Ontario Leads Canada's Solar Power Generation
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) technology is growing at a fast rate in Canada, as the government employs various initiatives to support the rapid deployment of solar PV energy sources, states a new report by power experts GlobalData.
The new report portrays Ontario as a leading beacon in the renewable energy industry, as the Canadian state sees tariffs, tax rebates and joint ventures encourage the rise of solar PV generation and the solar PV backsheet market.
Canada’s ecoEnergy Retrofit program and tax credits provide support across the country, and the solar power industry in the Canadian states of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Nova Scotia also benefit from net metering. However, provincial efforts, such as investment incentives offered by the Ontario government, show local power authorities wielding significant influence.
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The Ontario Green Power Tariff system program provides rules, tariffs and contracts for solar power producers, and also stipulates domestic content requirements for solar power generation, strengthening the local solar equipment manufacturing base. The Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program (RESOP) and sales tax rebate initiative also support the development of the solar power market in Ontario.
Canada is an import-oriented market for solar backsheets, as there are no backsheet manufacturers currently located in Canada, with the local PV industry still in its early stages. As a result of the introduction of the Ontario Green Energy Act in 2009, solar PV backsheet installations increased from 4 Megawatts (MW) in 2006 to 240 MW in 2011, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 131%. However, the local content requirement clause has boosted the market for domestic modules. Annual solar PV installations over the forecast period are expected to record consistent growth, with backsheet capacity expected to increase from 240 MW in 2011 to 937 MW by 2020.
Individual companies are also getting involved. Recently, producer and supplier of solar modules Canadian Solar, and Canada’s leading developer of solar parks, SkyPower, joined forces to develop alternative energy in Ontario. The 50:50 international joint venture saw Canadian Solar agree to acquire a majority stake in 16 solar projects in Ontario from SkyPower, with an estimated total installed capacity of between 190 to 200 MW.
Cumulative solar PV installed capacity in Canada increased from 20 MW in 2006 to 500 MW in 2011, at a CAGR of 89%, and is forecast to reach 6,579 MW by 2020 at a CAGR of 33%.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.