ClearSky Advisors (ClearSky) has prepared a study for an unnamed client that suggests that the true cost to the average ratepayer of Ontario’s switch to renewable energy sources will nearly equal the cost of one donut per month and potentially create 70,000 new green jobs by 2015. This news will come as a relief to players in the province’s solar economy given that the media have sent mixed messages regarding the costs and stability of Ontario’ feed-in tariff (FIT) program for green energy projects.
ClearSky is an independent research and advisory firm that serves the renewable energy industry. Its earlier work included a study that suggested that the FIT was on course and that Ontario will install an additional 3GW of solar energy by 2015. The firm’s latest job forecast is based on information from official sources such as the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and Statistics Canada (StatCan), but it relies on the assumption that the OPA will continue its current pace of FIT approvals over the next five years. The study shows that not only will the initial increase amount to less than one percent of the average electricity bill, but also,the cost will actually begin to decline shortly thereafter.
FIT a Key Part of Solar Economy, Renewable Energy Careers
The solar industry receives the highest rates under the FIT, which pays producers of renewable energy generated from a variety of sources to feed electricity into the grid. The high prices have led to whole new economies related to solar, wind, and biomass energy production, including manufacturing plants and training opportunities like PV installation courses for students and workers who want to prepare for careers in renewable energy.
The ClearSky study bodes well for those on the green career track and for owners of green energy projects that hope to apply to the FIT program in the future. Ontario has developed a robust solar economy that is helped in large part by the tariff, and the research should calm fears expressed in the media that the cost of the program will be too much for the province to bear.