News from DSIRE, week of 8/23/10

DELAWARE – RPS, PV Carve-Out Expanded
In July 2010, Delaware enacted legislation establishing ultimate RPS compliance targets of 25% renewables, including 3.5% PV, by 2026. Prior to these amendments, Delaware’s RPS required 20% renewables, including roughly 2% PV, by 2020. The amendments also significantly accelerated the schedule of annual benchmarks for the PV carve-out in the early years of the RPS, increased solar alternative compliance payment levels, introduced compliance multipliers for Delaware-sourced equipment and labor, and made minor modifications to the general renewables requirement.

FLORIDA – Muni Brandishes Solar Rebates
Ocala Utility Services has initiated a new rebate program for solar water heating that provides $450 per system. The system must be installed by a licensed Florida contractor and must replace an electric water heater.

ILLINOIS – New Solar Carve-Out Provisions Evoke Industry Drool
Illinois has enacted legislation (H.B. 6202) that accelerates the solar carve-out within the state’s RPS, which requires 25% renewables by 2025, for Ameren and ComEd. As a result, for these two utilities, solar must account for 0.5% of the RPS by 2012, 1.5% by 2013, 3% by 2014 and 6% by 2015 (and subsequent years). The previous carve-out required that solar account for 6% of the RPS by 2015 without any ramp-up period.

ILLINOIS – Residential Right to Bear Solar Established
Illinois also enacted legislation (H.B. 5429) that prohibits homeowners’ associations, common interest community associations and condominium unit owners’ associations from preventing homeowners from using or installing solar energy systems. These associations may not deny homeowners permission to install solar energy systems, but they may specify the location of the solar energy system, provided such specifications do not “impair the effective operation” of the system.

MASSACHUSETTS – Bay State Joins The Pace Race
Massachusetts has become the latest state to authorize local governments to provide PACE financing to property owners. Legislation (H.B. 4877) enacted in July allows local governments to establish an “Energy Revolving Loan Fund” to provide financing to private property owners (including condominium owners, as long as the improvements include part of the common areas/facilities) for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements.

MASSACHUSETTS – Larger Solar Facilities Eligible for RPS
The maximum capacity of a system eligible to qualify for the solar carve-out within the Massachusetts RPS has been raised from 2 MW to 6 MW. New regulations must be adopted to implement this change, effected by legislation (S.B. 2582) enacted in August.

NEW YORK – PV Incentives Funded Through 2015
NYSERDA’s PV incentive program supports New York’s goal for customer-sited PV systems under the state’s RPS. Under new Program Opportunity Notice (PON) 2112, the incentive is now set at $1.75/W for residential systems up to 7 kW, commercial systems up to 50 kW, and non-profit or government systems up to 25 kW. Incentives may not exceed 40% of the out-of-pocket cost of the system after any available tax credits have been claimed. PON 2112 establishes the program through 2015 with $2 million per month in funding, totaling $144 million in funding over the life of the program.

NEW YORK – LIPA Reduces Residential PV Rebates
LIPA has reduced incentive levels for its popular residential Solar Pioneer PV incentive program, from $2.00/W to $1.75/W, and set funding cycles for the remainder of 2010. The first funding cycle began August 16, 2010, with a total of 500 kW in available capacity. The second cycle will begin October 1, 2010, with an additional 500 kW in capacity. When a capacity allocation is fully reserved, the program will cease to accept applications. Incentives and capacity allocations for commercial, non-profit and government systems remain unchanged since May 2010.

NORTH CAROLINA – Lawmakers Can’t Keep Hands off Renewables Tax Credit
Following two previous adjustments to the state’s generous renewable energy tax credit during this legislative session, a third bill enacted in August extended the 35% credit to CHP facilities. In addition, the credit cap for eligible renewable energy projects constructed at an “eco-industrial park” was raised to $5 million. The credit cap for other eligible commercial facilities, including CHP, is $2.5 million.

NORTH CAROLINA – Credit Multiplier Established for Certain Renewables
Legislation enacted in August (S.B. 886) provides triple credit, for RPS compliance purposes, for RECs generated by biomass facilities located at “cleanfields renewable energy demonstration parks” in North Carolina.

PUERTO RICO – Solar Tax Credits: Now You See Them…
Puerto Rico has tossed out the generous solar tax credits it established in 2008. Instead, Puerto Rico’s new Green Energy Fund and several new financial incentives will support renewables in 2011. (These new incentives will be included in DSIRE after Puerto Rico’s Energy Affairs Administration promulgates rules to implement the incentives.)

PUERTO RICO – Sales & Use Tax Exemption Expanded
Puerto Rico’s Green Incentives Law (C2610), enacted in July, extended an existing sales and use tax exemption for solar energy to “green energy” technologies and energy-efficient equipment certified by the Energy Affairs Administration of Puerto Rico.

TENNESSEE – Commercial Solar Grants Announced; $4.5 Million Still on Table
The Tennessee Solar Institute has announced grant recipients for half of the $9 million reserved for non-residential PV installations through the Solar Installation Grant program.  This first round of the Solar Installation Grant program (part of the $62.5 million, ARRA-funded Volunteer State Solar Initiative) is expected to fund 2.8 MW of new PV in Tennessee. The program began accepting applications in June, and all projects must be built by December 31, 2011. The remaining funds provide $1/W – $2/W for systems up to 200 kW on a first-come, first-served basis.


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