State & Stakeholder Newsletter, January 13, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Volume #9, Issue #1
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, read IREC’s State & Stakeholder newsletter.

From the editor:

Jane Pulaski

Happy new decade.   I hope your holidays were good ones and that you took some much deserved time off.  Even I unplugged (honest).  Though we slowed down some during the holidays, the renewable energy news didn’t.

January started out with a roar–big news from the Department of Labor: 25 awardees for its $100M Energy Training Partnership Grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).  Private non-profits applied under one of two categories:  (1) national labor­ management organizations with local networks; or (2) statewide or local nonprofit partnerships.   Austin’s Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (AEJATC), in partnership with Workforce Solutions/Capital Area and ImagineSolar, snagged a $4.8M grant that will combine utility-scale and commercial solar installation training with immediate employment opportunities in the Austin and San Antonio regions.  ImagineSolar’s Michael Kuhn anticipates some 1,000 workers will receive electrical and specialized solar installer training within the first 12 months of the contract.

The February/March issue of SolarPro Magazine features an interview with IREC’s Jane Weissman about workforce development and credentialing programs.  As 2010 begins, a record number of applications to the Institute for Sustainable Power (ISP) for accreditation and certification continue to stream into IREC.

The intricacies of the utility external disconnect switch (UEDS) issue are revealed by IREC’s Michael Sheehan, P.E., in concepts easy enough that even an English major like I can understand (thanks, Michael).   And the first IREC (free) webinar of 2010 on January 26 is on IREC’s Connecting to the Grid Guide (6th Edition).  There’s still time to register.

Is it really only January?  What a way to start the new decade.

In this Issue…

News from DSIRE

Workforce Development:  Jane Weissman talks about workforce development and training with SolarPro Magazine

ISPQ:  ISPQ Gaining Traction: record number of applications for renewable energy training programs accreditation and certified instructors

Feature:  DOL awards $12M for green workforce training; $4.8M goes to Austin, TX

Of Note:  Utility External Disconnect Switch: utilities that have opted to abolish it seen as following interconnection best practices

On our radar: news from states, Solar America Cities, and other solar stakeholders

Upcoming events

News from DSIRE


ARIZONACo-Op Unveils PV Performance Incentive, Reduces Rebate Level
Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative has made several changes to its SunWatts program for 2010. PV systems greater than 10 kW, all wind-energy systems and all biomass systems now must take the utility’s performance-based incentive, which offers different rates for on-grid and off-grid systems. PV systems up to 10 kW have the option of choosing an up-front rebate instead of the production incentive. For 2010, the rebate level has decreased from $4.00 per watt to $3.00 per watt.

SMUD, the municipal utility serving Sacramento, began accepting applications on January 4, 2010, for its feed-in tariff. All technologies eligible for California’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and CHP are eligible. Unlike some European feed-in tariffs that have a single, fixed rate, SMUD’s feed-in tariff varies depending on the time of day, the time of the year, the length of the contract and the production year. The program is limited to systems five megawatts or less, and the aggregate program cap is 100 MW.

CONNECTICUT – CCEF Offers Geothermal Heat Pump Rebates
With funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) is offering rebates for geothermal heat pump on a first-come, first-served basis for pre-approved systems installed after December 15, 2009. This incentive is available to individuals, business, not-for-profits, schools and institutions. Certain energy efficiency requirements must be met as a condition of eligibility.

ILLINOIS – Solar Funding for Schools Available
The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation is accepting applications, through March 27, for funding under the Solar Schools Program. This program has awarded approximately $1.4 million dollars to over 140 K-12 schools to install small (1 kW) PV systems.

MASSACHUSETTS – Solar Commonwealth II Details Emerge
Massachusetts has announced the anticipated funding levels of the state’s revitalized PV rebate program. Commonwealth Solar II will provide rebates for residential systems and commercial systems five kilowatts or less in capacity. The proposed new incentive levels are lower than the original Commonwealth Solar rebate levels. The original program closed in October 2009.

