News from DSIRE: week of 12/12/11



CALIFORNIA – CSI, Scene 8, Take 2
PV incentives available through the California Solar Initiative were designed to step down in 10 phases as certain megawatt goals were met. SDG&E funds for non-residential incentives were exhausted while on Step 8 in December 2010; PG&E funds met the same fate one month later. As a result, both utilities placed new non-residential applications on a waitlist. California enacted legislation in September allowing utilities to add an additional $200 million to the total budget, and the two utilities began accepting non-residential applications again in December 2011.

HAWAII – Interconnection Standards Drastically Improved
On November 29, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission issued a decision and order improving Hawaii’s interconnection standards. The order approved a supplemental review process and other measures to limit the scope of systems that must conduct an Interconnection Requirements Study. In the past, a system would automatically be subject to such a study if the project did not meet certain technical screening criteria. In particular, the 15% circuit penetration threshold was a barrier to interconnection. The new rules have set timelines for the interconnection process and were designed to facilitate the process.

MAINE – Proposed Net-Metering Amendments Issued; Comments Invited
Legislation enacted in June required the Maine Public Utilities Commission to amend the state’s net-metering rules to develop contract terms for net energy billing and interconnection agreements. In November, the PUC issued a proposed rule and invited comments through the end of December.

MICHIGAN – Consumers Energy Accepting FIT Applications
Consumers Energy is now accepting applications for Phase 4 of the Experimental Advanced Renewable Program. Through this program, the utility purchases electricity and RECs generated by customer-owned PV systems under a 15-year contract. The application deadline for this phase is January 12.

OREGON – Energy Trust Solar Rebate Levels Decline
Energy Trust of Oregon recently lowered solar electric rebate rates and caps for Pacific Power customers. Solar incentives for customers of PGE remain the same. Rebate rates for Pacific Power declined from $1.50/W to $1.25/W for residential and third-party residential systems, with a new rebate cap of $5,000.  Previously, the cap was $20,000. The cap was lowered from $100,000 to $30,000 for commercial systems and from $150,000 to $37,500 for non-profit and government systems.

RHODE ISLAND – National Grid Launches FIT
National Grid is now accepting applications for the first enrollment period of distributed generation standard offer contracts. Solar and wind systems of up to 5 MW are eligible to receive $0.1335 – $0.3335 per kWh, depending on system size and technology. The application deadline for this enrollment period is December 14.

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – Discretionary Grant Program Closes
The U.S. Virgin Islands Energy Office’s Discretionary Grant Program was designed to help non-profits implement energy efficiency and renewables projects. As of December 1, the program has lost funding, and it is not expected to return in the near future.

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – Renewables Rebate Program Funding Exhausted
The U.S. Virgin Island Renewable Energy Rebate Program is no longer accepting rebate applications and will be closed for the remainder of 2011. The rebate program is not scheduled to be renewed in 2012.

VIRGINIA – Net-Metering Customers Must Withstand Standby Charges
Any residential net-metering customer of Dominion Virginia Power who owns and operates, or contracts to own and operate, a net-metered system greater than 10kW is required to pay transmission and distribution standby charges beginning April 1, 2012. Such customers will be required to pay $2.79/kW in monthly distribution standby charges and $1.40/kW in monthly transmission standby charges. (The Virginia State Corporation Commission denied Dominion’s proposal for generation standby charges, but Dominion may reapply for approval for these charges in the future.)

WISCONSIN – Woody Biomass Tax Credit Rules Set
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has adopted finalized administrative rules for the state’s woody biomass tax credit. The rules establish the process and guidelines for systems to become certified as eligible for the credit. Owners or operators of a facility may receive a 10% tax credit, with a maximum credit of $100,000 over the life of the system.  Tax credit: personalTax credit: corporate.





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