State & Stakeholder Newsletter, January 27, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Volume #9, Issue #2
Editor: Jane Pulaski


The IREC State & Stakeholder Newsletter is a foremost resource for current information on workforce training, credentialing programs, state activities and best practices on renewable energy and energy efficiency. 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.  To subscribe to this newsletter, click here and follow the instructions.

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

I’d like to be a fly on the wall of the DSIRE office.  It’s not that I want to snoop; I just want to see what a typical day at DSIRE looks like (and stay out of their way).  I imagine the accomplished team of seven, led by Rusty Haynes, poring over dozens of websites, magazines, periodicals, newspapers, and newsletters, while fielding phone calls to track down information on more than 2,000 renewable energy and energy efficiency programs.  More than 200,000 unique visitors/month visit the site, looking for (and finding) comprehensive, up-to-date information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Did you catch those numbers?

DSIRE tracks information on more than 2,000 renewable energy and energy efficiency programs; more than 200,000 unique visitors/month on its website.

For this issue of IREC’s State & Stakeholder Newsletter, the DSIRE team sent news from 14 states.  From Sacramento, where one week after launching a feed-in tariff, SMUD announced that applications exceeded the new program’s aggregate capacity limit of 100 MW.   In Puerto Rico, four new programs were launched, thanks to federal stimulus funds.  Anecdotally, Puerto Rico’s ongoing efforts to promote solar and wind are catching the attention of developers.  High-fives to the State of Maine where shiny new interconnection standards are, according to Haynes, probably the best in the country.  “IREC deserves a dozen lobsters worth of credit for playing a key role in working with the commission to establish the new standards” (a special shout out to the regulatory wizards, Keyes and Fox, for this).   And earlier this month, an order from New York’s Public Service Commission expanded the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirement for investor-owned utilities from 25% by 2013 to 30% by 2015.    You won’t find this kind of valuable, timely information anywhere else.

I continue to be impressed with the quality (and quantity) of work from the DSIRE team.  Thanks, DSIRE, for all of the heavy lifting you do for the rest of us.


In this Issue…

News from DSIRE

ISPQ:  Revised ISPQ Standard to be Released Soon

Feature:  Community solar: power and ownership for you and me

Of Note:

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

Upcoming events


News from DSIRE

ALASKA – Net Metering Policy Takes Effect
Alaska’s new net metering policy took effect January 15, 2010. The Regulatory Commission of Alaska approved net-metering regulations in October 2009, but the lieutenant governor did not approve the regulations until January.  Systems up to 25 kW in capacity are eligible, with an aggregate cap of 1.5% of each utility’s retail sales from the previous year. Generally, utilities with annual retail sales of 5 million kWh or more are subject to the new regulations, although there are some exceptions.

ARIZONA – SRP Restructures PV Incentives
Salt River Project (SRP), and utility serving portions of Arizona, has made several changes to its EarthWise program for 2010.  PV systems over 50 kW in capacity must now take a performance-based incentive, with different rates for 10-year and 20-year contracts. PV systems less than 50 kW may receive an up-front, capacity-based rebate. The utility has also developed a schedule under which its incentives will decline annually through 2015.

CALIFORNIA – SMUD FIT Applications Exceed Program Goal
One week after launching a feed-in tariff, SMUD announced that applications have exceeded the new program’s aggregate capacity limit of 100 MW. However, SMUD is still accepting applications, which will be assigned an unreserved location in the queue. If a reserved project is canceled, an unreserved application may be accepted into the program.

CALIFORNIA – First Statewide Mandatory Green Building Code Adopted
The California Building Standards Commission (BSC) has adopted a final version of California’s new building code, CALGreen, which includes requirements for water efficiency, indoor air quality, recycling of construction waste, and other green building principles. The new code, which takes effect January 1, 2011, is based on California’s voluntary green building code, established in July 2008.

HAWAII – Solar Water Heater Rebates Decline
On February 1, 2010, rebate levels for Hawaii Energy’s solar water heating incentive program will decrease from $1,000 to $750. On a related note, SB 644 of 2008 and HB 1464 of 2009 require new residential construction projects to install solar water heating systems, with some exceptions, beginning January 1, 2010. As a result of this legislation, rebates are no longer offered to new residential construction projects.

