Rooftop rental rules coming together
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Perry Hoffman

December 14, 2010

Rules and regulations governing commercial aggregators - companies that rent residential rooftops for solar PV projects - appear close to being set, according to conversations Canadian Green Tech had with delegates at the Canadian Solar Industries Association's Solar Canada 2010 conference and exhibition.

Some suggested that the regulations are complete and that the price for commercial aggregators will simply be lower than current rooftop microFiT rates. People Canadian Green Tech spoke with either didn’t know the rate or weren’t prepared to share it.

Colin Andersen, CEO of the Ontario Power Authority, noted during the CEO Panel session at that the rules would be released in the near future.

The MicroFit Advisory Panel has been working with industry stakeholders on new rules for commercial aggregators, he said, “and we are just about at the point when we’re ready to talk about that.” Information needs to be released so that companies that were affected by the decision in the summer to halt this type of activity can provide their thoughts on the new program rules, “so very, very soon,” Andersen added.

The OPA temporarily halted rooftop aggregators from doing business this summer after deciding that this type of activity didn’t fit within the spirit of the microFiT program. While applications submitted prior to July 2 were allowed to continue, the OPA determined that no further aggregated rooftop applications would be accepted until new rules were put in place. It tasked the MicroFiT Advisory Panel to come up with new regulations.

During an August 18 conference call, OPA VP of communications Ben Chin said the rates for commercial aggregators would be lower than the $0.802/kWh for rooftop and lower than the $0.642/kWh for ground-mount projects. Lower rates in both cases result from better economies of scale commercial aggregators enjoy from grouping the product purchases from several projects.

Jim MacDougall, manager of the microFiT and FiT programs at the OPA said new rules will be better for commercial aggregators. “This is going to be, we think, a better approach and a better program for the microFiT aggregator,” he said.

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