News from DSIRE: week of June 13, 2011

 

ARKANSAS – Renewables Rebate Program Opens, Closes
On May 31, the Arkansas Energy Office reopened the Renewable Technology Rebate Fund, which provides incentives for solar, wind, and solar water heating projects. All of the remaining funds were exhausted, and the fund closed again on June 2. Applications for this program will no longer be accepted.

COLORADO – Black Hills Energy Resurrects Solar Program
After a multi-month hiatus, Black Hills Energy has reactivated its PV incentive program. The utility worked with stakeholders and the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to revise the program in order to stretch ratepayer funds further. The new program, for most customers, consists of two incentives:  an upfront rebate based on the system’s size and a performance-based incentive based on the actual electricity a system produces. The new program took effect June 6.

HAWAII – Solar-Thermal Rebate Program Temporarily Closed
After a roller coaster throughout the spring, funding for Hawaii Energy’s Solar Water Heater Rebate Program has finally been exhausted. Hawaii Energy is currently accepting applications and placing them on the waiting list for the next funding cycle. The next funding cycle for the rebate program will open July 1, 2011. At that time, the rebate will drop from $1,000 to $750, as ARRA funding that was temporarily boosting the rebate amount has been exhausted.

IOWA – Renewables Production Tax Credits Extended
Iowa has enacted legislation (H.F. 672) extending the state’s renewable energy production tax credits through 2015. The new law increased the capacity limit of the $0.015 tax credit to 363 MW, but lowered the capacity limit of the $0.010 tax credit to 50 MW.  Personal tax creditCorporate tax credit.

LOUISIANA – PSC Allows Net Metering up to 300 kW; Future Increase Possible
On May 17, the Louisiana Public Service Commission approved rules to allow net metering for systems up to 300 kW. The state legislature increased the net metering limit from 100 kW to 300 kW in 2008, but the PSC delayed approving the increase. The PSC is now considering rules that would allow systems up to 2 MW to net meter (LA interconnection)

MARYLAND – RPS Amendments Prompt Solar-Thermal Rebate Revisions
Maryland’s Clean Energy Grant programs for residential and commercial solar water heating have been revised in response to recent amendments to the Maryland RPS that allow solar water heating systems to generate solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs). While the incentive calculations remain the same (15% of installed costs for commercial systems and 20% of installed costs for residential systems), maximum incentives have been reduced from $25,000 to $1,000 for commercial systems and from $1,500 to $500 for residential systems.CommercialResidential

MARYLAND – Howard County Nixes Solar, Geothermal Property Tax Credit
In May 2011, the Howard County Council effectively ended the county’s property tax credit for residential solar and geothermal property on May 25, 2011. The tax credit had reportedly become less useful recently, as high demand resulted in a waiting list several years long. The new policy also increased the aggregate annual limit on tax credits from $250,000 to $500,000 in an effort to clear the waiting list of approved projects more quickly.

NEVADA – Aggregate Net Metering Capacity Altered
Nevada has enacted legislation (S.B. 59) raising the aggregate capacity limit for net metering from 1% of a utility’s peak demand to a statewide cap of 2% of peak load for all utilities combined.

NEW YORK – Remote Net Metering Established
In June 2011, New York enacted legislation (A.B. 6270) allowing eligible farm-based and non-residential customer-generators to engage in “remote” net metering. The law allows eligible customer-generators to designate net metering credits from equipment located on property that they own or lease to any other meter that is located on property owned or leased by the customer, provided the other meter is within the same utility territory and load zone as the net-metered facility. Credits will accrue to the highest-use meter first, and as with standard net metering, excess credits may be carried forward to the following month.

NEW YORK – NYSERDA On-Site Small Wind Program Extended
NYSERDA’s On-Site Small Wind Program (PON 2097) offers cash incentives of up to $400,000 per site for residential and non-residential wind-energy systems up to 600 kW. In June 2011, NYSERDA issued a revised PON 2097, which, among other things, extends the application deadline by six months (to December 31, 2011) and adds $1.4 million in additional funding for the program. The program is part of the Customer-Sited Tier (CST) of the state’s RPS, which under current law will continue in one form or another through 2015.

OREGON – Ashland PV Rebate Program Steps Down
The City of Ashland offers a rebate for small residential and non-residential PV systems. Previously, residential systems received a rebate of $2.25/W, with a maximum award of $7,500. This rebate has been reduced to $1.50/W (with the same maximum award). The rebate for non-residential systems remains unchanged.

RHODE ISLAND – Renewable Energy Fund Extended
The Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund has been extended to 2018. This fund, which is supported by surcharges on gas and electric customers’ bills, supports both renewables and demand-side management programs.

TEXAS – Oncor Revives Popular PV Program
Earlier this year, Oncor had announced that it would not offer a PV rebate program for 2011. However, an additional $900,000 has been allocated to the program. This year, rebates for individual systems are lower than they have been in the past. Rebates are $2/W for residential customers and $1.50/W for non-residential customers. The maximum rebate is $20,000 for residential customers (10 kW) and $150,000 for non-residential customers (100 kW). Individual systems must be 1 kW or larger, unless they are to be used by schools for educational purposes. In addition, systems may not be sized to produce energy in excess of that required to meet annual on-site energy consumption.

VERMONT – Net Metering, Solar Permitting Enhanced
The Vermont Energy Act of 2011(H.B. 56) increased the system capacity limit for net metering from 250 kW to 500 kW, and increased the aggregate capacity limit from 2% to 4% of a utility’s peak demand. Group net metering was also improved, and the process for securing a “Certificate of Public Good” (the state permitting process) for PV systems up to 5 kW will be expedited and streamlined beginning in January 2012. The new law also requires utilities to offer additional credits of $0.20/kWh, minus the highest residential rate, to solar net metering customers. This could result in an additional $0.01 – $0.06, depending on a utility’s residential rates.

VERMONT – Extra FIT Capacity to Benefit Solar, Wind
Vermont’s Standard Offer program, established in May of 2009, was designed to incentivize 50 MW of renewable energy. The policy was intended to support rapid development through  long-term contracts and fixed rates, but it was also designed to support a variety of renewables. In an effort to balance these policy goals, the Vermont Public Service Board created technology-specific sub-caps of 12.5 MW. Solar and wind projects have met their technology caps. (The solar cap was met almost immediately, and a lottery was held to select projects from that initial submission). To date, hydroelectric and biomass (including new farm methane and landfill methane) projects have not reached their respective 12.5 MW caps. After stakeholder input in October, the Public Service Board retained the sub-caps until May 31, 2011. As of June 3, 2011, the caps have been removed, and the SPEED Facilitator has been instructed to start removing projects from the wait list (alternating between PV and wind projects) to fulfill the 50 MW program goal.

VERMONT – Solar Grants on Tap
The Vermont Energy Act of 2011 (H.B. 56) included a significant revision to the state’s solar tax credit for businesses. Businesses with an existing solar tax credit allocation may select a grant in lieu of the tax credit. The grant amount is less than the original tax credit allocation — either 50% the value of the tax credit allocation or 15% of the actual costs of the plant, whichever is less. The state’s Clean Energy Development Fund will contact businesses with solar tax credit allocations in order to offer these businesses the application for these grants. The new law specifies that this grant is not taxable under Vermont’s income tax code.

VERMONT – Clean Energy Development Fund Switcheroo
The Vermont Energy Act of 2011 (H.B. 56) included several changes to the state’s Clean Energy Development Fund. Specifically, the new law mandated that the Vermont Department of Public Service assume administration of the fund, with advisory support and oversight from the Clean Energy Development Board.

 

 

 

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