On August 10, 2012, the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) released the final feed-in tariff (FIT) 2.0 program rules and contract, which are now available on the OPA website. One key change from the draft rules, based on the July 11, 2012 Ministry of Energy directive,1 is the overall priority that will be given to projects with 50% Aboriginal or community equity participation; such projects will receive higher ranking than all other applications.

The OPA advises that several updated rules currently only apply to small FIT projects (= 500 kW), including the requirement that any non-hydroelectric project must be located less than 50 km from its proposed connection point on the Distribution System or IESO-Controlled Grid. The Ministry of Energy intends to meet with pre-existing large FIT project (> 500 kW) applicants before the application window for large FIT contracts opens and consider how to improve this rule for large FIT projects. The Ministry has also established a FIT 2.0 Land Use Working Group to investigate, develop options and make recommendations with respect to ground-mount solar project siting. The Working Group is expected to make recommendations by the end of September 2012.

Pre-existing applicants will need to resubmit their applications under the new rules. The application window for small FIT projects is expected to open on October 1, 2012 and remain open until November 30, 2012. The OPA anticipates awarding 200 MW of small FIT contracts from the applications submitted during that time. Any pre-existing small FIT applications that are not submitted within this window will be terminated and will lose their Time Stamp.

Timing for the large FIT project application window is not yet available.

1 See our Flash of March 22, 2012 for a discussion of the draft rules and our Flash of July 13, 2012 for a discussion of the Ministry directive.