MISSOURI – AmerenUE Unveils PV Rebate Program
AmerenUE, an investor-owned utility operating in Missouri, offers customers a flat incentive of $2.00 per watt, up to $50,000, for qualifying PV systems. Systems must be grid-tied and net-metered, which effectively limits system capacity to 100 kW. This program sprang from 2008 Proposition C, a voter-approved, statewide ballot initiative that established Missouri’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and required the state’s investor-owned utilities to offer solar rebates of at least $2.00 per watt, beginning in 2010. Only systems installed on or after January 1, 2010, are eligible for incentives.

NEW JERSEY – Renewable Energy Incentives Revised
New Jersey’s renewable energy incentive program offers rebates for the installation of PV, wind, biomass, and fuel cell systems. The New Jersey Office of Clean Energy has issued a notice of 2010 PV program changes that include expanded energy-efficiency requirements for residential projects, the integration of energy efficiency into the commercial rebate structure, an allowance for residential systems larger than 10 kW to receive incentives under certain conditions, and revised solar incentives for newly constructed Energy Star Homes. In addition, the maximum incentive for wind energy was increased from $418,500 to $543,000.

NEW JERSEY – Improved Interconnection, Net Metering Rules Take Effect
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities recently adopted a rule that incorporates certain changes made by S.B. 2936, enacted in January 2008, as well as some additional improvements based on program experience. This rule took effect January 4, 2010. The amended net metering regulations extended net metering to large commercial and industrial customers, and to all Class I renewable energy systems. In addition, the new BPU rule separated interconnection standards from net metering in the state administrative code, extended the standards to systems larger than 2 MW, and added utility reporting requirements.

NEW YORK – LIPA Lowers PV Rebate Levels
The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) has reduced incentives for PV systems effective January 1, 2010.  LIPA’s program uses a tiered structure involving a capacity-based rebate amount that declines as systems get larger. Incentives for the residential and commercial first tiers (0 to 10 kW) have been reduced from $3.50 per watt to $2.75 per watt. Incentives for higher tiers and incentives for non-profits and government applicants remain the same.

NEW YORK – PV Incentives Reduced, Extended Six Months
New York’s state PV incentive program, administered by NYSERDA, offers rebates for residential, commercial, non-profit and government installations. Formerly scheduled to expire December 31, 2009, the program has been extended through June 30, 2010. In addition, effective January 11, 2010, all residential, commercial and non-profit incentives have been reduced to $1.75 per watt — up to five kW for residential installations, 50 kW for commercial installations, and 25 kW for non-profit and government installations.

OHIO – Final RPS Rules Adopted
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) issued final rules for Ohio’s Alternative Energy Resource Standard, which requires utilities to provide 25% of their retail electricity supply from alternative energy resources by 2025, as specified by legislation enacted in May 2008. PUCO’s rules provide additional details and clarification on Ohio’s standard, including a definition of “solar” (which was ambiguous in the legislation).

OREGON – Ashland Lowers Maximum PV Rebate
The City of Ashland Conservation Division offers a rebate of $2.25 per watt to residential customers and $1.00 per watt to commercial customers. On January 1, 2010, the maximum rebate amount per system decreased from $10,000 to $7,500.

Workforce Development

The February-March 2010 issue of SolarPro Magazine features an interview with IREC’s Jane Weissman who talks with SolarPro’s Managing Editor, Kathryn Houser, about workforce development and quality training opportunities for individuals and for training programs.  Read more.


During 2009, a record number of applications for accredited renewable energy training programs and certified instructors were submitted to ISPQ.  Read more.


On Tuesday, January 6th, the Department of Labor announced some $100 million in green jobs training grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), $12M of which was destined for three projects in Texas. Here in Austin, the Austin Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (AEJATC), in partnership with Workforce Solutions–Capital Area and ImagineSolar, snagged $4.8M of the $12M Texas money.  Read more.

