News from DSIRE: week of May 3, 2010

CALIFORNIA – Solar Water Heating Rebates Available, at Long Last
Legislation (AB 1470) enacted in 2007 authorized the creation of a $350 million solar water heating rebate program through the California Solar Initiative. The law required solid data to be analyzed from a pilot program administered in San Diego by the California Center for Sustainable Energy before the CPUC designed the statewide program. The broader program has now been developed. Effective May 1, applications are available for systems installed on single-family homes. Only customers of one of the state’s investor-owned electric or natural gas utilities may participate, and solar water heater must replace a water heater powered by either natural gas or electricity. The CPUC anticipates that incentives will be available to commercial and multi-family residential customers on June 1, 2010.

COLORADO – Fresh Renewables Rebate Program Uncorked
Tapping funding from the federal stimulus act, the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) launched a new statewide renewable incentive program on April 21. While funds are available, homeowners and businesses can apply for rebates for PV, solar water heating and wind systems. (Customers of Xcel Energy and Black Hills Energy are not eligible for PV rebates because both utilities already offer them.)  Customers of other utilities that offer rebates may still apply for GEO rebates, but the rebate will be reduced.

COLORADO – Co-Op Offers PV Rebates
Armed with $25,000, Poudre Valley REC launched a PV rebate program on April 21, coinciding with the new state rebate program for renewables. The utility is providing rebates of $1.50/W, with a maximum rebate of $4,500. 

IDAHO – State Caps PV Loans at $15,000
Loans for PV systems under Idaho’s Low-Interest Energy Loan Program are now limited to $15,000.  However, unlike other technologies, PV projects are not required to demonstrate a payback period of less than 15 years to be eligible for a loan under this program.

KENTUCKY – Stimulus-Funded Rebate Program Kicks off
Kentucky chose to use its allocation under the State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program (SEEARP), which is funded by the federal stimulus act, to provide $400 rebates for a wide variety of technologies, including solar hot water heaters and geothermal heat pumps. New systems must replace existing hot water heaters or heat pumps. It is expected that funding will be fully allocated soon.

NEVADA – PV Rebates:  Now You See Them, Now You Don’t
NV Energy, an investor-owned utility, began accepting applications for program year 2010-2011 for the SolarGenerations program on April 21.  The program had enough funding to award rebates for 13.4 megawatts (MW) of PV capacity.  Within six hours, NV Energy had received applications totaling 34.8 MW of capacity.  Just as quickly as it started, the program is now closed, and NV Energy is not accepting any more applications until the next program year begins.

NEW HAMPSIRE – PUC Solar Thermal Incentives Now Available
The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission is leveraging funds from the state Renewable Energy Fund, which is funded via alternative compliance payments made under the state’s RPS, and the State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program (SEEARP), which is funded by the federal stimulus act, to provide rebates of up to $1,650 for solar water heaters and solar space-heating systems. With almost $1 million in funding, the NH PUC expects to support the installation of at least 660 systems.

SOUTH CAROLINA – Solar Rebates Snapped Up
As part of South Carolina’s State Energy-Efficient Appliance Rebate Program, which is funded by the federal stimulus act, rebates for solar water heating systems were offered for a short period of time. The rebate program opened on March 31, 2010. Rebates for large appliances, including solar water heaters, were completely subscribed by April 1, 2010. (Check the program summary to determine the availability of rebates for smaller household appliances.)

UTAH – New Renewables Rebate Program Unveiled
On April 19, the Utah State Energy Program launched a statewide incentive program for renewable energy. With $3 million in federal stimulus funding, the program is providing rebates for PV, solar water heating and wind.

UTAH – Interconnection Rules Take Effect
Final interconnection rules adopted by the Utah Public Service Commission took effect on April 30.  The new rules apply to systems up to 20 MW and feature three levels of interconnection based on system complexity.

VERMONT – Small-Scale Renewables Rebates Resuscitated
Vermont’s Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) has allocated over $5 million from the federal stimulus act to provide rebates for small-scale renewables, including PV, solar water heaters, wind and micro-hydro projects. Rebate levels vary for residential and commercial systems; levels are higher for public and non-profits. The program is designed such that once certain program milestones are met, rebate levels are reduced. Vermont has been incentivizing small-scale renewable under this program since 2003 and has supported 1,300 systems to date.


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