Some 20,000 applications in Ontario have been submitted to the Province to have solar panels installed. Of those some 3700 are connected. There is no data yet on what these supply in power to the grid nor how much is being paid to these people for that power.
The claim is these people are supplying power to the grid. But are they? Is that the correct way of looking at their set up? I don't think it is.
Let's be clear about these panels. I'm sure you have all seen some of them around the countryside (us rural folk have anyway). The set up is small. Sure, they look big enough. But understand that these panels, if only hooked to the person's house, would not supply the power needs of the home.
Let me state that again. These panels CANNOT supply the power needs of the home. You would need many more of them to be able to do that.
I visited a home in Sarnia about 4 years ago who has 20 panels on his roof (this is before the FIT program). He was supplying about 20% of his home with these panels. But what happens at night? He has 60 batteries. So the panels had to charge the batteries by day AND supply the home's power demand, totalling some 20% over all for the day.
So we can extrapolate that situation to these FIT producers. They are not supplying power to the grid at all (even though they are connected). They are using all of that solar power to offset SOME of what they are using themselves from the grid.
For example (and these are just numbers out of the air until concrete values can be found), a home consumes some 100kWh of power a day. The solar panels, when the sun shines, produces 20kWh of power a day. So this person is charged $0.09/kWh for the 100kWh he uses every day ($9), and gets $.065/kWh for the solar panels ($13). So the person is netting $4 per day for using 20% less off the grid.
Now without the real numbers this is just a ballpark calculation, but you get the picture.
The bottom line is we are paying solar people huge sums of money for them to use a little less of grid power. And at a time when we have excess production.
Now, if they want to use that solar power to offset their hydro bills (that is they get $0.09/kWh) then I would have no problem with that. But not paying them more, not making our power system their personal retirement fund. I heard about one person in Beaverton who was expecting to net $60,000 per year into his retirement from selling power to the grid at $0.65.
Personally, I think he has been duped. I think he will find that the output from these panels is not going to come close to what he was told they would produce, maybe half if lucky. But still, it's just not right that some people can't feed their families because of their hydrobills, but these people get to live a grand retirement contributing to those high bills.