MAINE – New Interconnection Standards Embrace IREC Model
Maine’s Public Utility Commission (PUC) has adopted strong interconnection standards for distributed generation. Maine’s new standards very closely resemble IREC’s model interconnection procedures, which espouse the best practices of state-level policies. With four levels of technical review, no required disconnect switch, and a clearly defined fee schedule and insurance schedule, Maine is sure to receive high marks in next year’s edition of Freeing the Grid.

MASSACHUSETTS – Bay State Vies to Become Solar State
After much anticipation, Massachusetts has issued emergency regulations establishing a solar carve-out – consisting solely of in-state PV — as part of the state’s renewable portfolio standard. The solar carve-out for 2010 is 30 MW; the overall solar carve-out is 400 MW. Along with the accompanying Solar Credit Clearinghouse market, the new solar carve-out is expected to rapidly accelerate PV deployment in Massachusetts.

MISSOURI – KCP&L Unveils PV Rebate Program
In response to regulatory requirements put in place by Proposition C, the 2008 ballot initiative that created Missouri’s renewable electricity standard, KCP&L is offering rebates of $2.00 per watt, up to $50,000, for the installation of net-metered PV systems. The net-metering requirement effectively limits system size to 100 kW, the maximum individual system size allowed under Missouri’s net-metering law. Rebates are available to Missouri customers of both the KCP&L Company and the KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Company (formerly Aquila) that receive electric service on any generally available rate schedule.

NEW YORK – RPS Expanded to 30% by 2015
In a January 2010 order, the New York Public Service Commission expanded the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirement for investor-owned utilities from 25% by 2013 to 30% by 2015. This decision is expected to require only a modest increase in renewable energy generation compared to the original projections made in 2004 for the 25% standard, because the revised projections incorporate a 15% reduction in energy use by 2015 under the state’s Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS).   The future of New York’s Customer-Sited Tier (CST) — and the accompanying incentive program for CST systems — was not addressed in the order, but the PSC anticipates taking further action on this aspect of the RPS in the coming months.

NEW YORK – PV Systems No Longer Eligible for Energy $mart Loans
New York’s Energy $mart Residential Loan Fund offers below-market financing to residential customers who make qualified energy-related home improvements, which formerly included the installation of PV systems and wind turbines supported by the Customer-Sited Tier incentive programs. Effective January 11, 2010, PV systems are no longer eligible for these loans, and the wind-energy incentive program is closed to new applications. In addition, the revised program in place for 2010 no longer offers loans for improvements made to commercial buildings.

OREGON – State Guidelines Issued for BETC Pass-Through Rate
Over the past few months, the Oregon Department of Energy has made changes to the state’s Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC).  BETC has a pass-through option that allows non-taxpaying entities and businesses without tax liability to take advantage of the tax credit.  Under the pass-through option, a project owner may transfer a tax credit to a pass-through partner in return for a lump-sum cash payment upon completion of the project.  The ODOE has issued guidelines, effective January 1, 2010, establishing a formula for the pass-through rate – the amount an individual or business pays to buy a tax credit.  The new rate is based on five-year U.S. Treasury notes and the urban Consumer Price Index for the west region, and should result in more money going to renewable energy project developers rather than pass-through partners.

PENNSYLVANIA – State PV Rebate Levels Reduced for Small Businesses
The Pennsylvania Sunshine solar rebate program is structured so that rebate levels are automatically reduced when certain installed capacity milestones are reached. In January 2010, the small business PV portion of the program reached the second milestone in the program schedule, thereby triggering a rebate reduction of $0.50 per watt for all system sizes. The current rebate level is now $1.25 per watt for the first 10 kW, $1.00 per watt for the next 90 kW, and $0.75 per watt for the next 100 kW. Rebates for residential PV systems and for all types of solar thermal systems remain unchanged.

PUERTO RICO – Nuevos Incentivos para la Energía Renovable
Puerto Rico’s State Energy Program has established four rebate programs to support renewable energy installations, using funding from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These rebates will be availableuntil September 30, 2010, or until funding is exhausted.

Puerto Rico – State Energy Program – Solar Water Heater Rebate Program

Puerto Rico – State Energy Program – Sun Energy Rebate Program

Puerto Rico – State Energy Program – Wind Energy Rebate Program

Puerto Rico – State Energy Program – Agricultural Renewable Energy Rebate Program

VERMONT – Small Renewables Incentive Program Gets Make-Over
Vermont’s small renewables incentive program, which supports solar water heating, PV, wind and micro-hydro projects, has been suspended. Current program funding has been fully subscribed; however, using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, additional incentives will become available in February under a revamped program. (Preliminary details on the program design are available, but changes are expected.)


