News from DSIRE: 3/30/12
ARIZONA – Utility PV Rebate Program Goes on Hiatus
SRP, a utility serving the Phoenix area, established funding caps for the residential and commercial PV rebate programs during the last fiscal year. In early March, SRP announced that the budget caps have been met and the incentives are on hold until a new fiscal year begins in May 2012. Details of the new program are unavailable at this time.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA – Public Service Commission Finalizes RPS Rules
The Public Service Commission issued a final rulemaking on Chapter 29 of the District’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Notably, this rulemaking formalized legislative changes per the Distributed Generation Amendment Act of 2011, which became D.C. Law 19-36 in October 2011.
INDIANA – Property Tax Exemption Extended to Solar PV
In March 2012, Indiana extended the state’s property tax exemption for renewable energy to solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Prior to this change, solar thermal and solar space heating systems were eligible, but solar PV was not eligible for a property tax exemption. PV systems installed after December 31, 2011 are now exempt from property taxes.
NEW YORK – LIPA PV Rebates for Commercial Customers Do the Double-Step (Down)
During the last two weeks, the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) has decreased rebate levels for commercial PV systems twice. Rebate levels fell from $1.50/watt (W) at the beginning of the month, to $1.40/W, and then $1.30/W less than a week later. The rebate level reductions also reduce the maximum available incentive from $75,000 to $65,000. The utility also notes that the maximum system size of 50 kilowatts (kW) applies to commercial entities rather than systems.
NEW YORK – PSC Approves Utility Tariffs for Micro-Hydroelectric Systems and Non-Residential Fuel Cells
In March 2012, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) issued an order approving revised utility tariffs that permit net metering for non-residential fuel cell systems up to 1.5 megawatts (MW), residential micro-hydroelectric systems up to 25 kW, and non-residential micro-hydroelectric systems up to 2 MW. The tariffs clarify that net excess generation for micro-hydroelectric facilities will carry forward indefinitely rather than being subject to an annual reconciliation process. The revised utility tariffs take effect April 1, 2012.
OREGON – Energy Trust Re-tools Solar PV Incentive
Energy Trust of Oregon recently made a few changes to the long-standing solar electric buy-down program. The residential PV incentives declined from $1.25/W to $1.00/W for Pacific Power and from $1.75/W to $1.25/W for PGE. The residential maximum cap for PGE declined from $10,000 to $7,500 for both homeowner- and third party-owned systems. Commercial rebates were previously based on system capacity, with higher rebates levels available for smaller commercial systems. Non-profit and government systems were able to take advantage of slightly higher rebates than other non-residential systems. Now, the rebate levels for commercial, industrial, non-profit, and government systems are fixed at $1.00/W, with a maximum cap of $15,000 for Pacific Power and $75,000 for PGE.
OREGON – Solar Energy on Public Buildings Changes to Green Energy on Public Buildings
Since 2008, Oregon has required that public building projects include solar if the total contract price is $1 million or greater. Under this requirement, solar must account for at least 1.5% of the total contract price. SB 1533, enacted in March 2012, changed the solar requirement to a “green energy” requirement. Under the new rules, geothermal and solar technologies can be used to meet this requirement as of January 1, 2013.
WISCONSIN – After Some Setbacks, Wind Permitting Rules Take Effect
Wisconsin originally adopted wind permitting rules in December 2010. The rules were scheduled to take effect last March, but the Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules voted to suspend the rules. After a one year suspension, the rules are now in effect. These rules address notice requirements, siting and noise criteria, shadow flicker, stray voltage, construction, operation, and decommissioning.