Photo: Ontario embracing solar energy's bright future

By Ryan Kadowaki, Climate Change and Clean Energy Program Coordinator

When it comes to renewable sources of electricity, solar may not jump out as the most viable option in the Great White North. Sure we've got loads of wind and water, but sunshine? Try telling that to my pasty legs. It turns out that my tanning ability is not the best measuring stick for the potential of solar energy in Canada. In fact, Canada does receive enough of the sun's energy to make solar panels an option for Canadian homeowners. Nowhere is this being recognized as readily as in Ontario.

Ontario, which receives more sunlight than leading solar installers like Germany and Japan, has emerged as a North American leader in solar photovoltaic (PV) installations. Solar PV panels capture the sun's energy and turn it into electricity. This solar renaissance has been brought about through the implementation of Ontario's feed-in tariff (FIT), a program that allows energy producers to sell electricity back to the grid. This program has also made solar viable for many homeowners, farmers and community groups that can now recover the cost of buying the panels or generate income by leasing their roof-space to a solar installation. Nearly 12,000 Ontarians have started participating since the program began.

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The swift uptick in Ontario's solar installations is consistent with the global trend. From 2005 to 2010, global solar PV capacity grew by 49 per cent a year. Like any new technology, a decrease in cost was necessary for wider adoption. Experts predict that a further two-thirds reduction in cost will be achieved by 2020. Lower costs have also led to the development of promising new innovations in recent years, such as thin film, cars and large collectors.

All of this is good news for the environment. In Ontario, the average residential solar PV system produces as much electricity annually as burning 2,300 kilograms of coal. By producing more electricity from renewable sources, fewer fossil fuels are burned today and we can forego building additional power plants in the future.

The David Suzuki Foundation has long been a supporter of renewable technologies that reduce the footprint of our energy system. We encourage other jurisdictions to follow Ontario's lead in making renewable technologies more accessible for citizens. Taking the initiative to tackle its energy footprint helped Ontario to its first-place ranking in our recent assessment of provincial climate action. If you are interested in more information about solar PV installations in Ontario, a number of contractors provide services, including Pure Energies who offer free installation, solar leasing opportunities and will even make a donation to the David Suzuki Foundation for each installation made.

May 1, 2012

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Jun 19, 2014
8:24 PM

This is such a great article. We really need to make a change for the benefit of our future. I have a Solar Panel Installation coz this is my way of helping our environment. Aside from keeping you in budget for your electricity bill, this can also help you lessen the Co2 emission.

May 23, 2014
7:52 AM

The FIT initiative in Canada is definitely a great way for homeowners to receive a passive income while helping out the economy. Solar Power in Ontario is a growing industry, we’ll see lots more of it in the future.

Feb 28, 2014
10:26 PM

This house (in the picture) describes all.. about green energy. One great reason why solar program is one of the most effective method is that it’s cost gets lower and lower, and development of better, more energy saver ideas. Benny Johans

Jan 23, 2014
1:03 AM

Excellent solar article.

There is sunlight that hits the earth in one hour to power the whole globe for one entire year. (Think about that.)

If people realized that solar isn’t as expensive as everyone makes it out to be (especially with all the rebates and tax credits available), they wouldn’t continue to pay their outrageous utility companies prices.

Mark Sacramento Solar

Oct 10, 2013
7:23 AM

There are a lot of these MicroFIT Solar panels around.

Sep 29, 2013
6:41 PM

Its been booming all over the place, not just in Ontario, but in the states as well. Living in Toronto I have seen many Solar Panels Toronto and this is a big boom!

Sep 18, 2013
3:50 PM

Its good to see the government supporting solar energy in Ontario. Living in Guelph, I have seen many systems appear on the rooftops. I wrote a little blurb about Solar Panels Guelph. Nice to see these systems appearing on rooftops!

