Renewable energy is energy from natural resources that can be naturally replenished or renewed within a human lifespan. The renewable component of Ontario's generating capacity is estimated to grow from 31% in 2013 to 46% in 2025. Kingston is home to SWITCH, a not-for-profit networking hub offering technical information and business advice for those involved in alternative energy including these outlined below.

Solar Energy

About 2% of Ontario's generating capacity comes from Solar PV (see Ontario's Long-term Energy Plan for projections). Solar energy provides lighting and heat for buildings and can be used to produce electricity. By strategically orienting our buildings and their windows it is possible to take advantage of the sun for lighting and space heating to significantly reduce the use of electrical or mechanical equipment. This is referred to as passive solar energy. Solar energy is also used to generate electricity using solar PV or to heat water.

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Wind Energy

About 6% of Ontario's generating capacity comes from Solar PV (see Ontario's Long-term Energy Plan for projections). According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association, Ontario is a leader in new installations of wind energy, with more than 470 MW of new capacity delivered in 2013, worth more than $1 billion in new investments.

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About 1% of Ontario's generating capacity comes from bio-energy (see Ontario's Long-term Energy Plan for projections). Bio-energy comes from biomass, a biological material which has stored sunlight in the form of chemical energy. While several types of biomass can be used to produce energy, the most commonly used type of biomass is wood. Wood and wood waste can be combusted to produce heat or to produce steam for electricity generation. Through the biological decomposition of organic material in the absence of oxygen (anaerobic digestion), methane can be produced from solid landfill waste or other biomass materials such as sewage, manure and agricultural waste.

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Hydroelectric Energy

About 22% of Ontario's generating capacity comes from hydroelectric (see Ontario's Long-term Energy Plan for projections). To produce hydroelectricity, water flow is directed at the blades of a turbine, making it spin, which causes an electrical generator connected to the turbine to spin thereby generating electricity. Since the amount of energy generated is dependent on the speed and volume of water, hydroelectric stations are usually build at waterfalls or steep inclines.

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Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is captured from the heat stored beneath the earth's surface.  During the winter the ground is water than the outside air and during the summer the ground is cooler than the outside air. Geothermal energy takes advantage of this temperature differential between the outside air and the ground.

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Become an Renewable Energy Electricity Power Generator

The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) has two Feed-In Tariff (FIT) programs (micro FIT and FIT) to increase the renewable energy production (solar PV, wind, water and bioenergy) of electricity within the province. Micro-FIT refers to projects 10 kW or less and FIT refers to projects that are greater than 10 kW.  The OPA pays the electricity generator for the energy produced. Visit the OPA micro-FIT and FIT pages for more information.

To enable FIT installations the City has developed the Support in Principal for Roof Top Solar Applications Bylaw as well as the Landscaping and Site Design Guidelines for Large-Scale, Ground-Oriented Solar Energy Facilities.

Micro-FIT: provides homeowners and other eligible participants with the opportunity to develop a small electricity generation project (10 kilowatts (kW) or less in size) on their property from renewable sources (solar photovoltaic, wind, water and bioenergy).  Participants are paid a guaranteed price over a 20-year term (40 years for waterpower projects) for all the electricity produced and delivered to the Ontario electricity grid. 

FIT: open to projects with a rated electricity generating capacity (on-shore wind, waterpower, renewable biomass, biogas, landfill gas and solar PV) greater than 10 kilowatts (kW) and generally up to 500 kW. Visit OPA's Development of Large Renewable Procurement page.