State & Stakeholder Newsletter April 22, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Volume #8, Issue #8

Editor: Jane Pulaski


The IREC State & Stakeholder Newsletter tracks a range of market-oriented news, services and outreach tools valuable to the renewable energy community. This free newsletter is distributed semi-monthly to email subscribers and published on IREC’s website. If you have comments or if you would like to submit a news item, email Jane Pulaski.

If you want the best news about what’s going on in the states and cities, get IREC’s State & Stakeholder newsletter.

Thanks for reading.


In this Issue…

–State/Local Headlines (IREC States, SAI cities, Interconnection/Net Metering)

–Interview of the Week: Solar in Santa Rosa/Solar Sonoma County: It’s a Countwide Affair

–Current and Best Practices: Solar News from Washington: It’s Another Mike Nelson Production

–irecusa.org Extra Extra: May 4, 2009 Telephone Seminar: Federal Solar Tax Incentive Q&A

–Grants/RFPs

–FYI

–Events

About this Newsletter/How to Subscribe


State/Local News

(1) CALIFORNIA – Sonoma Co. Offers Energy Financing via Property Taxes

Sonoma County has become the first county in California to adopt a program similar to those currently offered by the municipalities of Berkeley and Palm Desert. The Energy Independence Program allows Sonoma County residents and businesses to borrow money from the county to finance energy projects. The loan is repaid through a special assessment on the system owner’s property tax bills. Funds may be used to finance a wide variety of energy efficiency improvements and certain renewable energy systems including photovoltaics, solar water heating and geothermal heat pumps. (see DSIRE record) (see Interview of the Week: Solar in Santa Rosa/Solar Sonoma County: It’s a countywide affair)

(2) DELAWARE – DEC Reduces Incentives for PV, Wind

Along with Delmarva Power and Light and the state’s municipal utilities, the Delaware Electric Cooperative’s (DEC) Green Energy Program offers financial incentives for the installation of photovoltaics (PV), solar water heating, wind, fuel cells and geothermal heat pumps. The DEC recently decreased its incentive offering from up to 50% of a system’s costs to up to 33.3% of a system’s costs for PV and wind-electric systems. None of the other participating utilities has revised its incentive levels. DEC incentives remain the same for other technologies. (see DSIRE record)

(3) NEW MEXICO – Solar Market Development Tax Credit Amended

Until recently, a provision in New Mexico’s Solar Market Development Tax Credit rendered it unusable after the caps were lifted on the federal tax credit for residential solar-energy systems. SB 257 amended the state tax credit, lowering it to 10% of a system’s cost, but allowing it to be combined with the federal tax credit. As a result, photovoltaics, solar water heating and solar space heating are eligible for the tax credit, with a maximum credit of $9,000. (see DSIRE record)

(4) NEW MEXICO – Advanced Energy Tax Credit Expanded

Initiated in 2007, New Mexico’s Advanced Energy Tax Credit originally applied to solar thermal-electric facilities and certain coal-fired plants. Legislation recently enacted (SB 237) has extended the 6% credit to large-scale photovoltaic and geothermal-electric installations with a minimum capacity of one megawatt eligible for the 6% tax credit. The maximum credit is $60 million. (see DSIRE record)

(5) NORTH CAROLINA – Net Metering Improved by NCUC Order

The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) improved the state’s net-metering policy by extending net metering to systems up to one megawatt in capacity, removing the aggregate capacity limit for net metering, and allowing net metering for all systems that generate electricity using a renewable resource eligible for the state’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS). However, unless a customer takes service under an unfavorable time-of-use demand tariff, the customer must surrender all renewable energy credits (RECs) to the utility. (see DSIRE record)

(6) NORTH DAKOTA – Geothermal Tax Credit Now More Accessible

Due to legislation (H.B. 1277) recently enacted in North Dakota, a state tax credit for renewables is now more accessible for the purchase and installation of a geothermal-energy system. For other forms of renewables, the use of the tax credit is still limited to a small percentage of taxpayers. (see DSIRE record)

