Solar Technology Energizing Ontario's World Status

Photo: istockphotos

The World Future Council has ranked Ontario number one in North America for its feed-in-tariff program.  Weighing ten criteria including economics, the WFC evaluated and compared North American programs to similar policies in Europe. Those in Germany, Spain, and France are considered the "gold standard" of feed-in tariff implementation.   

An international group of topic experts and luminaries, the WFC's stated objective is "to protect the fundamental values of the citizens of the Earth in the interest of future generations."  In its report, Ontario ranked slightly above Spain and slightly below Germany and France.  In North America, Ontario stood alone on the podium with Vermont coming in a distant second.  They were the only two regions in North America to pass the grading.

Ontario leads the clean energy sector in wind power, solar technology, biofuels, and energy from waste.  Its policies for the clean energy sector have become entrepreneur-friendly in recent years, with Bill Eggertson, Executive Director of Ottawa-based Canadian Association for Renewable Energies, describing Ontario as an "investor market."

Canadian Government Invests in Ontario Solar Job Creation

Further stimulating the clean economy are twelve new projects totalling nearly $15 million under Canada's College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program.  The funding will develop new research partnerships to hasten college and university clean energy innovations into the marketplace.  Emerging solar technologies, water and soil contamination clean-up innovations, and other projects are the focus of the recently announced funding.  In Ontario, one of the projects will be the creation of a Sustainability Energy Applied Research Centre to develop geothermal, wind, biomass, and solar technologies.   Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), said, "Our government supports innovation because it creates jobs, improves the quality of life of Canadians and strengthens the economy."  The funding would strengthen the competitiveness of Canadian businesses and stimulate future job creation.

A study by the Queen's University Applied Sustainability Research Group focuses on the job creation potential of the clean energy sector, including new positions for trained solar installation experts.  Also highlighted is the tax revenue from increasing solar technology sales and the downstream health cost savings of a clean energy environment.   The study will be published in August 2010 in the academic journal, Energy Policy.  Queen's University professor, Joshua Pearce believes Ontario taxpayers and the economy will benefit from solar technology manufacturing.   

New Solar Technologies Still Require Trained Installers

Innovations in solar technology, such as Enphase Energy's new micro-inverters, will hasten implementation of the solar technology sector throughout Ontario by improving the economics of solar installations.  CEO, Paul Nahi says that solar technology will be "more practical and cost effective to use."  But while Enphase has removed some of the complexities surrounding their new solar inverters, their Web site cautions that trained installers are still required.

Continued demand for solar installation training, despite simplified, technological innovations, will enhance job creation in Ontario and expand the new clean energy economy.

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Austin Brentley is a born and bred Washingtonian who has spent the last 9 years traveling the globe, living in New York, Hawaii, Japan, Thailand, France, and most recently, Malaysia.  Passionate about all things green, Austin currently works with the Ontario Solar Academy, writing news stories and blogs about North America's growing solar revolution.  Feel free to drop him a line if you have questions about photovoltaic technology or solar panel installation training.