The number of new solar panel installations across Canada continues to grow, with a total of 14,600 installations announced in 2017.
While the numbers don’t show the full scope of the new solar industry, the industry has been growing quickly.
According to industry figures, solar panels have been installed in Ontario and B.C. since January 1.
According the latest statistics from the Ontario Energy Board, installations increased to 5,000 in 2017, up from 4,500 in 2016.
“We’re seeing more installations than we’ve seen in the past,” said Mike Cappel, executive director of the Solar Energy Industries Association of Ontario (SEIA).
“It’s a positive sign that the industry is getting back on track.”
Cappels data shows that the average price per watt of solar panels installed in the province increased by 15.4 per cent between the first quarter of 2017 and the second quarter of 2018.
That is nearly double the average annual increase of 12.3 per cent in the same period last year.
The average price of new panels in Ontario has more than tripled over the past three years, with solar panels on average selling for $1,800.
Ontario is the biggest market for solar panels, with more than 40 per cent of the world’s installed capacity.
According an industry study conducted by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the U.S. is leading the world in the number of solar installations.
The study estimated that about two-thirds of the solar power in the U, and almost half of the U., was installed in California.
The U.K. and China also have huge solar markets, with China installing nearly a quarter of the nation’s solar capacity.
The solar market is growing, but some experts are worried about how the technology is going to be regulated.
“It looks like there’s no regulatory certainty,” said Mark S. Schuster, an energy economist at the University of Michigan.
“You’re going to see some of the best solar companies in the world, some of their top executives will be taking a step back.
I think that’s going to have a very negative effect on the future of the industry.”
Solar panel manufacturers are lobbying to change the regulatory framework, with Solar Industry Canada (SIC) advocating for a system that requires companies to pay for any excess solar energy that they create.
The SIC wants to change existing rules to require that companies pay for excess power generated when a solar panel fails.
“The industry wants to take control of the process and make sure that this is done correctly,” said David Poynter, vice-president of communications for SIC.
“This is something that needs to be done by the companies themselves.”
SIC is also calling for an industry standard that requires that every solar panel have a minimum capacity and minimum price, but Poynnter said that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.
“There is no consensus in the industry that this standard will come to fruition,” said Poynanter.
“I think the industry needs to look at it and make some recommendations and take a look at what is appropriate for the market.”
Sic also wants to allow manufacturers to set up new facilities and to buy excess power from other companies, but that could be difficult to do with existing laws.
“Solar companies have to find ways to get around those things,” said Schuster.
“What’s going on with solar?
What’s going through the industry?”
Poyner said that some companies are starting to use solar panels to help generate revenue.
“A lot of people are starting solar to generate revenue, so I think it’s fair to say that solar is getting into some of those different sectors of the economy,” he said.
“But I think this will be an important test for the industry.
We’re not going to make it the norm.”
Solar panels will also play a big role in the fight against climate change.
The industry is already looking to diversify into other industries, including energy storage and renewable energy, but Schuster said that could have a negative impact on the overall sector.
“In a market that is growing at an incredible rate, I think the impact of the climate change and the impact on solar is going up,” he says.
“So, there’s going be a big opportunity for companies to diversification.”
The industry has already been working with other industries to find new ways to grow.
SIC also has a plan to create a solar rebate program.
“That’s something we’re going take advantage of because the industry doesn’t have the same revenue model that we do,” said Cappelt.
“When the industry grows and we get into more and more solar, we’re able to leverage that revenue to help other industries.”
But some are concerned about the industry’s potential impact on local communities.
“Our communities are seeing the economic impact of solar.
People are going to the malls, they’re going out to the farmers markets,