News from DSIRE–week of 10/18/10

ARIZONA – SRP Offers Temporary Solution for PV Rebate Funding Woes
SRP announced in early-October that continued high-participation rates have nearly drained the funds available for the current funding year of their PV incentive program. Additional funds for their residential and small commercial PV rebates will not be available until the start of the next program year, May 1, 2011. But SRP has offered a temporary fix for customers unwilling to wait until the new funds become available. Customers may opt for a reduced rebate of $1/W, which is lower than what the utility will likely provide once the new program year commences.

ARIZONA – Another Utility’s PV Well Dries Up
APS recently announced that funding for its popular residential PV rebate program has been exhausted for the remainder of 2010. Additional funding will be available at the start of 2011. APS is currently accepting applications for residential PV rebates, but applications will not be confirmed or reserved until 2011.

CALIFORNIA – Emergency Rules Developed for Industry Recruitment
Legislation signed in March 2010 established an incentive designed to attract certain manufacturers to the state.  Expenses related to equipment used in the production of renewable energy, combined heat and power, and alternative transportation equipment may receive an exclusion from the state’s sales and use tax. Companies must apply to the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority to receive this exclusion. The authority issued emergency rules in early October to administer the program.

CONNECTICUT – Solar Thermal Incentives Get a Boost
The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) has increased incentives for its ARRA-funded solar thermal program. Residential systems are no longer capped and will now fund approximately 30% the cost of the system. The cap for commercial, industrial, and non-profit system was raised to $100,000. CCEF estimates that the program will support approximately 550 residential systems and 50 commercial/non-profit systems.

GEORGIA – Georgia Power Solar Program Increase Approved
The Georgia Public Service Commission has approved an increase in Georgia Power’s Solar Buyback Program. A capacity addition totaling 2.5 megawatts (MW) was approved; the first 1.5 MW will be purchased at $0.17 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for systems sized less than 100 kW and the remaining 1 MW will be purchased via a bidding process for less than or equal to $0.15/kWh with no project size restriction.

HAWAII – After Much Deliberation, PUC Approves Feed-in Tariff Rates
In September 2009, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued a decision that established a feed-in tariff in Hawaii. Since that time, the PUC and involved stakeholders have been working to finalize rules for the feed-in tariff. The rates for the feed-in tariff, schedule, and standard interconnection agreements were approved on October 13, 2010. There are three tiers for rates, with the tiers and rates differentiated by technology and system size. The maximum caps on system size vary by island and by technology. Rates range from $0.138/kWh to $0.269/kWh.

MASSACHUSETTS – Commonwealth Solar II Rebates Available
Massachusetts’s Clean Energy Center has announced that the fourth block of funding opened October 15.  Each quarter, $1 million in funding is available; a total of $4 million in funding is available this year.

MINNESOTA – State Unplugs Photovoltaic Rebate Program
The State of Minnesota’s PV Rebate Program is now fully subscribed and is no longer accepting rebate applications. There are no present plans to refund this renewable energy incentive in the future.

MINNESOTA – Xcel Accelerates Solar PV Incentives with “Minnesota Made” Provisions
Xcel Energy customers participating in the Solar*Rewards program in Minnesota can receive a bonus “Minnesota Made” rebate of up to $2.75 per watt (W-DC) in addition to the current $2.25/W-DC rebate. This bonus incentive is offered to customers that purchase a solar energy system manufactured in Minnesota. The regular rebate and bonus incentives can be combined for a total potential rebate of $5.00/W-DC.

NEW YORK – Revised Small Wind Incentives Available from NYSERDA
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is once again offering incentives for small wind installations of up to 600 kilowatts (kW) per site. The revised program offers an up-front incentive of $3.50 per expected annual kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy production for the first 10,000 kWh, $1.00 per annual kWh for the next 115,000 kWh and $0.30 per annual kWh for energy production in excess of 125,000 kWh. Incentives are capped at $400,000 or 50% of the installed cost of the system. The current solicitation, which has $3.2 million in funding, opened October 4, 2010 and is scheduled to expire June 30, 2011.

NEW YORK – LIPA Residential PV Rebate Program Closed for 2010
The LIPA Solar Pioneer Program has exhausted its 2010 funding and will be closed until January 1, 2011. The program had been scheduled to release three separate capacity blocks of 250 kilowatts (kW) at one month intervals beginning October 1, 2010, however program managers ultimately decided to release the total 750 kW block on October 1st.  The program capacity was fully subscribed shortly after opening. The Solar Entrepreneur Program, which offers rebates for non-residential installations, is still accepting applications.

OHIO – State Enacts Emergency Rules for Renewable Energy Project Property Tax Exemption
Ohio has enacted emergency rules through an executive order from Governor Ted Strickland in order to create temporary rules to guide the qualified energy project application process. These rules will be in effect for 90 days and will be replaced by permanent rules that are currently undergoing the review process.

OREGON – Round 2 of Production Incentive Opens and Closes
Oregon’s Pilot Solar Volumetric Incentive Rates & Payments Program has proved wildly popular in the first two rounds. In the first round, the program filled up in a matter of minutes. The Public Utilities Commission lowered incentive rates for Round 2 in response to this popularity, but the queue for Round 2 filled up shortly after opening, as well. The next round of the production incentive will take place in April 2011.

TEXAS – Austin Energy Residential Solar PV Incentive Funding Renewed
Austin Energy has re-opened its popular residential solar PV program. Incentive levels remain unchanged at $2.50/W-AC with a maximum incentive of $15,000. Systems sized 1-20 kW are eligible. Funding for fiscal year 2011 is set at $4 million.


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