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Ontario solar market expected to decline

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CALGARY—Solar industry participants say they expect more investment to flow to Alberta and the United States in the wake of premier-elect Doug Ford's vow to axe Ontario's cap-and-trade system and the Green Ontario Fund consumer rebate program it fuels.

Exhibitors at the Solar Canada conference in Calgary, which is being held outside of Ontario for the first time in it 20-year history, say the decision means they expect to do less solar energy-related business in Ontario.

Todd Marron, North American sales manager for Toronto-based SolarWall, which makes solar-heating systems for buildings, said his company was poised for “explosive growth” in Ontario but now will concentrate on finding contracts in the U.S. or Alberta.

Peter Aulich, CEO of Toronto-based KB Racking, noted he expects the Ontario market for his company's solar array mounting systems will slow down considerably over the next few years because of the Ford government's moves.

Alberta Infrastructure minister Sandra Jansen said during a speech at the conference that Alberta is preparing new rules for an upcoming renewable energy procurement process that will encourage solar electricity proposals after a previous round selected only wind power projects.

But Canadian Solar Industries Association chairman Thomas Timmins says the industry in Ontario is strong enough, and the cost of solar power has declined to the point that it will be able to survive without government aid.

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