10. Ontario is already forging ahead.
Newboro 1, a major solar project in Ontario, will span 120 acres and consist of roughly 55,000 panels. This is just one of the major solar projects underway in Ontario, with total projects hovering near 70.
9. The installed solar projects in Ontario alone could propel Canada onto the solar world stage.
With all of the projects completed, Canada would be among the top 10 countries in the world with solar installations. Even with all that, solar would only account for 1 percent of Ontario’s power. Still, coupled with other renewables, Canada could begin to withdraw from its use of oil and coal.
8. Ontario’s government policies are solar-friendly.
Subsidies are helping large scale solar deploy in Ontario and it’s certainly working. Without support from the government in other provinces, it’s definitely more difficult. With support across the country, solar could take off like it has in Ontario.
7. International support is coming.
Just an hour away from the Newboro project, South Korea’s Samsung is building a huge, 100 MW solar farm. The project is 750 acres, with more than 450,000 panels. With more projects like this across the country, it would not only bring in more renewable energy, but also bring more general international business to Canada.
6. The time is right for Alberta to embrace solar, and it could pay off in dividends if it does.
According to the Canadian Solar Industries Association, there is a perfect opportunity for embracing solar right now since “Electricity demand is rising sharply, coal-fired power plants are being phased out and prices of solar-electricity equipment are falling—all at the same time that the provincial government is developing a renewable energy framework,” the Edmonton Journal reported. “Alberta has the best solar resource in Canada,” CanSIA president John Gorman said. “It has a population that understands the value of an energy resource, and solar electricity has the ability to give residents and businesses and farmers a choice for their electricity and how they generate it and consume it.”
5. Entrepreneurs like Clifton Lofthaug are taking solar installation into their own hands.
Lofthaug is the founder and owner of Great Canadian Solar. Since 2009, Lofthaug has seen costs fall and his installation rates rise. This September, his company will hit a milestone of having installations generating more than 1 MW of electricity—all of this with a company of 6 employees.
4. Canadian companies are trying to keep the playing field fair and level, even on an international level.
With the solar dumping scandal involving China, the U.S., and several other countries, it was clear that the rules were being broken and costs were being undercut. The World Trade Organization ruled against the U.S. and China, and Canada was vocal about the ruling. President of Canadian Solar, Americas, Thomas Koerner said, "The WTO's ruling today is in alignment with the opinion of Canadian Solar as well as other organizations which represent the majority of the PV industry. The imposition of countervailing and potential anti-dumping duties is not only disruptive to a fair trade business environment but also damaging to an industry which seeks to support the United States' commitment to renewable energy deployment and sustainable development.”
3. There is popular support for solar.
While there are those who feel wind farms are noisy, obstructive, and disruptive, solar farms and unobtrusive and generally out of sight. “Solar has a very high approval and support rating,” says Vice-president for global infrastructure at consultant KPMG Georges Arbache said. “It sits there, it’s quiet, and it is not very visible because it is flat on the ground.” “I don’t think anybody is totally opposed to [solar projects],” Chuck Mercier, mayor of Scugog, the home of a major solar installation, said. “Overall, solar has been embraced by most of the community. Solar doesn’t present the same kind of issues as wind.”
2. Consumers will benefit directly.
Sometimes, it’s hard to understand how something will have an effect until it’s immediate. BMW Canada is trying to bring solar into people’s homes by offering a 10 percent discount on home solar installations with the purchase of an electric BMW i3 sedan. The idea is that the solar installation will be enough to offset the energy used by the car, thus reducing the consumer’s carbon footprint and energy bill.
1. There will be a time where solar is a necessity, not an option.
While all of these are driving factors, the one thing that will propel solar in Canada is the fact that it will soon becoming a necessity. With oil and coal as finite resources, solar and other renewable sources will have to fill their places. Right now, the time is right for solar to take over in Canada, and here’s hoping it does sooner rather than later.