(7) OHIO – Non-Profit Offers Rebates for Residential SWH

With funding from the Sierra Club, Green Energy Ohio (GEO) is offering rebates to Ohio homeowners for solar water heating systems purchased and installed after April 1, 2009. The rebates are based on the projected energy output from the solar collectors. The maximum amount is $2,400 per applicant. Ohio educational institutions partnering with GEO to receive solar thermal training are also eligible for the rebate. (see DSIRE record)

(8) PENNSYLVANIA – PEDA Grant Program Re-Opened

Under a new solicitation, the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA) grant program is offering a total of $21 million to in-state businesses for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Grants are limited to $1.5 million per project, and applications must be received by May 29, 2009. Solar projects of 200 kilowatts or larger qualify for grants; smaller projects may apply for assistance through the forthcoming Pennsylvania Sunshine rebate program. (see DSIRE record)

(9) TVA – Green Power Switch Generation Partners Program Expanded, Enhanced

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has extended its Green Power Switch Generation Partners Program to renewable-energy systems up to one megawatt (MW) in capacity. The upfront incentive was raised from $500 to $1,000, and the structure of the production incentive increased slightly — to $0.12/kWh above the retail rate for solar systems and $0.03/kWh above the retail rate for all other renewables. Previously, only solar and wind were eligible; now, low-impact hydropower and biomass are also eligible. This program is offered by various TVA distributors in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. (see DSIRE record)

(10) WASHINGTON: Homeowner’s Associations Restricted from Prohibiting Solar

The Washington legislature has enacted legislation (S.B. 5136) forbidding homeowner’s associations from prohibiting the installation of solar energy panels. A homeowner’s association may issue guidelines related to visibility and aesthetic aspects of solar panel placement, but it may not prohibit a resident or owner from installing solar panels, provided that the solar panels meet certain criteria. Solar panels must meet local and state health and safety requirements. Solar water heating systems must be SRCC-certified (or certified by an equivalent national organization), and solar-electric systems must meet certain testing and performance standards. (see DSIRE record) (see Current and Best Practices: Solar News from Washington: It’s Another Mike Nelson Production)


Interview of the Week: Solar in Santa Rosa/Solar Sonoma County: It’s a countywide affair

What’s unique about Santa Rosa’s Solar America City goals,” said Santa Rosa Mayor Susan Gorin, “is that they’re not just the City of Santa Rosa; they’re goals for the entire County – its nine cities (Cloverdale, Cotati, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Sonoma, Santa Rosa and the Town of Windsor), and the County of Sonoma – 10 municipalities in all. MORE


Current and Best Practices: Solar News from Washington State: It’s Another Mike Nelson Production

HOA’s now can’t prohibit homeowners from installing solar, and a property tax assessment for solar. Mike Nelson’s at it again. MORE


irecusa.org Extra Extra! May 4, 2009 Telephone Seminar: Federal Solar Tax Incentive Question and Answer

The next IREC Telephone Seminar on Monday, May 4 at 2pm EDT (1pm CDT, noon MDT, 11am PDT, 10am Alaska, 8am Hawaii) will be conducted in a question and answer format and will address the Federal Solar Tax Incentives. The seminar will last for approximately 1 hour. This seminar is co-hosted by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) and the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA). MORE


Grants/RFPs

(11) We Energies Renewable Energy Research and Development (R&D) Grant Program

We Energies’ Renewable Energy Research and Development (R&D) Grant Program offers financial assistance through grants (up to a maximum award of $200,000) to conduct research on renewable energy technologies that results in the generation of electric energy, or to help demonstrate a renewable energy product associated with the production of renewable electricity. Grants are intended for research and development endeavors that will clearly advance a technology or product, and will clearly contribute positively to the renewable energy industry. Applications received on an on-going basis through 2009.

