On September 8, 2010, the comment period closed for the new proposed regulations regarding adding Small Ground-Mounted Solar projects to the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR) system. The EASR system is being implemented by the Ministry of the Environment to allow businesses to register prescribed activities in the EASR system instead of seeking an Environmental Compliance Approval through the standard application and review process (i.e. the EPA’s Renewable Energy Approval Process). The new public, web-based EASR system is intended to speed up the approval process for activities that are “routine, well understood and have minimal environmental impacts.”

To date, three prescribed activities have been included in the EASR system: automotive refinishing facilities, heating systems and standby power systems. The government is now proposing to add three new activities to the registry system, one of the main ones being Ground-Mounted Solar projects. The proposed regulation would require ground-mounted solar facilities with a name plate capacity greater than 10 kW and less than or equal to 500 kW and with a maximum power output capacity less than or equal to 750 kVa (at each transformer) to register under the EASR system. In order to be able to register under EASR the facilities would also need to meet certain design requirements, including, but not limited to, ensuring that any noise generating equipment does not have a sound power level greater than 90 dBA and meeting minimum setback requirements for noise receptors. Finally, the proposed regulation aims to direct solar projects to properties currently or formerly zoned for agricultural, industrial, commercial or institutional use.

A full version of the proposed regulation may be found here.