News from DSIRE: week of July 12, 2010

ALASKA – Renewables Grant Budget Slashed
Funding for the Alaska Energy Authority’s Renewable Energy Grant Program is estimated at $50 million per year. The AEA approved $50 million in projects for FY2011 (Round III of program funding), but the budget was cut in half by the governor. A new round (Round IV) of funding will open shortly; applications will be accepted between July 21, 2010, and September 15, 2010.  Projects accepted during the upcoming round will be funded during FY2012.

ARIZONA – State Stimulates Solar Water Heater Market
Using funds from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Arizona launched earlier this month the second phase of a state appliance rebate program. Under this round of funding, the state is providing $500 rebates for qualified solar water heaters, as well as rebates for other efficient appliances.

CALIFORNIA – San Francisco PV Rebate Program Revitalized
The city of San Francisco began offering rebates for residential, commercial and non-profit PV installations in June 2008. The program was recently injected with an addition $5 million in funds, which became available to applicants on July 1, 2010. This round of funding features slightly higher residential base incentives of $2,000, an increase from $1,000. Bonus incentives are also available to low-income homeowners or if the installer’s principal office is in San Francisco.

COLORADO – Co-Op Adjusts PV Rebate Program
La Plata Electric Association, an electric cooperative, has tinkered with its rebate program structure to better align the program with the typical load of a home or small business. The cooperative previously provided a rebate of $2.00/W, up to $3,000, but it now provides rebates of $0.70/W, up to $7,000. This change should encourage residential and small commercial customers to install larger systems capable of providing most or all of the electricity they consume. The cooperative also unveiled new (lower) rebate levels that will be offered in the future.

LOUISIANA – Solar Rights Established
Louisiana has enacted a solar rights law (HB 751) that prohibits unreasonable restrictions on property owners who seek to install solar collectors. Solar is generally defined to include PV, solar water heating systems, and any other system or device that uses sunlight as an energy source. While this law generally guarantees a property owner’s right to install solar collectors, there are some exceptions. Historic districts, historical preservations, and landmarks are excluded from this solar rights law.

MASSACHUSETTS – Déjà Vu: Commonwealth Solar II Rebates Available Again
Massachusetts’s Clean Energy Center has announced that the third block of funding for its popular Commonwealth Solar II program opened  July 9. A few minor adjustments and clarifications were made to the program guidelines, but otherwise, the rebate structure and current funding level remain. Each quarter, $1 million in funding is available; a total of $4 million in funding is available this year.

NEW JERSEY – PV Rebates Back in Action in September
New Jersey’s wildly popular PV rebate program has been closed to new applications since mid-May 2010. When the program re-opens on September 1, 2010, it will do so with an incentive amount of $0.75/W for all systems — up to 7.5 kW for residential customers, and up to 30 kW for non-profit and government customers. (For-profit customers are no longer eligible for rebates). Installations by non-profits or governments that use third-party power purchase agreements will not be eligible, but residential PPAs will be eligible for residential sector incentives.

UTAH – Sun Sets on Some Technologies in State Rebate Program
Utah began accepting applications for a stimulus-funded rebate program in April 2010. The funding for this program ($3 million) was split between PV, solar water heating and wind, with separate allocations for residential and non-residential applicants. All the money allocated for non-residential PV and residential wind has been reserved, and applications will no longer be accepted for those categories.

WEST VIRGINIA – Net Metering Supersized
The West Virginia Public Service Commission has adopted vastly improved net metering rules that will take effect in August. Not only did the commission raise the system capacity limits for commercial and industrial customers to 500 kW and 2 MW, respectively, but it also increased the overall program capacity to 3% of utility peak load. The new policy also allows for meter aggregation (within two miles of generation) and perpetual kWh rollover at the retail rate.

WEST VIRGINIA – Interconnection Standards Established
West Virginia has established interconnection standards for distributed generation that apply to all utilities in the state, raising the total number of U.S. states with such standards to 40 (plus DC and Puerto Rico). The standards establish two levels of review:  Level 1 applies to inverter-based systems up to 25 kW, and Level 2 applies to systems up to 2 MW that do not qualify for Level 1. The insurance requirements are reasonable.


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