Our friends at the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) have just released a new report.
The State Clean Energy Program Guide: A Review of Emerging State Finance Tools to Advance Solar Generation, by Charles Kubert and Mark Sinclair, provides an overview with examples of three creative finance tools states can use to support PV in the context of an existing RPS:
- solar set-asides
- feed-in tariffs; and
- reverse auction mechanisms
These tools, primarily targeted at commercial and utility-scale projects, can reduce the need for states to provide direct rebates and incentives to PV projects. These tools, if smartly designed, can allow states to build sustainable solar markets with programs that are economically efficient, reward PV system performance, allow for program continuity, advance market transformation and avoid rebate dependency.
CESA created this guide in response to the rapid growth in demand for solar PV. State incentives that have supported PV market growth are under pressure to meet the increasing demand. In some cases, state solar rebates have become fully subscribed within days of being offered. Traditional state renewable portfolio standards (RPS’s) – which have mainly be used to support least-cost renewables such as wind power – aren’t supporting PV technologies, except in the select cases where PV is cost-competitive (such as largest megawatt-scale projects in high-cost power markets such as California).
The authors contend that providing special treatment to PV projects in the context of an RPS is important if states are to build and maintain public support for their RPS programs, particularly in cases where solar is the most widely accessible in-state renewable energy resource.
Clean Energy Group
Clean Energy States Alliance
50 State Street, Suite 1
Montpelier, VT 05602
Phone: 802-223-2554 x 203