'Assault on green energy:' Industry slams Doug Ford's decision to cancel incentives

Doug Ford's decision to cancel green incentive programs across Ontario has owners in the industry calling it an "assault on green energy" and a step in the wrong direction.

'If we were totally dependent on Ontario as a business, we would not exist anymore'

As a solar energy supplier, Unconquered Sun founder Sean Moore said the cancellation of green incentives is a step in the wrong direction. (Jason Viau/CBC)

Doug Ford's decision to cancel green incentive programs across Ontario has owners in the industry calling it an "assault on green energy" and a step in the wrong direction.

If we were totally dependent on Ontario as a business, we would not exist anymore.- Klaus  Dohring , president of Green Sun Rising

The owner of Green Sun Rising in Windsor said they'll definitely feel the pinch in the short-term since there's no longer government cash being dangled in front of consumers enticing them to go green.

"In the last few years the available business for a solar company within Ontario was insufficient to keep the boat floating," said Klaus Dohring, president of Green Sun Rising, which supplies solar systems.

"If we were totally dependent on Ontario as a business, we would not exist anymore," he said, adding this latest announcement has caused things to go from "terrible, to even more terrible."

Now, the company conducts most of their business outside of Ontario.

On Tuesday, Ford scrapped the GreenON program, which provided incentives like free smart thermostats to those looking to make their homes more energy efficient.

Ford delivering on promise

Ford's director of communications, Jeff Silverstein, said this is Ford delivering on a campaign promise.

"Doug Ford received a clear mandate from the people of Ontario to cancel Kathleen Wynne's cap-and-trade carbon tax and the slush fund that was paid for by the carbon tax," he said in an email statement.

Ontario Premier-designate Doug Ford speaks to the media during a break from the first meeting of the newly-elected Ontario PC Caucus at Queen's Park in Toronto on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin (Tijana Martin/Canadian Press)

Ford, who is set to be sworn in on June 29, has already announced plans to end Ontario's cap-and-trade program, which funded GreenON and a number of other initiatives. 

Over before it began

The newly-announced incentives from the Liberals had not been activated yet, after the previous rebates finished in December. Ford, as the premier-designate, put an end to it before it even started.

The end of the program — launched at the end of 2017 — means homeowners will lose the chance to qualify for thousands of dollars worth of rebates on a number of improvements, from windows to insulation to solar equipment.

'Assault on green energy'

While one solar energy supplier in Tecumseh calls Ford's move an "assault on green energy," Unconquered Sun's founder Sean Moore said he doesn't need incentives to sell his product.

"Solar energy is able to stand on its own two feet, just being sold on its merits and what it does for people and how it eliminates electrical costs," Moore said.

Exhibitors demonstrate a solar panel installation at the Solar Canada 2018 conference in Calgary. (Mark Matulis/Radio-Canada)

Incentives just 'icing on the cake'

None of Unconquered Sun's promotional material contained information about government incentives because those were considered "icing on the cake." Instead, his team pitches the fact that the monthly cost of solar panels is less than your hydro bill, which gets eliminated. That, he says, sells itself.

Mother Nature doesn't care about politics.- Klaus  Dohring , president of Green Sun Rising

Despite all of this, Moore said Ford's decision is still a "shot across the bow" and ultimately sets the province back when it comes to renewable energy and green initiatives — something Dohring wholeheartedly agrees with.

"Mother Nature doesn't care about politics," he said.

Federal greenhouse gas targets

The federal government has legislated targets when it comes to cutting greenhouse gas emissions that each province is required to comply with.

"What the Ford government is going to do is simply making it much harder for Canada to meet its target. To the degree Canada, and the world, fails to meet that target, Mother Nature and physics are going to be really, really harsh to us," Dohring said.

About the Author

Jason Viau

Jason Viau is a video journalist, TV host and radio newsreader at CBC Windsor. He was born in North Bay, but has lived in Windsor for most of his life. Since graduating from St. Clair College, he's worked in print, TV and radio. Email him at jason.viau@cbc.ca