News from DSIRE–week of April 19, 2010

ARIZONA – Two Utilities Reduce Solar Rebates
Due to unexpectedly high demand for rebates, Arizona Public Service (APS) and Salt River Project (SRP) announced reductions in their rebate levels for certain solar installations in an effort to maintain program funding.  APS, regulated by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), filed a request with the ACC to reduce their rebates for residential PV and solar water heating systems.  The ACC approved this proposed reduction, effective April 1, 2010.  SRP (not regulated by the ACC) elected to reduce incentives offered for residential and commercial PV.  Another incentive reduction is scheduled for April 30, 2010.

CALIFORNIA – San Francisco Picks up the PACE
With the launch of GreenFinanceSF, San Francisco became the largest city in the U.S. to have a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program.  By leveraging bonds and ARRA funds, the city has a total of $150 million available to finance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in homes and businesses.  Homeowners can borrow up to $50,000 for eligible improvements and there is no maximum amount that businesses can borrow.  Loans are repaid through property taxes and the repayment period is tied to the expected useful life of the installed equipment, with a maximum repayment period of 20 years.

CALIFORNIA – State Rebates for Wind Increased
The Emerging Renewables Program, administered by the California Energy Commission (CEC), provides rebates for wind and fuel cells.  The CEC recently approved an increase in rebates offered to wind systems.  The rebate was previously $2.50/watt (W) for the first 7.5 kilowatts (kW) and $1.50/W for the next 22.5 kW.  The program now provides a rebate of $3.00/W for the first 10 kW and $1.50/W for the next 20 kW.

FLORIDA – Local Government Solar Water Heating Program Modified
Orange County’s existing solar water heating rebate program will be ending this month and transitioning to a new program that offers rebates for solar water heating, as well as energy efficiency technologies.  The new program will be based on federal stimulus funding.  Under the new rebate program, the $200 rebate will remain the same, but program requirements will change.

LOUISIANA – State Rebates for Solar Water Heating Available Soon
On April 24, 2010, Louisiana will begin offering a $150 rebate for solar water heating systems as part of the state’s Residential Energy-Efficient Appliance Rebate Program, which is funded by the federal stimulus bill. The program will offer rebates to a variety of energy-efficiency technologies; program funding is not exclusively available for solar water heating.

MAINE – Maine Enters the PACE Race
With the passage of LD 1717 in April 2010, Maine became the latest state to adopt property assessed clean energy (PACE) enabling legislation.  This bill authorizes municipalities to offer financing to property owners for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements and allows those property owners to pay back the loan via a special assessment on property taxes.  The law designates the Efficiency Maine Trust – the new entity that will coordinate the state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy programs beginning July 1, 2010 – to promulgate rules and set up program parameters for municipalities to follow.  While several provisions within the new law may create challenges for implementation, forthcoming rules issued by the Efficiency Maine Trust forthcoming rules could help municipalities overcome these challenges.

MASSACHUSETTS – Commonwealth Wind: Micro Wind Incentive Program Temporarily Halted
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center has announced changes to the Micro Wind Incentive Program and is seeking public comments through April 30, 2010. Once program revisions have been completed, it will be reactivated, likely in May 2010.

MASSACHUSETTS – DOER Offering Grants via the Green Communities Program
The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) is offering grants to cities and towns that are designated as a “Green Community”. In order to be designated as a “Green Community” and be eligible to receive a grant, there are five major milestones that must be achieved. The Green Communities Division within DOER will work with interested communities. The current grant period is open until May 28, 2010, and is funded with proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative auctions.

MINNESOTA – Commercial Solar Water Heating Rebate Program Re-Opened
The small business portion of the state Solar Water Heating Rebate Program is once again open to applications.  Small businesses are eligible for rebates of $25 per square foot of net aperture, up to the lesser of 25% of system cost or $25,000. The residential portion of the program re-opened in February 2010. Multi-family residential buildings (4+ units) are eligible for incentives under the small business portion of the program.

NEW YORK – PSC Expands Customer-Sited Tier of State RPS
The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) has issued an order defining goals and funding for the customer-sited tier (CST) of the state RPS through 2015.  The order provides a total of $279 million in funding for existing CST rebate programs and an additional $150 million for a new, separate program designed to increase the geographic balance of renewable energy development in the state. In total, the funding is expected to allow the CST to meet 7% of the incremental renewable energy generation required to meet the state’s overall RPS of 30% by 2015. In the same order the PSC also allowed solar water heating to be eligible for future CST program offerings.

SOUTH DAKOTA – New Property Tax Incentive for Renewables Created
South Dakota has enacted legislation (S.B. 58) establishing a new property tax incentive that replaces two existing property tax incentives for renewable energy. Facilities that generate electricity using wind, solar, hydro, hydrogen generated by another eligible resource, or biomass resources are eligible for this incentive, as are facilities that generate another form of energy using solar or geothermal resources. The first $50,000 or 70% of the assessed value of eligible property, whichever is greater, is exempt from real property tax. For geothermal systems that produce thermal energy, but not electricity, this exemption is limited to the first four continuous years for residential systems and to the first three continuous years for commercial systems. This new incentive takes effect July 1, 2010.

UTAH – Utility Rebate Program Fully Subscribed
Rocky Mountain Power offers rebates for a total of 107 kilowatts (kW) annually.  The utility program began accepting applications for their 2010 PV rebate program on February 15, 2010, and all funds for 2010 have now been claimed.

WISCONSIN – PACE Loans for Solar Now Available in Milwaukee
Residential solar water heating and photovoltaic installations in Milwaukee are now eligible for PACE loans through the recently unveiled Milwaukee Shines program.  Loans from $5,000 to $20,000 are available for terms of 5 to 15 years at an interest rate of Prime plus 2%. Homes must meet minimum efficiency requirements in order to qualify for a loan.  The initial $135,000 program budget is expected to be sufficient to provide loans to up to 12 new installations.

WYOMING – Modest Rebates Available for Solar Water Heating
As of April 15, 2010, Wyoming is offering a $150 rebate for solar water heating systems as part of the state’s Residential Energy-Efficient Appliance Rebate Program, which is funded by the federal stimulus bill. The program will offer rebates to a variety of energy-efficiency technologies; program funding is not exclusively available for solar water heating.


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