Solar FIT A ‘Good Egg’ For Ontario Farm

Ontario likes its eggs sunny-side up – literally. The province’s aggressive feed-in tariff (FIT) program has prompted Drouin Farms, a large family-owned organic egg producer, to install a 250-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system. Producing over 300,000 kilowatt-hours per year, the project will reduce CO2 emissions by 2,800 tons annually and produce enough electricity to power about 30 homes.

The system will also provide Drouin Farms with an additional revenue stream to help expand its operations. The farm expects to achieve up to 11 percent return on the solar project, breaking even on their investment in less than 8 years. The solar energy system uses 1,248 Conergy ON PV modules, manufactured in Ontario. The solar energy system was installed by Ottawa Solar Power, the largest solar installation company in Eastern Ontario.

drouin-farms

image via Drouin Farms

Ontario’s FIT programs have attracted solar manufacturers and created clean energy jobs in the province. According to Jared Donald, President of Conergy Canada, the province’s solar industry supports the equivalent of 8,200 full-time solar jobs. The FIT program’s requirements for local content have attracted almost 30 solar PV module and inverter manufacturing facilities to Ontario.

According to Michael McGahern, president of Ottawa Solar Power, the company has tripled its workforce since the FIT program was implemented. In 2011, Ottawa Solar Power hired 12 new people, and directly injected over $1.5 million dollars into the local economy and over $3 million into the economy of Ontario.

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

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