I don’t believe in free lunches. Whenever somebody offers me anything for “free” I immediately ask myself what’s in it for them. If the answer doesn’t bother me, I may go with the offer. microFIT PV is no different, so here is the best explanation I could think of.
This is the last part of a series analyzing what are the incentives for the Government to offer such a generous price for the solar-produced electricity. If you didn’t do it before, you may want to read first part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5.
It’s now time to wrap up our series about the government’s own interest in pushing microFIT solar installations. I will quickly summarize the advantages from the Government’s point of view:
- Ontario will benefit from the generation capacity built on roofs. This will not require any capital spending, since it will be done from microFIT applicants’ money.
- Ontario as a whole, and cities in particular, will benefit from partially decentralizing the electricity generation. Producing the energy closer to the place it is used will decrease the transmission losses.
- the grid will also benefit because solar panels will provide maximum power during the day. Fortunately, this coincides with the peak electricity usage.
- the solar panel installations will generate jobs in Ontario. Obviously, the install part cannot be done overseas. For the hardware parts that could be imported, the government imposed origin restrictions. The hope is that manufacturers will open production facilities in the province, thus creating additional jobs.
- the government appears like a Green Knight, ready to jump to save the planet. They need all the goodwill they can get to offset the recent HST slap in the face of Ontarians.
- and let’s not forget the money: they will pocket around 100 millions as their HST cut, just for the microFIT applications submitted until August, 2010. Add some extra cash that will come later, as income and corporate taxes.
- the best part: all of the above will be achieved for free! The applicants will pay for their solar systems. The generated electricity will be mixed with the output from the traditional power plants, and the result will be sold to the consumers at obviously increased rates. All the respect to the guys who devised this ingenious scheme!
Right now, there not much public dissent regarding all these. Green it today’s fad! But I would expect the majority of the population to wise up suddenly and start asking questions when they’ll have to pay the increased electricity rates.
To be fair, it’s government’s job to look into the future and lead us with their vision. To do this, they behave like a reversed Robin Hood, taking from many to give to a few. That’s the way today’s world works and I’m OK with it. The only problem here is that instead of being enlightened, they seem to fly by the seat of their pants.
Now being done with my rant, I can get back to my solar project! Being a pragmatic person, I see no reason to not profit from the government’s offer. As my father used to say, the government is not in the business of giving money away, they’re in the business of getting it from you. So double-enjoy it when you can be at the receiving end!