News from DSIRE: week of 11/1/10

COLORADO – IOU Puts PV Incentives in Deep Freeze
Black Hills Energy, an investor-owned utility serving southwestern Colorado, announced on October 18 that its popular PV incentive program was suspended. The program is funded by a surcharge on customer bills. Soaring demand for the program and the generous incentives it provides have outpaced the collection of funds through the surcharge. The program is now $10 million in the hole, and the utility is not accepting new applications until further notice.

CONNECTICUT – New Commercial PV Grants on Tap
Using $3 million in federal stimulus funds, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund has established a new grant program for commercial PV systems ranging from 50 kW to 200 kW in capacity. Projects will be evaluated on a variety of criteria, and projects requiring minimal investments from CCEF will be preferred. The grant program is designed to help project owners “break even” and make a “fair and reasonable return” on their investment.

DELAWARE – DEC Incentives Overhauled
The Delaware Electric Cooperative (DEC) has adopted new regulations revising many of the terms of the Green Energy Incentive program. Incentives for PV are now set at $0.35 – $1.25/W ($0.70 -$2.55/W for non-profits), with a maximum award of $10,000 for residential systems and $20,000 for non-residential systems. Wind turbines are eligible for an incentive of $1.25/W, with a maximum aware of $2,500. Solar-thermal incentives have been reduced from 50% of system cost to 20% of system cost, with the maximum non-residential award reduced from $10,000 to $7,500, and the maximum residential incentive left unchanged.

The District of Columbia has enacted legislation (D.C. Law 18-0223) clearing up two separate inconsistencies in its renewable portfolio standard. The first change amends the definition of “renewable energy certificate” to remove language allowing RECs associated with electricity delivered into the PJM from adjacent control areas to qualify, while leaving further language allowing eligible renewable electricity to be generated within the PJM  region or in a state adjacent to the PJM region unchanged. The second revision adds to language that formerly limited in-District resources to those “interconnected to the distribution grid,” thereby clarifying that District solar-thermal facilities are eligible for the RPS.

FLORIDA – Lakeland Electric Launches “Pay-for-Energy” Solar Program
Lakeland Electric apparently has become the first U.S. utility to offer solar domestic hot water on a “pay-for-energy” basis. After a successful pilot program, Lakeland has contracted with Regenesis Lakeland to offer solar water heaters to residents. The water heaters are installed at no up-front cost to customers, who pay a monthly bulk energy fee of $35.95.

FLORIDA – GRU PV Rebate Program Resurrected
Gainesville Regional Utilities has reactivated its Solar-Electric (PV) System Rebate Program, with revised rebate rates. Systems with a solar window of 85% or more will receive a rebate of $1.50/W, and systems with solar windows of 70% – 84% will receive an award of $1.15/W. Rebates are available for systems up to 10 kW on a first-come, first-served basis.

HAWAII – Feed-in Tariff Delayed on Oahu
The opening date of Hawaii’s feed-in tariff has been postponed from October 27, 2010, to November 17, 2010, for HECO, which serves the island of Oahu. The feed-in tariff is still slated to open on November 24, 2010 for HELCO and MECO, which serve all other islands (with the exception of Kauai).

MARYLAND – Mid-Size Wind Incentive Debuts
The Maryland Energy Administration has unveiled an incentive program for non-residential wind turbines ranging from 20 kW to 200 kW in capacity. The program offers a rebate of $1,500/kW of capacity (at a reference wind speed of 11 meters/second), with a maximum award of $75,000. The program is funded by the Maryland Strategic Energy Investment Fund.

OREGON – Maximum Incentives for Small Wind Raised
Energy Trust of Oregon has increased the maximum incentive amount for individual systems participating in its Small Wind Incentive Program. The maximum rebate amount for residential systems was raised from $35,000 to $45,000, and the maximum rebate amount for commercial systems was boosted from $60,000 to $80,000. In additional, the maximum system capacity allowed under this program has increased from 50 kW to 100 kW.

OREGON – PUC Sets Interconnection Rules for Large DG
The Oregon Public Utilities Commission established interconnection procedures for systems greater than 20 MW in capacity in April 2010. These procedures and the standard interconnection agreement are modeled on FERC’s interconnection procedures and agreement.

TENNESSEE – TVA Offers Long-Term Payments for Mid-Sized Renewables
TVA is now offering long-term incentives for renewables ranging from 200 kW to 20 MW. Under this program, PV, wind and biomass systems are interconnected to TVA’s transmission system or utility partners’ distribution systems under 10-, 15- or 20-year contracts. TVA purchases both the electricity and RECs based on a seasonal time-of-day average price that increases 3% annually. The base price averaged throughout the contract term is 5.611¢/kWh; during daytime hours, the average tariff is 6.145¢ /kWh.

VERMONT – Solar Business Tax Credit Fully Allocated
The Clean Energy Development Fund has awarded $7.5 million in tax credit allocations to solar projects in Vermont — the maximum amount authorized by law. The CEDF is accepting applications for the waiting list only, in the event that additional funding becomes available. (The law stipulates that up to $9.4 million in tax credits may be allocated, depending on the balance of funding/projected revenue of the CEDF.) Projects that have received other funding through the CEDF (including grants or the small-scale renewables incentives) are not eligible.


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