2015-01-16: Solar Nova Scotia Advises Provincial Government on Viability of Solar Energy

Halifax, NS, January 16, 2015 - Solar Nova Scotia (SNS) as a recognized stakeholder was invited to participate in the Electricity System Review conducted by the Nova Scotia Department of Energy. SNS submitted a 17 page report entitled "Solar Energy: Part of a Sustainable Future in Nova Scotia"

Summary:

Solar energy is here. Its growth is an inevitable outcome of private and public investment decisions.  For economic and environmental reasons, we must plan now for the long-term replacement of all fossil fuel generation with renewables. Our best chance to achieve that is to provide diverse solutions, which should include distributed solar photovoltaics (PV).

The growth rate in solar PV installed capacity in Nova Scotia has averaged 80% per year for the past five years. This represents exponential growth. In a possible future scenario, if a more modest 30% annual growth rate is sustained, installed solar PV capacity would reach 32 megawatts (MW) by 2030, and exceed 500 MW by 2050, or approximately 5% of 2013 electricity production in Nova Scotia.

Depending on one's assumptions about future increases in electricity rates, a solar PV system at 2014 prices can be an investment with an after tax internal rate of return between 2.3% and 6.6%. We calculate the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for solar PV to be in the range of $0.196 to $0.291 per kWh in Nova Scotia in 2014, not $0.35 per kWh, projected in 2020 as stated in the consultants' Technical Report.

We believe that an independent study of the grid integration needs for distributed solar PV has not been done for Nova Scotia, and it should be done within the next few years in anticipation of the continued growth in solar PV installations.

For every investment in a solar PV system in Nova Scotia, which is largely a private investment, a significant portion stays in Nova Scotia in the form of wages, contracted services, and local fabrication of components. The spin-off economic benefits from this are magnified within the local economy.

Subsidies for solar are only required to the extent that fossil fuel, nuclear, and other forms of energy continue to be subsidized by not paying for their externalized costs of pollution. Solar needs and deserves a level playing field, for example by introducing a carbon tax on fossil fuels.

If there will be opportunities to develop solar PV in Nova Scotia through the new renewables-to-retail legislation, much will depend on the conditions and regulations of the program, and especially on the tariffs established to be paid by renewable electricity generators for the use of transmission and distribution systems to reach their customers. 

Conclusion:

We believe that solar energy, the largest source of readily accessible and zero-emission energy on the planet, has a significant role to play in the development of the green economy and a truly sustainable energy for Nova Scotia. We look forward to working in partnership with the Nova Scotia government to facilitate the dawn of that future.

Report recommendations:

  1. Improve and facilitate access to enhanced net metering interconnection agreements.
  2. Start including plausible projections of solar electricity growth (and solar energy growth generally, including solar hot water and Passive Houses) in the models and planning processes for the electricity system.
  3. Pay careful attention to the opportunities and conditions for medium-scale solar PV developments in the Renewables-to-Retail regulations and transmission tariffs that are being developed.
  4. Support a comprehensive research project to study the regional economic opportunities presented by solar energy to Nova Scotia.
  5. Commission an independent study of grid integration needs for solar electricity.
  6. Enhance education of solar energy workers in Nova Scotia.

 

Quotes:

Gordon Wilkie, Chairperson of Solar Nova Scotia, stated:
"Solar energy in all its forms must be an integral part of a 100% renewable energy solution for Nova Scotia's future electricity needs.  A diverse mix of solar, wind, tidal and hydroelectric power sources represents the wisest, safest, and most reliable approach for a long-term replacement of energy from fossil fuels as we strive to halt the damage we are doing to our environment."

 

ABOUT SOLAR NOVA SCOTIA

 

Solar Nova Scotia is a non-profit group with more than 1000 members and a dedicated following of more than 500 on its Facebook discussion page.
We are a dedicated organization working collectively towards a common vision of a Nova Scotia that relies 100% on sustainable renewable energy supported by a vibrant local industry.
Our focus is to promote and facilitate the adoption of solar energy in Nova Scotia. We do so in a manner that is supportive of other jurisdictions, of all sources of sustainable renewable energy, and of conservation and efficiency.
Solar Nova Scotia was formed in 1980 and has since been actively advocating solar energy through public education, tours of installations, courses and events.

Associated Links

http://energy.novascotia.ca/electricity/electricity-system-review

http://solarns.ca/sites/all/solar/pdfs/SNS_Electricity_System_Review_Dec-2014.pdf

Contacts

Gordon Wilkie

Chairperson
Solar Nova Scotia

Telephone:                   902-433-5707

Email:                          chair@solarns.ca