MicroFIT website offers tips and advice

March 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

A Tilbury resident continues to feel burned by a solar panel company.

Randy Frankfurth says Windsor-based Trans Canada Solar still hasn’t followed through on a promise made a week ago to return $30,000 it drew several weeks ago on a $65,000 bank loan it secured for him to purchase solar panels that have yet to be installed.

Frankfurth contacted The Chatham Daily News in late February about the situation with the company. He said a company representative from Trans Canada Solar came to his house a week ago and promised the money would be returned to the bank so Frankfurth could close out the loan.

As has been the case in the past, Frankfurth said he hasn’t been able to reach company representatives to find out when the money will be returned.

“It’s an everyday thought for me,” he said, adding, “I’m responsible for money I don’t really have.”

A reason for the delay in the project was due to fact Trans Canada couldn’t get a contract with the Ontario Power Authority, through it’s microFIT 2.0 program, to purchase the electricity the solar panels will produce.

Art Jankowski, Trans Canada Solar general manager, called The Daily News a few weeks ago, after doing an interview the previous day, and said an OPA contract had been approved for Frankfurth’s property.

However, Frankfurth said Trans Canada Solar has, so far, refused to give him the user name and password for the microFIT contract on his Tilbury home. He added Trans Canada Solar also doesn’t have his correct e-mail on the microFIT contract.

The Daily News made several attempts to reach Jankowski on Wednesday. Trans Canada Solar had a representative call on Wednesday to say the company planned to contact their lawyer to assess their options and would respond to The Daily News next week.

Frankfurth said he just wants out of this deal, because he doesn’t want to do business with people “I do not trust.”

He added, “better regulations need to be in place to protect consumers.”

The Daily News contacted the OPA about this situation.

Tim Butters, OPA spokesperson, told The Daily News in an e-mail that the microFIT program is a standard offer procurement, which is intended to provide a straightforward and streamlined way to contract for renewable energy generation.

“The OPA takes great efforts to administer the program in a fair and transparent manner, while maintaining the privacy and commercial considerations of our applicants,” he said.

Butters noted when an agent or supplier applies to the microFIT program on behalf of a participant, the OPA ensures that proper authorization has been provided, which includes a signed declaration authorizing the representative to work on behalf of the applicant throughout the OPA procurement process.

He said there are many different models under which people participate in the microFIT program. Many people contracting directly with the OPA and some lease their roofs to solar companies, he said.

“If there is a contractual relationship outside of the microFIT contracting process, it is at the discretion of the individual,” Butters said. “The OPA is not part of any arrangement that is entered into between a homeowner and a solar installer.”

He noted the OPA provides resources on the microFIT website (microfit.powerauthority.on.ca) to assist applicants to understand the program and their obligations. He added the the website offers potential questions an applicant may wish to ask when considering a supplier or installer.

“Participants are encouraged to conduct their due diligence before contracting with any third party,” Butters said.

As for getting out of this deal, Frankfurth said, “I’m still saying it’s a 50-50 chance.”




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