News from DSIRE: week of 4/5/11

ARIZONA – APS Solar Incentives Run Dry
APS divides 2011 funding for residential PV systems into quarterly sums.  At the close of the first quarter, APS had received enough applications to account for all funding for the first three quarters. APS will continue accepting applications in a queue, but reservations will not be confirmed until October 1 or later.

CALIFORNIA – Solar Requirements for New Homes Take Effect
The legislation that created the California Solar Initiative, SB1 of 2006, included a requirement that sellers of certain homes must provide prospective buyers with a “solar option.” The California Energy Commission developed regulations that were approved in March 2011 but apply retroactively to any home constructed on land for which an application for a tentative subdivision map has been deemed complete on or after January 1, 2011. The regulations require the seller to provide prospective buyers with information about solar costs, potential energy savings, and available incentives. Sellers may opt out of these requirements by installing PV elsewhere in an amount equal to 20% of buyers in the development opting for solar.

CALIFORNIA – Burbank Suspends Large PV Incentives Until 2013
Burbank Water and Power’s performance-based incentive budget for PV systems larger than 30 kW has been exhausted. The utility is no longer accepting applications for these systems, but it hopes to offer additional program funding in 2013.

COLORADO – Xcel Solar Program Back from the Dead
Xcel Energy’s PV incentive program re-opened on March 23, after a one-month suspension. Xcel had abruptly closed the program after its budgeted funds ran out, but Colorado’s distressed solar community urged the Public Utilities Commission to restructure and extend the program. The new version of the program is structured as a performance-based incentive for all systems other than small customer-owned residential systems, which receive an up-front incentive in addition to a performance-based incentive.

MASSACHUSETTS – Commonwealth Solar II Block Five Closed
But Block Six is right around the corner. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center expects to open the new round of funding in early April.

PUERTO RICO – Solar-Friendly Building Energy Code Adopted
Puerto Rico’s building energy code has been updated. The updated code is based on 2009 IECC, but Puerto Rico made several specific amendments that apply to residential buildings. Of particular note is the inclusion of renewable energy provisions within the “Residential Energy Efficient Chapter.” Pool heaters are only allowed if heat is generated by renewable or alternative energy resources. In addition, only solar water heaters may be used for new one- and two-dwelling units and townhouses, with no exemptions. Furthermore, the code contains provisions for required rough-ins for future installations of renewable energy systems (with exceptions for low-income housing).

VIRGINIA – Residential Net Metering Expanded (sort of)
Virginia has enacted legislation (HB 1983) that increases the limit for residential net metering from 10 kW to 20 kW. However, the bill requires that residential facilities larger than 10 kW must pay a monthly standby charge. These changes take effect July 1, 2011.


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