CALIFORNIA – Utility Solar Incentives Ring in New Year While DSIRE Staff Sweats
California’s 30 municipal utilities are required by state law to provide PV rebates to their customers as part of the California Solar Initiative. With most programs now entering their fourth year, there have been many starts, stops and step-downs along the way. Keeping it all straight is a nasty challenge, but DSIRE is starting 2012 with a clean slate, having reviewed each of these summaries and confirming current incentive levels.

CONNECTICUT – Utilities File ZREC, LREC Plans
Connecticut’s two investor-owned utilities, CL&P and UI, have submitted to state regulators their joint solicitation plan and related documents for Zero-Emission Renewable Energy Credits (ZRECs) and Low-Emission Renewable Energy Credits (LRECs). These plans are currently under review; the Connecticut Public Utility Regulatory Authority is accepting comments.

CONNECTICUT – On-Site DG Grants Closed to PV Applicants
As anticipated, the application period for commercial PV projects under Connecticut’s On-Site Distributed Generation Grant Program has closed. However, this program is still open for other Class I renewables through March 2012. Developers or projects chosen to receive grants will not be eligible to produce ZRECs or LRECs, but they may retain ownership of the Class I RECs, retire the RECs, or sell them to the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority for $10/MWh for 15 years.

CONNECTICUT – New Residential PV Program Announced
The Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority has proposed a new residential incentive program to replace its current rebate program. The CEFIA is accepting comments on the proposed incentive program through January 12 and intends to launch the program in February.

CONNECTICUT – Geothermal Heat Pump Rebates Retired
The Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority is no longer accepting applications for its geothermal heat pump rebate program. The $5 million program, which began in December 2009 with ARRA funds, has received more than 475 applications for commercial and residential installations throughout Connecticut.

HAWAII – Eligibility Expanded for Kauai Solar Rebates
Kauai Island Utility Cooperative has expanded its solar water heating program by offering rebates to replace older, non-functional solar water-heating systems. Previously, only new systems (that did not involve the replacement of an older solar water-heating system) were eligible.

KANSAS – Renewables Tax Credit Burns out
Kansas’s investment tax credit for certain renewables facilities constructed between January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2011, has not been renewed. This credit is equal to 10% of the first $50 million invested in a qualifying project, and 5% for expenditures above $50 million.
Renewable Electricity Facility Tax Credit (Personal)
Renewable Electricity Facility Tax Credit (corporate)

MAINE – LEED Requirement for State Buildings Abandoned
In 2003, Maine required that the USGBC’s LEED standard be incorporated into the design, construction, operation and maintenance of new and renovated state buildings. Maine’s governor issued an executive order in December 2011 requiring that construction or renovation of state buildings incorporate generic “green building” standards that would achieve “significant” energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. The LEED requirement was removed.

MARYLAND – Solar Water-Heating Eligible for RPS Certification, SRECs
In May 2011, Maryland enacted legislation allowing residential and non-residential solar water-heating systems commissioned after May 31, 2011, to qualify as solar facilities under the state’s RPS policy. The Public Service Commission began accepting solar water-heating facility certification applications on January 3, 2012. PSC certification is a pre-requisite for facilities to begin producing solar renewable energy certificates.

MASSACHUSETTS – Solar-Thermal Incentives Available
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center provides feasibility and construction rebates for commercial water-heating systems. Rebates are capped at 25% of a system’s costs or $25,000 for commercial installations, and 30% of a system’s cost or $30,000 for public installations. Adders are available for components manufactured in Massachusetts, as well as for buildings impacted by the June 1, 2011 tornado in western Massachusetts.

MASSACHUSETTS – 10-Year Solar ACP Guideline Set
In an effort to support market stability and predictability, Massachusetts has announced a 10-year solar alternative compliance payment schedule, which was developed by the Department of Energy Resources, with input from industry stakeholders. The SACP rate remains stable for compliance years 2012 and 2013, and declines annually after that.

NEW JERSEY– Rebates for Customer-Sited Sustainable Biomass Resurrected
New Jersey offers rebates for customer-sited sustainable biomass resources (including those that incorporate CHP) under the Renewable Energy Incentive Program. For the 2012 program year, the incentive structure has been simplified to replace the former four-tiered incentive structure with a two-tiered structure. The revised structure offers rebates of $2/W for the first 500 kW and $1/W for the next 500 kW. Facilities that incorporate CHP receive an added incentive of $1/W for both tiers. The change has the effect of decreasing potential rebate amount for systems less than 340 kW and increasing the potential rebate amount for larger systems.

NEW YORK – Anaerobic Digester Incentives Back in Action
NYSERDA offers a combination of up-front, capacity-based incentives and a performance incentive for customer-sited anaerobic digester systems that produce electricity. After closing in January 2011, the program re-opened in December 2011 with slightly revised incentive amounts. The capacity incentive remains the same, at $1,000/kW, but the performance incentive portion has been changed from $0.075/kWh for five years to $0.10/kWh for three years.

NORTH CAROLINA – Utility PV Incentives Embark on New Year’s Diet
Progress Energy’s SunSense program for commercial PV offers performance-based incentives for roof-mounted commercial PV systems up to 500 kW. Approved projects are awarded 20-year contracts for their full electrical and SREC output. The incentive level, originally set at $0.18/kWh, has been reduced to $0.15/kWh for projects constructed in 2012.

OHIO – Energy Loan Fund Invites Applications
The Ohio Department of Development is now accepting applications for its Energy Loan Fund, which is funded through the Advanced Energy Fund. This program targets public entities, manufacturers and small businesses, other entities may apply. Funds may be used for certain energy-saving measures, including PV, wind, biomass and energy efficiency.

OREGON – Residential Energy Tax Credit Loses Steam
As of January 1, certain energy-efficient appliances are no longer eligible for Oregon’s Residential Energy Tax Credit. HB 3672 of 2011 took effect January 1, 2012, removing eligibility for dishwashers, clothes washers, refrigerators, air conditioners and boilers. (The credit also expired for alternative fuel vehicles and charging or fueling stations, as scheduled.) In additional, the tax credit level for PV declined from $3/W-DC to $2.10/W-DC at STC.

SOUTH CAROLINA – Utility PV Incentives Embark on New Year’s Diet
Progress Energy’s SunSense program for commercial PV offers performance-based incentives for roof-mounted commercial PV systems up to 500 kW. Approved projects are awarded 20-year contracts for their full electrical and SREC output. The incentive level, originally set at $0.18/kWh, has been reduced to $0.15/kWh for projects constructed in 2012.

TEXAS – Utility Pilot PV Programs Gone Wild
Investor-owned utilities in Texas are rolling out new and altered pilot PV programs for 2012. Programs developed by TX AEP North, AEP Central and SWEPCO are now open for business. The rebate levels have been reduced, and SWEPCO’s program is now only available to residential customers. Oncor has extended its 2011 program through the end of February in order to accommodate projects that have been approved but are not yet finalized. Oncor has not announced plans for its 2012 program. The Texas New Mexico Power Company has also announced that its program is available for residential installations only, with reduced rebate amounts. Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative will maintain its 2011 program through the first quarter of 2012, but likely will make changes afterward.

TEXAS – Details Published on Austin’s Super-Sized Renewables Goal
In February 2011, Austin’s city council approved Austin Energy’s updated Resource, Generation and Climate Protection Plan, thereby increasing the city’s renewables portfolio goal to 35% by 2020 and doubling the solar requirement from 100 MW to 200 MW. See the Final Report on Austin Energy’s Strategy for 200 MW of solar generation per Resolution No. 20110804-027 from November 2011 for updated information on how Austin plans to meet its ambitious goals.