News from DSIRE: week of July 26, 2010

CALIFORNIA – Portions of California Solar Initiative Closed for Repairs
The California Solar Initiative provides rebates for PV systems under 30 kW and production incentives for larger PV systems. Greater incentives are available for systems owned by government entities and non-profits. With program funding draining more quickly than expected, the California Public Utilities Commission is temporarily suspending incentives for systems owned by government entities and non-profits, as well as all systems 30 kW or larger. The CPUC will be examining the potential of reducing these incentives so the program can stay on track to achieve its capacity goals. It anticipates fully re-opening the program in September.

CALIFORNIA – Solar Rebate Funds Runs Dry at PUD
Truckee Donner PUD has reserved a certain amount of funding annually for its PV rebate program, which has a lifespan of 10 years. All 2010 funding has been fully reserved.  Customers may still apply for incentives under this program, but eligible projects will receive rebates at the 2011 funding level.

CALIFORNIA – Sonoma County Maintains PACE
In response to a recent statement issued by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, most cities and counties engaged in PACE financing, including Sonoma County, have temporarily suspended their PACE programs. On July 13, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted to re-open the county’s program and continue accepting new applications. Sonoma County’s PACE program has financed over 1,000 projects, totaling $34.5 million, since its inception.

DELAWARE – Residential Wind Access, Permitting Fortified
In 2009, Delaware enacted legislation prohibiting public and private restrictions that do not allow or that unreasonably restrict the installation of wind turbines at residential properties. As originally written, the law exempted any such restrictions put in place prior to August 8, 2009. In 2010 the state amended the law by applying it to all county or municipal zoning restrictions, regardless of when they were adopted, and to specify that residential wind energy systems do not require a conditional use or other zoning review process.

IDAHO – Avista Net Metering Cap Quadrupled
In July 2010, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission approved changes to Avista Utilities’ net metering program. Previously, individual system capacity was limited to 25 kW in Avista’s territory. In July 2010, the PUC agreed to allow systems up to 100 kW to net meter. This change puts Avista in line with Idaho’s other two investor-owned utilities (which already allowed net metering for commercial systems up to 100 kW) and with Avista’s net metering program in Washington.

MISSOURI – PACE Legislation Enacted
Local governments in Missouri are now authorized to form Clean Energy Development Boards to offer property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing programs to local residents. The law allows counties, cities, incorporated towns, and villages to create PACE programs that support energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements on both public and private residential and non-residential properties. Municipalities may create these programs individually, or they may partner with other municipalities to develop joint programs. Almost half of all U.S. states have now authorized PACE financing.

NEW HAMPSIRE – PACE Legislation Enacted Here, Too
New Hampshire enacted legislation in June 2010 (H.B. 1554) that authorized cities, towns and villages to create energy efficiency and clean energy districts in order to offer property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing to private property owners. Almost half of all U.S. states have now authorized PACE financing.

NEW JERSEY – PSE&G Solar Loans Extended to Larger Project
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities recently approved a request by PSE&G to modify the utility’s Solar Loan II program by increasing the maximum eligible system size from 500 kW to 2,000 kW. The BPU’s order also allows PSE&G to revise the existing program structure by defining loan allocations and SREC price floors for different sectors and system sizes in order to accommodate the newly eligible class of systems. PSE&G is required to work with several other industry stakeholders to develop additional rules clarifying how program oversubscriptions for the new class of systems will be addressed.

PENNSYLVANIA – Residential Solar Rebates Reduced
The Pennsylvania Sunshine solar rebate program uses a declining block incentive structure, where rebate levels “step down” periodically as rebate approvals meet certain capacity benchmarks (i.e., 10 MW per step). In July 2010, the residential portion of the program reached the second capacity benchmark, triggering a rebate from $1.75/W to $1.25/W. The program is now in the third of four total incentive level steps.


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