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Solar project cancellation dims business

Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Green Party of Ontario, joined local solar businessman Russ Brookes, President of 123 Clean Energy Inc., and cancelled solar energy customer Derek Wolfe at a news conference in Picton to demand the McGuinty government honour its promise to pay green energy entrepreneurs 80.2 ¢/kWh for solar projects under 10 kilowatts.
Schreiner criticized the McGuinty government for unexpectedly changing the rules on the fly. Russ Brookes described the financial difficulties the government’s action has had on solar energy installers who invested heavily in inventory and training to support orders that are now being cancelled.
“I started my solar business a little over a year ago,” said Brookes. “Since then business was climbing steadily, but in the three days after the cut was announced, I had $300,000 in orders cancelled. It’s not just me who’s affected, it’s the people who work for me and the subcontractors in the County doing things like fabrication and installation.”
County resident Derek Wolfe described his frustration at having to cancel a planned solar energy project that offered the prospect of green energy without the controversy associated with large-scale wind development.
“The MicroFIT solar program seemed to be a logical way to get behind solar energy and not upset my neighbours by putting up windmills,” said Wolfe. “We had the land and proposals for up to five towers, but when I spoke to my neighbours they said no which was good enough for me. I was very upset when the feed in tariff was cut and I had to cancel my project.”
The Green Party is launching a province-wide campaign to call on Premier McGuinty to honour his word and stand behind the promised pricing for all current solar MicroFIT applications.
“Instead of fostering community economic development and green job creation, the government’s mismanagement is hurting the emerging solar industry. People’s livelihood and savings may be lost,” said Schreiner. “Premier McGuinty should be ashamed for misleading citizens.”

* The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) says it has received over 15,000 contract applications since the MicroFIT program was announced 9 months ago.
* The majority of applications have been for ground-mounted solar panels predominantly in rural areas. Ground mounted panels are the target of the government’s cuts.
* The OPA had only approved 3,000 of the contract applications when the cut was suddenly announced. This means close to 10,000 people could be affected by this cutback which will reduce the income on their investment by 27%.
* A 10 kilowatt solar project costs $70,000 or more to install.

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