Of note…

Mike Sheehan, P.E., works on state level rulemaking and workshops for IREC, and the UEDS is his particular area of expertise.  He’s a highly technical guy, and exceptionally adept at simplifying those technical details into easily understandable bits for the rest of us.  I wanted to understand the issues surrounding UEDS, so I asked him a few simple questions about it.  Read more.

— In June 2009, New Mexico considered the prickly issue of whether third party owners of distributed generation are public utilities.  As in other states, finding that third party owners are utilities would be equal to a prohibition of third party ownership, which would severely limit the potential for renewable energy in the state because many projects depend on third party ownership to monetize federal tax benefits.   In late December, the Public Regulation Commission voted 4-1 that companies that install, own and operate generation equipment on a customer’s property and sell the power to the customer aren’t considered to be a public utility.   “”We’ve spent a good part of the year trying to get third party ownership allowed in New Mexico and it just passed last week,” said Jason Keyes.

You can read the Keyes & Fox’s other top picks for states with interconnection and net metering best practices (Colorado, Utah, Virginia) in 2009 by clicking here.

On our radar

— Upcoming IREC webinar:  Connecting to the Grid Guide (January 26)
The next IREC Webinar will be held Tuesday, January 26, from 2:00-3:15 pm EST (1pm CST, noon MST, 11am PST, 10am Alaska, 9am Hawaii) on IREC’s 6th Edition of its Connecting to the Grid Guide.  There is no fee for this webinar, but pre-registration is required.  This seminar is designed to provide participants with a better understanding of the key issues in net metering and interconnection policies and the process behind rulemaking proceedings at state utilities commissions.  This webinar will also hit the highlights of IREC’s recently released Connecting to the Grid Guide, 6th edition, an important tool that is designed for state regulators and other policymakers, utilities, industry representatives and consumers interested in the development of state-level interconnection standards.

— Preliminary On-Line Registration Now Available for ASES 2010
Preliminary registration is now open and includes Conference, Solar Success and Public Day Registration. Additional registration options, such as workshops, tours and social events will be available mid-February. Register now and log back into your registration to add options.

— RETECH 2010
Join ACORE for its renewable energy technology conference and exhibition February 3-5 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

— Solar Leadership Summit April 21-22
SolarTech, in collaboration with partnering organizations like IREC, is holding its second annual summit in San Ramon, CA on April 21-22.  The Summit is an interactive event bringing together experts across many disciplines of the solar industry.  Registration opens January 15th.

— SEPA Welcomes New Staff Members
SEPA welcomes two new staffers:  Bart Krishnamoorthy, Research Associate, and Don Lintvet, SEPA’s Director of Marketing and Communications.

— News from MREA
It’s not too early to mark your calendars for MREA’s Energy Fair, June 18-20 in Custer, WI.   MREA has also posted its Workshop Calendar online. To register for photovoltaic, solar hot water, wind, renewable energy business, and alternative construction workshops, visit their website today:

— Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC) selects new Executive Director
SBIC has elected Bud DeFlaviis to serve as the Council’s new ED.  DeFlaviis was Director of Government Affairs for the U.S. Fuel Cell Council, a 100-member trade association, and also served as communications director for a senior senator in Washington, D.C.

— Smart Grid Virtual Summit 2010
Scheduled for March 18, the Summit will highlight the perspectives of leading utilities, technology companies, systems integrators, and regulators making the smart grid a reality. The focus will be on the business case for smart grids, how to implement effectively, standards and regulatory progress, and identifying new partnerships and business opportunities.  Registration fee:  $195.

Upcoming Events

1/14/10  Geothermal Energy Finance Forum 2010, Battery Park, NY

1/15/10   Deadline to submit applications for NABCEP solar PV and solar thermal certifying exams

2/3-2/5  RETECH 2010, Washington, DC, hosted by ACORE

2/17-2/19  CoSEIA Annual Conference & Expo, Lakewood, CO

3/9-3/11  NESEA BuildingEnergy10 Conference, Boston, MA

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 this newsletter.  If you have comments or news items, please send them to Jane Pulaski.

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