The Ontario Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program allows Ontario homeowners, commercial businesses and farms to sell solar power to the grid over 20 year contracts with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA). Hay Solar is an Ontario agricultural and engineering company that constructs free barns for registered Ontario farms under the FIT program by installing solar panels as part of the barn roof. These solar panels generate FIT solar revenue that pays for the entire cost of the barn and also generates modest revenue for the farm. Hay Solar has a network of barn builders across Ontario and thousands of farm applications in process from Ontario farmers. The owners of Hay Solar are also Ontario farmers and on July 2, 2010, the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) announced a change of policy to prevent FIT applications from buildings that were not already constructed. Since Hay Solar is one of the largest barn builders in Ontario and a large FIT participant, this policy is clearly targeting the termination of thousands of agricultural barns and the loss of thousands of agricultural market sector jobs.
The rationale for the policy change is that these Ontario barns would not have been constructed without the FIT program, however, we can assure you that the hard working Ontario farms that have registered under the Hay Solar program are simply trying to improve the productivity of their farms with the limited resources that they have available. Commercial buildings are paid substantial fees for FIT roof leases and Hay Solar is simply paying the farm “upfront” by constructing a free barn. The OPA policy change has no significant impact on commercial or other markets and the policy seems to target hard working Ontario farmers that do not have the capital resources to fund their own barn construction. The timing of the policy change has occurred during peak hay season whereby the majority of our farm applicants are in the fields cutting hay and working long hours and may not be able to take the time to speak up for their individual rights.
As such, Hay Solar will lobby the Premiers office, the Honourable Ministers Brad Duguid and Carol Mitchell to resolve the matter as it would seem that hard working Ontario farms may not have a voice under the Ontario Green Energy Act. Mr James Mann is the president of Hay Solar and proud member of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Professional Engineers of Ontario and a licensed consulting engineer in the Province of Ontario.
To assist us in this matter, please contact your MPP and ask why the OPA is “closing the door” to Hay Solar free barns in Ontario.
James Mann, P. Eng.
Hay Solar Ltd.