding that the first upcoming ECT round will take place in August. 

Market Opportunities for Ontario Developers

A short to mid-term limitation on grid capacity for connecting FIT projects, effectively reduces the type of projects that proponents should engage in. For those developers that are flexible in their approach, opportunities can be found where projects are:
  1. capacity allocation-exempt;
  2. microFIT; or
  3. in close proximity to planned transmission expansion.
Recommendations

Capacity allocation-exempt projects are relatively small projects that connect to the distribution system.  The Ontario Energy Board defines these projects as:
  • a generator less than or equal to 250 kW where it is connected to a line less than 15 kilovolts; or
  • a generator less than or equal to 500 kW where it is connected to a line greater than or equal to 15 kilovolts.

A potential proponent will need to engage with its LDC to determine the voltage of lines in its desired location to determine whether its project would qualify. If a project does qualify, a complete project application will allow the proponent to proceed directly to a FIT contract without transmission, distribution or economic connection tests. Location and generator specific studies will still need to be conducted by the LDC as part of a Connection Impact Assessment prior to connection. Connection costs will vary depending on the location of the project and other factors, but upstream enabling improvements necessary to connect these projects will see costs of up to $90/kW covered by the local LDC. Time delays are still a risk for those projects that are not able to connect without enabling improvements.

MicroFIT projects can be lucrative for project developers that can scale their marketing effectively. microFIT projects are 10 kW or less and are typically solar PV installations on residential, small commercial and institutional properties. Nevertheless, it is possible they could include biogas, biomass, landfill gas, waterpower (e.g. run-of-river) and small wind projects.

Finally, the more savvy proponents could examine anticipated grid expansion and attempt to secure locations for their potential projects that would benefit from proximity to these grid developments. For instance, Hydro One has announced its first such expansion, which will be a new 430 km, single circuit 230 kV transmission line in northwestern Ontario from Nipigon to the Pickle Lake area. Putting in the time and effort now to determine the next path of expansion would position developers to reap the benefit of prudent planning. One variation on this approach would be to work together with other project proponents to form project clusters. This might improve the economics of establishing enabling improvements, increase chances of passing the ECT and in turn encourage speedier construction by the LDC.

The challenges identified by Hydro One in connecting FIT projects to the grid are unlikely to be the only bumps faced by LDCs as they work to begin transforming Ontario’s power sector. But Hydro One has at least demonstrated that LDCs are working in tandem with the OPA to address concerns as they arise and to inform proponents of the approach being taken to resolve those issues. It is incumbent on proponents to stay abreast of these developments by opening up lines of communication with either their LDC or the OPA. This will help to avoid unpleasant surprises and perhaps encourage proponents to anticipate how best to fit their project on the grid.



The author would like to thank Jon Worren of ClearSky Advisors and Stephen Sottile, Fellow – Queen’s Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy, for their input.

Solar & Conservation Fair on the Lakeshore

On a sunny Saturday, September 11 the Etobicoke Lakeshore community welcomed a group of solar aficionados into their neighbourhood. Wakulat | Law teamed up with the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-Operative, Toronto Hydro, JobStart and the Lakeshore Joint BIA Committee to set up a series of solar 101 seminars and a solar developer exhibition at the beautiful Assembly Hall. Over 120 residents and business owners dropped by the free event to listen to industry experts explain how they could take advantage of Ontario's Feed-in-Tariff programs in order to turn themselves into generators of clean, green energy.

A video by Ania Kohinski of the CUSW provides a quick overview of the day's events and programming:



Ken Traynor, Project Manager of the OurPower  program, described the basics of putting up a solar PV installation on a residential roof (click here for presentation). He was accompanied by John Scheffer, Chair of the Lakeshore Village BIA, and newly minted microFIT (<10kW) generator who provided the perspective of someone who has successfully completed a solar PV rooftop project. These gentlemen were greeted with overwhelming enthusiasm as the crowd in their first seminar was standing-room only.  In order to meet the demand of curious residents two residential seminars were held at 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm.

While residents were peppering their presenters with questions, another group of intrepid solar enthusiasts sought to give the commercial perspective to people representing commercial properties interested in FIT projects (>10 kW).  Travis Allan of Zizzo Allan Climate Law LLP graciously chaired a panel addressing the following topics (click on presenter's name to see presentation):
While the more studious attendees spent time in the seminars, other fair participants were able to quiz one of the many solar developer exhibitors on system costs, design, technology and timelines. They could also check on their insurance options with the irrepressible Jen Aitchison from Jones Brown Insurance; talk to Toronto Hydro about conservation programs; ask Stephen Clow from JobStart how to find green jobs; learn more about community power from the OSEA team; relax with the sublime organic chocolate samples from ChocoSol's serene Ilian Balicki or sample a solar-cooked stir fry.

Attendees heard about a positive opportunity to go solar, but were also cautioned to be move methodically through the development of any size solar PV installation.  For commercial property owners interested in more information, it may be helpful to review the Rooftop Solar Study commissioned one year ago by Partners in Project Green.  Rob was a co-author along with Zizzo Allan Climate Law LLP and University of Toronto doctoral candidate Dave Bristow.

The report studies barriers to implementing rooftop solar in the Pearson Eco-Business Zone surrounding Toronto’s Pearson Airport. The study was published by the Toronto & Region Conservation Authority in May 2010.

Wakulat | Law would like to thank the following people and organizations for making this event possible:
  • Sponsors: Toronto Hydro, TREC, JobStart and World's Greenest Business Cards.
  • Hosts:  Lakeshore BIA communities
  • Promoters:  CUSW, OSEA, SNAP Etobicoke, Etobicoke Guardian, Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, greenTbiz, Franke James (and her Green Conscience)
  • Volunteers:  A dedicated group of young green volunteers interested in promoting a sustainable city and supporting the goals of Wakulat | Law.
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