News from DSIRE: week of August 9, 2010

CALIFORNIA – CSI Incentives Back in Action
Two weeks after suspending incentives for PV systems larger than 30 kW and for all non-profit and government PV systems, the CPUC announced that it would again accept applications for such systems.  The CPUC suspended the program for these systems because the allocated budget was draining faster than anticipated. The CPUC had planned make changes to the program during the interim period and then to reopen the program under the new rules, but the commission instead reopened the program while the program is under revision. (It is expected that any program changes will be applied on a going-forward basis, as opposed to retroactively.)

DELAWARE – New Wave Net Metering Established
Fresh legislation enacted by Delaware (S.B. 267) will expand the state’s net-metering policy by: (1) allowing a customer to aggregate individual meters, (2) allowing customers to participate in net metering via a community-owned system, (3) allowing net-metered systems to provide up to 110% of a host customer’s expected aggregate electrical consumption, (4) extending net metering to leased systems and systems owned by third parties, and (5) extending net metering to fuel cells using non-renewable fuels. The new law requires the Delaware Public Service Commission and appropriate local regulatory authorities to adopt rules to implement these changes by July 1, 20

DELAWARE – Ground Solar Gains Equal Rights
Delaware’s solar rights legislation, enacted in 2009, applied only to roof-mounted systems. New legislation (S.B. 316) has extended the same protections to ground-mounted systems on residential lots of one-half acre or greater. The law allows reasonable restrictions on ground-mounted systems, including requirements for fencing, landscaping or other means of shielding the sight of systems from adjacent streets.

MASSACHUSETTS – Commonwealth Wind Incentives Evolve
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) announced several program modifications to its Micro Wind Initiative. The capacity-based portion of the rebate has not changed, but the performance-based portion of the rebate will be provided based on expected performance rather than actual production. Ninety percent of the rebate will be provided up-front; the remaining 10% will be provided after one year of reporting production data. Systems that perform better than expected will receive a bonus payment. In addition, the maximum incentive for public entities was raised from $100,000 to $130,000.   MassCEC also opened Block 4 of the Community-Scale Wind Initiative. The application deadline for this competitive grant is September 14. Feasibility studies as well as design and construction projects are eligible.

NEW JERSEY – Net Metering Limit Scrapped
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has removed the individual capacity limit – 2 MW – for a net-metered system. There is now no state individual capacity limit for net metering, but systems must be sized so that energy production does not exceed annual on-site energy consumption.

NORTH CAROLINA – Renewables Manufacturing Tax Credit Resurrected
North Carolina’s tax credit for manufacturers of renewable energy equipment expired at the end of 2005.  After a few failed attempts to renew it, the credit was reinstated by HB 1829 in August 2010. The credit is equal to 25% of eligible construction and equipment costs incurred in 2011, 2012 and 2013, with no cap.  Retooling of existing facilities also qualifies for the tax credit.

OREGON – Residential Energy Tax Credit Modified
In the past year, Oregon tightened the rules on the state’s Business Energy Tax Credit and recently tightened the rules on the state’s Residential Energy Tax Credit, as well. The new rules for the residential tax credit limit the credit to 50% of the “net cost.” Previously, the tax credit was calculated based on the installed cost of the system. The net cost is the installed cost minus the federal tax credit and any other state or utility incentives. While the way the tax credit is calculated will be applied to all renewable energy technologies, it primarily will impact small PV systems.

PUERTO RICO – Cartera de Energía Renovable
Puerto Rico has joined 29 U.S. states and the District of Columbia in adopting a renewables portfolio standard. Puerto Rico’s new standard calls for 20% renewable by 2035 (with interim goals of 12% by 2015 and 15% by 2020. The new law also establishes the Renewable Energy Commission, within the Energy Affairs Administration, to administer the RPS. A REC-trading system will be established; compliance begins in 2015.

TEXAS – Oncor PV Rebates Dry up
Despite a healthy 2010 budget of over $14 million, Oncor is no longer accepting new applications for its PV Incentive Program. Incentive levels were set at $1.75/W for non-residential systems (with a maximum rebate of $175,000) and $2.25/W for residential systems (with a maximum rebate of $22,500).


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