Ontario solar power company, Enfinity Canada, Ltd., has expanded its business to include outreach and education initiatives. Earlier this month, Enfinity made available for download the Executive Brief portion of its document entitled “Key Considerations for Developing Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Installations.” Enfinity hopes that this report will act as a blueprint, enabling building and real estate owners to fully understand the value of a well-designed solar project. The document also teaches how to avoid the possible pitfalls of contracting an inexperienced start-up.
As Ontario’s renewable energy market continues to expand, so does the number of solar companies. Building owners need to be solar power savvy prior to contracting an installation company in order to avoid wasting time and money on unsafe or low-quality projects. As Michael Wright, Partner at Ontario real estate consulting firm, A-Team Strategies, states, “Our commercial and industrial real estate marketplace has not had a lot of history with solar energy… you can see why building owners are rightfully cautious.”
Knowledge of Solar Energy Programs Imperative
Building owners looking to install solar panels should also know the basic requirements of Ontario’s feed-in tariff (FIT) program. The FIT offers producers of renewable energy various financial incentives for feeding electricity into the power grid. In exchange, FIT participants must meet domestic content and job creation criteria.
After less than a year of the program’s operation, the province is still working out the bugs. According to Enfinity’s Managing Director, Chris Young, “…with our emerging solar marketplace comes a high level of technical and policy uncertainties… so it’s important to work with a reputable and reliable partner that can navigate the complexities of Ontario’s solar opportunities.”
Number of Solar Power Start-Ups Growing
According to recent research published by A-Team Strategies, 65% of the solar energy companies currently operating are less than five years old, and 75% are managed out of tiny, one-room business operations. Currently, only twenty solar rooftop companies are registered with the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA). In the midst of these gold-rush conditions, well-educated stakeholders will strive for a standard of excellence in the solar energy market. Young believes, “Commercial building owners need to… act prudently. We see it as our responsibility to make building owners aware of the opportunities as well as potential pitfalls concerning rooftop solar projects.”
Bringing cohesion and clarity to the quickly booming solar market is one of the goals of Ontario Solar Network (OSN), founded by the Director of Canada’s only ISPQ-accredited PV training school, Ontario Solar Academy. Comments OSN President, Jacob Travis, “With nascent industries, there are always plenty of opportunities, but there are also countless obstacles” Travis adds, “Through our Network, we hope to educate consumers, support our professional members, and establish better standards that benefit the entire solar industry.”
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