Aug 15, 2013
8:14 AM

Thank you for your article. I like it when articles have content about the solar industry that actually shows how good it is to go solar! I have also written an article that you might enjoy regarding Solar Panels Ontario. It answers the question if solar is “right for me”? Thanks,

Jun 25, 2013
1:57 AM

solar energy has been considered as one of the renewable sources of energy.. but there is lot of progress yet to be done to harness it completely

Feb 27, 2013
6:31 PM

totally interesting…. we have the sun and it is full of energy. it also helps my laundry to get freshened up on my laundry line.i also have natural sunlight in my household through the sun tunnels. now the solar panels , what a great idea!

Feb 08, 2013
1:44 PM

I would like to see Ontario government offer more personal energy projects than these big business projects that are happening across the province. Big business shows little interest in the people they negatively effect. Take a look at the way the Libs and Big Wind has pushed rural Ontario around. A total policy disaster.

Now give an individual a subsidy to built his/her own personal solar panels and maybe a smaller 75/100 ft tall wind turbine that they own and take care of themselves. All of this fight back would disappear and the green energy movement would be seen as a positive.

Maybe then big business wouldn’t be cutting down trees with bald eagles nests in them because they’re in the way of their wind turbines.

Nov 30, 2012
8:48 PM

Solar energy is becoming increasingly popular. The first and foremost advantage of solar energy is that it does not emit any green house gases. It can solve the Energy Crisis. Great content! Solar Victoria

Nov 08, 2012
11:36 PM

I think solar energy will largely used in future due to its advantages. There are many advantages to use solar panels for your home. Thanks for discuss about solar energy. Solar Panels Melbourne

Oct 23, 2012
12:03 AM

Very nice post. I wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!


Sep 18, 2012
4:23 PM

Solar is definitely booming in Ontario. It is great to see that others are following in our footsteps.

Sep 11, 2012
3:47 AM

Great blog, really interesting read, its great to see solar energy becoming bigger and bigger.

Aug 28, 2012
12:33 AM

Great post.i read this article. this article is very informative. there is all information those we need all. thanks for posting it.

Jul 24, 2012
10:07 PM

I think there is a bright future of solar energy. Solar energy will surely used widely in industries as well as in residential areas. This is a good post, which features worthwhile information.

Solar Victoria

Jun 20, 2012
1:16 AM

Top marks to Ontario. Long term they will be very glad of their FIT. I wish that we could persuade our NZ system to lear from Ontario and Japan and Germany, but unfortunately the government owned sytem has now been split and half privatised for idealogical reasons. We therefore no longer manage our system in the National interest but in various shareholders' interests. So profit is the sole driver, certainly not either consumer, national or planetary interest.

May 03, 2012
10:14 AM

A nice fact about photovoltaic's is their efficiency increases when it's cold, somewhat compensating for the loss of daylight experienced at northern latitudes in winter. Another happy fact is that most of us get some sunlight for at least 8 hours a day 365 days a year no matter what the weather. You can still make electricity on cloudy days, just not as much.

Don't forget about the other way to use solar energy though: to make heat. This can be the cheapest way to start exploiting free energy. If you have ever felt the water that has been sitting a while in a garden hose exposed to sunlight you know what I mean.

May 01, 2012
5:35 PM

Japan's FiT in July is among the highest in the world. It's clear that Japan's FiT will shake the solar market. New solar technology will show in Japan. This is it! As you know, earthquake in japan is happening frequently. Floating solar panels installation is one of the best solutions for power crisis in Japan. So you have to reduce the vibration to install Floating solar panels. Because, it makes many kinds of problems! The vibration’s caused by wind, waves and external forces. New Floating Body Stabilizer for Floating solar panels installation has been created in South Korea. The Floating Body Stabilizers generate drag force immediately when Floating solar panels are being rolled and pitched on the water. Recently, this Floating Body Stabilizer’s using to reduce the Vibration of Floating Solar Panels in South Korea. You can see New Floating Body Stabilizer videos in YouTube.—q5B92k,

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