Solar industry to create more than 70,000 jobs in Ontario by 2015

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TORONTO (November 21, 2010) – Despite the higher costs of Solar PV power generation, the net impact to the average Ontario household will be the equivalent of less than 1% of their electricity bills each year  – less than the cost of one Tim Horton’s donut per month.

The stated rationale behind Ontario’s Green Energy and Economy Act and the associated Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) program was to stimulate job growth and local investment while phasing out the use of coal in energy production. While solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation can help to achieve these goals, it is currently more expensive than other forms of power generation.  Given this cost differential, the question is whether investing in solar PV represents good value for Ontario ratepayers and taxpayers.

A recent study by ClearSky Advisors has found that if the OPA continues to award FIT contracts to solar generators at the current rate over the next 5 years, it would translate into more than 70,000 person-years of employment in Ontario. Using data from official sources (i.e., IESO, OPA, Statistics Canada), peer reviewed studies and other recognized sources, the ClearSky Advisors’ report is the first to provide a comprehensive analysis of the expected results from developing solar power in Ontario.

In the study, solar PV generation was found to produce 12 to 15 times the number of jobs created by non-renewable sources such as coal, natural gas, or nuclear. With approval rates trending toward 3,000MW of solar power capacity over the next 5 years, the increased costs from solar PV to the average Ontario household would amount to the equivalent of 0.7% of their electricity bills per year compared to other energy sources.

“When you consider the economic impacts of solar, it is clear that it creates far more jobs than any other energy source while also decreasing health and environmental costs. Solar energy does, however, cost more to ratepayers than the alternatives,” says Tim Wohlgemut, Co-Founder of ClearSky Advisors.  “The question to Ontario households is whether the job creation, lessened environmental impact and reduced healthcare expenses are worth the additional costs to their electricity bill.”

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