News from DSIRE: week of 10/17/11



CALIFORNIA – Net Metering Extended to All RPS Resources
California’s net metering policy, established in 1996, historically has applied only to wind and solar, with special provisions for certain biomass and fuel cell projects. However, legislation enacted recently (SB 489) has opened the door to all technologies eligible to meet the state’s RPS.

CALIFORNIA – San Francisco Solicits Commercial PACE Projects
San Francisco’s PACE financing program, GreenFinanceSF, was initiated in 2010 but stalled out abruptly due to policy conflicts with the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The architects of the program spent the next several months redesigning it to address the concerns of the lending industry while meeting the efficiency goals of the program. In mid-October, San Francisco announced that it was again accepting applications for commercial projects.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA – PV Rebates (Lite) Back in Action
The District of Columbia’s Renewable Energy Incentive Program re-opened on October 1, the first day of DC’s new fiscal year. PV rebate levels have been reduced 50% from previous levels.

FLORIDA – County Offers Low-Interest Renewables Loans
St. Lucie County has partnered with local financial institutions and community leaders to establish the non-profit Solar and Energy Loan Fund (SELF), which will administer a low-interest loan program.  SELF will use grant funding and private investments to offer interest loans up to $50,000 with a fixed rate (currently 4%). The loan term is tied to the expected useful life of the system.

FLORIDA – FP&L Solar Rebates Resurrected
Florida Power & Light’s Solar Rebate Program re-opened to new applications on October 3. FP&L offers several incentives to encourage residential and business customers to install solar water heating and PV.

FLORIDA – Gulf Power PV Rebates Drained (sound familiar?)
Gulf Power’s PV and solar water heating rebate programs both re-opened to applicants on October 3. The PV rebate program, which offered incentives up to $10,000 per installation, reached full capacity and closed on October 4 (one day after opening). The dates for the next round of PV rebate program funding have not yet been announced. Rebates up to $1,000 for solar water heaters are still available.

FLORIDA – Tampa Electric PV Rebates Drained (sound familiar?)
Tampa Electric’s PV rebate program, which offered incentives of up to $20,000 under the most recent round of funding (totaling $1 million), reached full capacity and closed October 4 (one day after opening). Dates for the next round of program funding have not yet been announced.

FLORIDA – Progress Energy PV Rebates Drained (sound familiar?)
Funding under Progress Energy’s Sunsense PV Rebate Program was fully committed on October 4, four hours after it became available opened to new applications. Dates for the next round of program funding have not yet been announced.

MASSACHUSETTS – Open Season on Commonwealth Solar II Rebates
Block Eight of the Commonwealth Solar II Rebate program opened on October 14 with a total of $3 million in funding available. The incentive levels are the same as the previous funding block’s levels ($0.75/W, with various adders). The MassCEC has also added a “natural disaster” adder of $1/W for projects located in the Springfield area impacted by a summer tornado, to encourage those involved in rebuilding efforts to incorporate solar.

MICHIGAN – Ann Arbor Embraces PACE
The Ann Arbor City Council recently adopted a resolution to launch a PACE financing program. Businesses may apply for financing for renewables and energy-efficiency improvements to their properties. Participants must demonstrate that energy savings will be greater than the cost of the project.

NEW HAMPSHIRE – Cash Injection Revives Small Renewables Rebates
New Hampshire recently dedicated almost $1 million to support rebates for residential PV and wind systems less than 5 kW in capacity. Roughly half of this sum has been reserved for applicants already in the funding queue. A total of $425,000 will support new applicants. If all funds are committed before July 1, 2012, a new waiting list will be established. This program provides rebates of $1.25/W, with a maximum award of $4,500 or 50% of the system cost, whichever is less.

NEW YORK – Net Metering Extended to Micro-Hydro, Non-Residential Fuel Cells
New York enacted two laws in September which extended net metering to additional technologies. One new law (S.B. 1149) extended net metering to micro-hydroelectric generators, limited to 25 kW for residential systems and 2 MW for non-residential systems. The second new law (A.B. 7765) extended net metering to non-residential fuel cells up to 1.5 MW. Both laws take effect immediately, but utility tariffs must be revised accordingly.

OREGON – Co-op Solar Rebate Program Sunsets
Central Electric Cooperative has closed its rebate program for PV and solar water heaters, which was funded by the Bonneville Power Administration’s “Bright Way” since 2007. This program was slated to expire October 1.

OREGON – Consumers Power Caps PV Rebates
Consumers Power has instituted a cap of $3,000 on PV rebates. In addition, rebate applications now must be pre-approved.

VERMONT – Comments Invited on State Energy Plan
The Vermont Department of Public Service has issued a draft comprehensive energy plan for public review and comment. The draft plan addresses Vermont’s future electricity, thermal energy, transportation and land use priorities. The deadline to submit comments is November 4.

VERMONT – Public Service Board Issues Renewables Study
The Public Service Board has published a study of the state’s unique renewables portfolio goal, including recommendations regarding the possibility of a mandatory state RPS.

WYOMING – Co-Op Unveils Solar Rebates
Lower Valley Energy, a cooperative utility, offers rebates to residential and commercial customers who install PV or solar water heaters. A flat rebate of  $400 is available for solar water heaters. PV systems up to 10 kW are eligible for a rebate of $400/kW.





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