The Ontario Power Authority ("OPA") awarded its first 100 Feed-in Tariff ("FIT") contracts to Loblaw's this morning. More announcements are expected today and in the coming weeks.

"These projects will create a new source of income for businesses while providing new clean and green electricity in Ontario -- particularly on hot, sunny summer days when demand soars," said Brad Duguid, Ontario Minister of Energy and Infrastructure. "With our new domestic content rules, these projects will also help create new green collar jobs here in Ontario as well as major economic investments in equipment and services here at home." Bob Chant, vice president, corporate affairs, Loblaw Companies Limited added that Loblaw's believes "green energy production using innovative technologies such as these pilot projects, supports our commitment to the environment."

Loblaw's will be working with Northland Power Income Fund to implement the first four projects as a pilot. "We believe that solar energy, especially rooftop solar energy, will play a major role in Ontario's green energy future while dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Jim Temerty, Chairman of Northland Power Income Fund. Assuming the pilot is a success, Loblaw's will then roll out the balance of the projects.

The announcement has been eagerly anticipated by prospective renewable power developers. The OPA accepted over 2,000 applications during the launch phase of the FIT, which ran during October and November of last year, and has received over 2,000 more applications since. The OPA awarded 700 microFIT contracts before Christmas, but these very small scale projects only amounted to a total of about 8.6 MW of generating capacity. Applicants who proposed larger scale projects have been waiting for over three months for the OPA to begin awarding FIT contracts.