News from DSIRE: week of March 8, 2010

CALIFORNIANew Law Raises Roof for Net Metering
After running out time at the end of the 2009 session to increase the aggregate capacity of net metering, the California State Legislature fast-tracked Assembly Bill 510 at the start of the 2010 session. This bill, enacted at the end of February, raises the aggregate cap on net metering from 2.5% to 5.0%.

COLORADO – Holy Cross Trims Renewable Rebate Levels
Holy Cross Energy, a cooperative utility serving portions of Colorado, recently announced change to its renewable-energy rebate program. Rebates have been reduced from $2.00 per watt to $1.50 per watt, and the maximum incentive has been reduced from $12,000 to $9,000.

MARYLAND – New PV Grant Program Debuts
The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) has opened a grant program that provides an incentive of $1,000 per kilowatt (kW) to public entities that install PV systems on multiple sites. The program targets public entities with a portfolio of suitable, customer-owned project sites and requires that the host enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with a solar service provider. There are no explicit project size limits, but the MEA prefers that individual systems are 100 kW or greater in capacity, and that project portfolios are 500 kW or greater in aggregate capacity.

MINNESOTA – Xcel Energy Launches PV Rebate Program
Xcel Energy, which has operated a PV rebate program in Colorado for several years, has opened the Solar*Rewards program to Minnesota customers. This program offers an up-front incentive of $2.25 per watt to both residential and non-residential customers for PV systems up to 40 kilowatts (kW).  In return for the incentive, the customer is required to enter into a 20-year agreement that grants the utility ownership of the renewable energy certificates (RECs) produced by the system. Participants remain eligible to participate in net metering.

MINNESOTA – Fresh Batch of Solar Grants Available
The Solar Energy Legacy program, administered by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, provides grants to local governments for solar projects in parks and on trails of regional or statewide significance. The grants provide up to 75% of the cost of a qualifying photovoltaic (PV), solar water heating, or solar space heating project, with a maximum grant of $150,000. The deadline for grant applications under the current solicitation is May 28, 2010.

NEVADA – Pot Sweetened for Utility Renewables Rebates
Under the RenewableGenerations program, NV Energy, Nevada’s largest investor-owned utility, provides rebates for PV, wind and small hydro. In January 2010, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada approved new regulations for program, including changes to the application process and a new “step system” for reservations. NV Energy has announced the details of the revised program, featuring higher incentive levels and higher maximum incentives. NV Energy is currently accepting applications for wind and small hydro rebates, and will begin accepting applications for PV rebates on March 24, 2010.

NEW YORK – LIPA PV Rebate Structure Revised
Effective March 1, 2010, the Long Island Power Authority’s (LIPA) PV rebate program began operating under a declining block structure, whereby rebates automatically decline by $0.25 per watt with each additional megawatt (MW) of approved applications. This structure is currently authorized to provide funding for a total of four blocks (4 MW). Each 1-MW block includes all residential, commercial, and non-profit and government applications in aggregate. LIPA has also revised current rebate levels, reducing rebates for residential installations slightly from $2.75 per watt to $2.50 per watt, and modifying its tiered rebates for non-residential installations in such a way that some larger projects will now be eligible for somewhat larger rebates.

OREGON – New Legislation Impacts RPS
On March 4, 2010, Governor Ted Kulongoski signed new legislation (HB 3674) that makes existing biomass and municipal solid waste facilities eligible for compliance with Oregon’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS). Generally, renewable electricity generation facilities – including biomass facilities – that become operational on or after January 1, 1995, are eligible for Oregon’s RPS. Under the new law, pre-1995 biomass and municipal solid waste facilities are eligible for RPS compliance beginning in 2026.  Renewable energy certificates (RECs) from these facilities may be purchased prior to 2026, but may not be used for compliance until 2026. The current RPS (25% by 2025) will not be impacted by this legislation.


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