The Ontario Power Authority has offered a contract to the city of Belleville to install a new grid-tie solar project. The solar farm will be installed on the roof of the Quinte Sports Centre at an estimated cost of $4 million. The city accepted the terms of the contract late last month, which allows for the production of nearly half a megawatt of renewable energy.
Nearly 2,000 solar panels will complete the modern look of the recently expanded sports complex. The rooftop project is part of a larger effort by governments, businesses, institutions, and individual citizens to tap into more sustainable sources of energy. In addition to providing a source of environmentally friendly power, the solar farm will bring in revenue from electricity it feeds into the grid.
Project Takes Advantage of Provincial Program
Ontario has a number of provincial programs that encourage the production of renewable energy. The Belleville project will benefit from the most lucrative, the OPA’s feed-in tariff (FIT) – an incentive that provides clean energy producers with long-term contracts and high prices for installing solar, wind, hydro, and biofuel technologies that tie into the province’s electricity grid. The highest prices are reserved for rooftop solar projects. Under the contract offered by the OPA, the project at the sports complex will earn 63.5 cents per kilowatt hour.
The recent renovations to the centre present a “perfect opportunity” for a new solar project and the creation of a revenue-sharing program, according to Belleville Mayor, Neil Ellis. He estimates that the project will pay for itself within ten years and should earn up to $10 million over the remaining fifteen years of its life.
Belleville is just one of many municipalities cashing in on the province’s FIT program and the industry it helps to create. The FIT’s high prices have helped spur interest in new solar manufacturing plants, specially designed financing arrangements, and PV training programs – all of which are necessary for projects like the Quinte Sports Centre – none of which would likely exist without the generous incentives offered through the province’s Green Energy Act.