The new net metering program is the worst case scenario for the solar industry according to the Distributed Energy Association of Saskatchewan.
On Tuesday SaskPower announced the new program that includes no capacity or an end date, but also no help to pay for solar panels and installation costs and cut down credits.
Association’s Erwin Heuck says this isn’t a net metering program, but a net billing program. “The industry standard for net metering is that there’s a one to one credit for excess production that is put onto the grid. So this program here where you discount that excess, that’s a net billing program so I think we need to start with language.”
The association says the cutting the incentives of help and trimming credits from 14 cents per kilowatt hour to 7.5 will result in a 90 to 95 percent drop in solar panel activity in the province.
Heuck says this will result in job loss. “I don’t see any industry that can loose 95 percent of its market and not have significant job loss. They’re seeing job loss already in terms of their marketing and sales people.”
He says the province needs to look at energy choice and the scale of energy solutions being put in place. The association says right now it’s very heavy towards utility scale solutions rather than community and that’s a conversation that needs to be had.
Heuck adds that other jurisdictions have created a place holder for community scale energy solutions so that the industry has some certainty about the floor moving forward. “So I think that’s a discussion that we need to have, what’s the right floor versus saying that there is no cap. Quite frankly if there is no product to sell, discussions of no cap is kind of a moot point.”
He says SaskPower needs to review the program, consult with the industry and come up with a new plan.
SaskPower says this program meets its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.