(12) DOE’s Green Power Network RFPs

A number of new renewables RFPs are posted at DOE’s Green Power Network. You can subscribe to receive RFP updates.

(13) NYSERDA Funding Opportunities

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has several Program Opportunity Notices (PONs) on the street. To see full details on any of these solicitations, visit the NYSERDA website and scroll through the listings to find them:

  • PON 1060, New York Energy Smart Loan Fundsm invites financial institutions to participate in and customers to apply for low interest financing for energy efficient improvements, new construction, and renewable technology projects. For information, contact NYSERDA at 866.NYSERDA or by email.

    Expiration: 7/31/09

  • PON 1098,Wind Incentives for Eligible Installers is a first-come, first-served Financial Incentives for small wind systems that offset customers’ electric usage (end-use). For information, contact NYSERDA at 866.NYSERDA or by email. Expires 12/31/09 or until funds are fully committed, whichever comes first.
  • PON 1050: Solar Electric Incentive Program provides cash incentives for the installation of new Solar Electric or Photovoltaic (PV) systems by Eligible Installers. For information, contact NYSERDA at 866.NYSERDA or by email.

    Expiration: 12/31/09

  • PON 1176: Renewable, Clean Energy, and Energy Efficiency Product Manufacturing Incentive Program offers $10M to expand the level of manufacturing of renewable, clean, and energy-efficient products in New York State. Proposals will be accepted through June 30, 2011 by 5:00pm (ET) or until funds run out, whichever is first. Proposals will be evaluated on a first come, first served basis as they are received. Contact Jennifer Harvey at (518) 862-1090, ext. 3264 or jlh@nyserda.org.

FYI

(14) Solar ABCs Seeks New Advisory Committee Members, Deadline TOMORROW

The Solar ABCs Steering Committee expects to add up to five new members and especially seeks nominations representing BIPV (and/or AC modules), utilities, and local government (such as Solar Cities representatives). To nominate yourself or someone else, send a letter to Larry Sherwood explaining your background and why you would like to serve on the Solar ABCs Advisory Committee. The deadline for nomination letters is extended to TOMORROW, April 23, 2009.

(15) DOE Issues RFI for Solar Policy and Analysis Regional Centers

The Solar Policy and Analysis Regional Centers RFI seeks input on a proposed strategy of creating Solar Policy and Analysis Regional Centers around the country that would fill the need for timely local and regional policy research and analysis supporting solar commercialization.

(16) NABCEP Announces Updated Solar PV Installer Certification Eligibility Requirements

Recognizing the dynamic nature of the renewable energy industry, NABCEP’s Board of Directors has updated the training-related eligibility criteria a candidate must meet in order to sit for the Solar PV Installer Certification Exam.

(17) NREL Highlights Utility Green Power Leaders

According to the NREL analysis, more than 850 utilities across the United States now offer green power programs. Green power sales in 2008 increased by about 20 percent over 2007, and they represent more than 5 percent of total electricity sales for some of the most popular programs. Wind is the primary source of electricity generated for green energy programs nationwide.

(18) TREIA to Offer PV and Solar Thermal Training with Brooks and Guiney on April 24-25th

They’re not a musical duo, but Bill Brooks and Bil Guiney will be in Austin for two days of PV and solar thermal workshops with current information on installation and code compliance for photovoltaic and solar thermal systems for installers, inspectors, engineers, plumbers, electricians, architects, plan checkers, fire officials and others. Special discount rates available for TREIA members.


EVENTS Calendar

For a full listing of events, click the calendar icon on the IREC home page.


About this Newsletter/How to Subscribe

The State & Stakeholder Newsletter is published electronically on a semi-monthly basis by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc.. To subscribe to this newsletter, click here and follow the instructions. There is no fee for subscriptions. If you have comments or news items, please send them to Jane Pulaski.

Disclaimer: The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) does not assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product or process that is referred to or linked to in this newsletter. Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply IREC’s endorsement or recommendation.

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