ISPQ:  Revised ISPQ Standard to be Released Soon

In late October 2009, the Institute for Sustainable Power, Board of Directors approved an updated version of the ISPQ (Institute for Sustainable Power Quality) Standard.  Since then,  IREC has been working tirelessly to revise all of the documents and processes related to the ISPQ Accreditation & Certification Programs.  The new ISPQ Standard 01022 will include three significant changes.


Feature:  Community solar: power and ownership for you and me

At it simplest, community solar projects increase access to solar, whether you own or rent or have a business.  It doesn’t matter if your roof is shaded.   Community solar participants don’t have the usual up-front costs and longer term O&M costs.  The system is usually located in a highly visible public place, and participants receive credit on their electricity bills for the renewable power produced by the system.  I spoke with Keyes & Fox’s Joe Wiedman about IREC’s current work with community solar issues.  Community solar will be the topic of an upcoming IREC webinar.


Of note…

IREC’s Larry Sherwood was quoted in the 1/19/10 issue of the New York Times when asked about the amount of megawattts of solar that will be built in the U.S. in 2010.

IREC’s Net Metering and Interconnection Updated State Tables for January Available
State and utility net metering rules and interconnection standards for distributed generation (January 2010) are now available from IREC’s Connecting to the Grid Project.

Net Metering Customers in Michigan More than Doubles January 19, 2010
The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) staff filed its annual net metering program report, which shows that the number of net metering customers in Michigan has more than doubled from July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009.  The MPSC in May last year adopted net metering and interconnection rules for small, renewable electric generation projects onsite, as required by Public Act 295 of 2008. The report issued today said the number of net metering customers increased from 53 in the 2007-2008 year to 137 in the 2008-2009 period. Wind proved the most popular with the number of installations increasing from 29 to 96 during the period, while solar installations increased from 23 to 39 during the same time period. Customers are located throughout the state.  The entire report is available on the MPSC’s Web site michigan.gov/netmetering.

CPUC Decision Marks Open Season on SoCal Rooftop Solar Opportunity
On January 22, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) granted final approval to Southern California Edison (SCE) for an ambitious new rooftop solar program. The program will help SCE meet the state’s renewable goals with distributed solar energy systems, primarily located on large rooftops throughout SCE’s service territory. In total, the five-year program will add 250 MW of utility-owned solar and an additional 250 MW of competitively sourced solar from private developers.

New NREL Report on State-Level FITs
As states begin to consider implementing feed-in tariffs (FITs), they’re finding out that these FITs are preempted by federal law.  The transaction resulting from an FIT is a wholesale sale of electricity–from renewable seller to retail utility–and this sale triggers one of two federal statutes:  the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) or the Federal Power Act of 1935 (FPA).  To help states navigate these waters,  the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) asked the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to explore how states can lawfully implement feed-in tariffs.  IREC’s legal team–Jason Keyes, Joseph Wiedman, and Kevin Fox of the law firm Keyes and Fox–along with Wilson Rickerson and Chad Laurent of the Meister Consultants–reviewed this document.


On our radar

NYSERDA releases PON 1685 for Consumer Education Program for Residential Energy Efficiency
PON 1685 seeks proposals for the implementation of a statewide, energy efficiency and renewable education program to raise awareness, educate the general public, and increase the adoption of energy efficiency behaviors and practices at home, at work, and within communities.  Proposals due 2/24/10, 5 pm ET.  Contact Lori Clark at (518) 862-1090, ext.3202.

— 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.

ACORE’s RETECH 2010 for Industry Leaders and Leading Renewable Technologies
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 opened January 15th.

–MREA announces 2010 online workshop schedule
For more information on workshops and schedules, visit the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s website.

ASES accepting nominations for its Passive Pioneer Award
Since 1979, ASES has been honored those in the passive field who developed the theories, early research efforts, new concepts, and opportunities for later researchers to www.  Deadline to submit nominees is January 29th.


Upcoming Events

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

4/21-4/22  SolarTech Leadership Summit, San Ramon, CA


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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