On December 22, 2016 the Ontario Ministry of Energy announced some important changes to the current Net Metering Regulation 541/05, which include:
- Solar panels systems can now be larger than 500 kW AC. With the project capacity cap removed, businesses will now be able to properly size renewable energy systems and match their loads;
- If there is a positive credit between energy production and consumption is any given month, it can now be carried over for 12 months instead of previously allowed 11 months;
- Commercial entities and residential homeowners are now permitted to install energy storage systems coupled with renewable energy generation;
- Customers with already existing Net Metering agreements will have an option of entering into new agreements which reflect the updated provisions, or of keeping their existing agreements.
Ontario commercial and residential solar Net Metering regulation was first introduced in 2005, however these programs have not yet been very popular due to “competition” from residential microFIT and commercial FIT (which offered more attractive financial returns). This trend will mostly likely change in the next year or so due to falling compensation rates, and the IESO’s plans to retire microFIT and FIT solar programs by end of 2018. After that Net Metering will become the primary source for installing distributed solar generation in Ontario.