News from DSIRE: week of 1/24/11

CALIFORNIA – Sun Sets on Commercial PV Incentives
Pacific Gas & Electric has reached the budgetary limit established for non-residential installations under the California Solar Initiative.  While the program was designed to run through 2016, Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric have both run out of funding for non-residential incentives.  Both utilities are still accepting non-residential applications in the event an approved project drops out, and both utilities are still accepting and awarding incentives for residential installations.  The state’s third investor-owned utility, Southern California Edison, still has incentives available for both residential and non-residential systems.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a ruling in March 2010 approving the use of unbundled tradable renewable energy credits (TRECs) for compliance with the state’s renewables portfolio standard (RPS).  The decision was later suspended after receiving petitions from numerous stakeholders.  The CPUC ultimately approved a slightly amended decision on January 13, 2011.  Through the end of 2013, the use of TRECs are restricted to no more than 25% of a utility’s compliance requirements, and are capped at a value of $50.  It is important to note that the TRECs decision holds no bearing on small, customer-sited renewables, which remain ineligible for California’s RPS.

DELAWARE – Déjà Vu as Delmarva Green Energy Program is Revised Again
The Delmarva Power Green Energy Program offers incentives for solar photovoltaics (PV), solar thermal, wind and geothermal heat pump systems. Under new program guidelines issued in December 2010, incentives for wind and solar systems were limited to the first 50 kilowatts (kW) of system capacity although no limits on overall system size were specified at the time. In January 2011, the program was revised further to limit total system size to 50 kW per installation. PV systems larger than 50 kW are no longer eligible to receive any incentive under the program.

MASSACHUSETTS – Two Massachusetts Munis Lower Rebate Amounts
Concord Municipal Light Plant (MLP) and Taunton Municipal Light Plant have recently lowered rebate amounts for solar PV.  Concord MLP rebates went from $1.00/watt (W) to $0.625/W and the maximum rebate cap went from $5,000 to $3,125.  Taunton MLP rebates were lowered from $4.00/W to $2.00/W and the cap went from $10,000 to $5,000.  Neither municipal light plant is required to contribute to the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust Fund.  As such, customers are ineligible for the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Commonwealth Solar II rebates.

MASSACHUSETTS – Residential Solar Hot Water Pilot Program Announced in Massachusetts…
…but the launch date is still several weeks away, so no information is currently available.  The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center will hold a webinar on January 26 to disclose additional details of the new pilot program.  Stay tuned!

NORTH CAROLINA and SOUTH CAROLINA – Progress Energy Commercial PV Program Reopens
Progress Energy has reopened the SunSense Commercial PV Incentive Program with new size restrictions. The minimum size has been increased to 11 kW, and the maximum size has been increased to 500 kW. The incentive rate remains the same, at $0.18/kilowatt-hour (kWh).

For North Carolina

For South Carolina

VERMONT – New Year, New Changes to Small-Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program
Vermont’s Small-Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program supports solar PV, solar hot water, wind and micro-hydro installations.  The current “round” of funding began in 2010 utilizing federal stimulus funds as authorized by the Vermont Clean Development Fund. The program was initially designed to include rebate amount step-downs as certain milestones were reached.  The solar PV incentives have been reaching those milestones at a regular pace, and the incentive is now $0.75/W for residential installations (maximum $7,500) and $0.75/W for the first 10 kW of commercial incentives, plus an additional $0.60/W for the next 15 kW (for a maximum of $16,500).  The wind incentives have also changed again. While originally designed as a hybrid capacity and production incentive, they have now gone back to a capacity-based incentive.  Residential wind installations are eligible for $2.50/W up to 10 kW (maximum $25,000) and commercial installations are eligible for $2.50/W for the first 10 kW plus $2.00/watt for the next 70 kW (maximum $165,000).  The program also allows for leased systems for residential and “special category” installations, but not for commercial installations.


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