News from DSIRE: week of June 28, 2010

COLORADO – PACE Financing Accelerated
Colorado enacted legislation in June that created a statewide improvement district for PACE financing. While cities and counties still have the option of choosing whether or not to implement a PACE program, the new law makes it easier for cities and counties to adopt and administer programs. The improvement district is authorized to issue up to $800 million in bonds to fund PACE financing programs. The new law also established many other rules to govern the design and function of future PACE programs financed by the improvement district.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA – Net Metering Rules Adopted for Systems up to 1 MW
In October 2008, the District of Columbia enacted legislation that, among other things, increased the capacity limit for net metering from 100 kW to 1 MW. In June 2010, the D.C. Public Service Commission issued final rules implementing this change and directed Pepco, the only utility that provides electric distribution service in the District, to file a revised net-metering tariff and contract within 30 days. Interestingly, while systems up to 100 kW still receive compensation for monthly net excess generation at the full retail rate, monthly credits for larger systems are limited to the generation rate (i.e., avoided cost).

FLORIDA – Sun Sets on Multiple Renewables Incentives
On June 30, 2010, four separate Florida incentives for renewable energy will expire:  the Solar Energy Incentives Program, the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit, the Renewable Energy Technologies Investment Tax Credit, and the Renewable Energy Equipment Sales Tax Exemption. The solar rebate program has been out of funding for months and will finally officially close, as was not reauthorized by the Florida Legislature.

MASSACHUSETTS – Two Solar Funding Blocks Down, Two to Go
The second block of funding for Massachusetts’s popular Commonwealth Solar II program has closed. The third block is scheduled to open in early July, according to program administrators. A $1 million block of funding is available per quarter, for a total of $4 million for the year.

MINNESOTA – Solar-Thermal Rebate Program Expanded
Minnesota is now offering rebates for solar space heating for larger multi-family residential buildings and small businesses. The program offers an incentive of $25 per square foot of net aperture (as determined by the SRCC), up to the lesser of 25% of the installed cost or $25,000. The single-family and smaller multi-family residential component of this program opened in March 2010.

NEW HAMPSHIRE – Net Metering Super-Sized
Legislation enacted in New Hampshire raised the system cap on net metering from 100 kW to 1 MW per system, and allows either owners or operators of an eligible system to net meter. The law takes effect in August. The New Hampshire Public Utilities must adopt modified regulations, so the state’s current net-metering policy will not change until the regulatory process is complete.

OHIO – PACE Financing Expanded to More Renewables, Efficiency
Last year, Ohio enacted legislation authorizing local governments to establish PACE financing programs for solar via the creation of a special energy improvement district. In June 2010, a new law added geothermal, wind, biomass and energy efficiency to the list of improvements that local governments may choose to promote through PACE financing. In addition, the maximum term for repayment by property owners was raised from 25 to 30 years.

OKLAHOMA – New Law Ices All Tax Credits
Faced with an ever-tightening budget, Oklahoma has enacted legislation establishing a two-year moratorium on all tax credits. Three renewables and efficiency-related tax credits will be affected:  a production tax credit for the generation of electricity from solar, geothermal, hydro, and wind energy; an investment tax credit for energy efficient homes; and a tax credit for manufacturers of small wind turbines. The moratorium takes effect July 1, 2010, and expires June 30, 2012.

Energy Efficient Residential Construction Tax Credit

Zero-Emission Facilities Production Tax Credit

Tax Credit for Manufacturers of Small Wind Turbines

PENNSYLVANIA – Solar Rebates Shine Again for Small Businesses
The Pennsylvania Sunshine solar rebate program offers rebates for the installation of PV and solar water heating systems on homes and small businesses. The small business PV program was closed to new applications in May 2010 when incentive reservations exceeded program targets; however, the program was recently re-opened with a total of $4 million in new funding. Rebate amounts remain at the levels authorized for the fourth and final step of the small business PV program, ranging from $0.25/W – $0.75/W, depending on system size.

TENNESSEE – Solar Institute Grants Available
Using money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the recently created Tennessee Solar Institute is offering grants on a first-come, first-served basis to companies and 501 (c)(3) non-profits for solar PV installations on non-residential buildings. Eligible systems must be at least 1 kW up to a maximum of 200 kW. There is a total of $9 million dollars available. The Tennessee Solar Institute is an initiative of the University of Tennessee and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

TVA – Generation Partners Program Undergoes Makeover
TVA’s performance-based incentive – the Generation Partners Program – was briefly closed to new applicants so the program could be restructured. This program is available to customers of TVA’s power distributors in seven states across the Southeast. The program has become increasingly popular recently, and program administrators chose to restructure the program in order to stabilize it. As a result, the maximum system size was reduced from 1 MW to 200 kW. The $1,000 upfront payment and the performance-based incentive level have not changed.

VERMONT – Wind Incentive Program Refurbished
Vermont has redesigned its wind incentive program, which now offers an up-front rebate plus a production incentive. Several other states base cash incentives for customer-sited renewables on production (actual or estimated) as well. Vermont’s wind incentive is part of the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program, which receives funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund.


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