ALASKA – Renewables Grant Program Extended; Funds Appropriated
Alaska has enacted legislation (HB 250) that sets an expiration date of June 30, 2023, for the Alaska Energy Authority Renewable Energy Grant Program. The new law instructs the state legislature to appropriate $50 million per fiscal year for the remaining 10 years of the fund.

CALIFORNIA – L.A. FIT Races Forward
After much anticipation, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power began accepting applications for its feed-in tariff demonstration program last week. This program actually operates more like a “reverse auction mechanism,” where applicants submit bids, and the utility generally selects projects based on lowest cost. Under this round, LADWP is accepting applications until the end of June.

Utilities in California must offer net metering until the capacity of net-metered systems in their territory equals 5% of “aggregate customer peak demand.” A fresh CPUC decision clearly defined this ambiguous term to include the sum of all customers’ peak demand, which differs from how some utilities had been interpreting it. The decision effectively doubles the amount of renewables that may net meter in California.

Connecticut’s two investor-owned utilities, United Illuminating and Connecticut Light & Power, are accepting proposals for Zero-Emission Renewable Energy Credits (ZRECs) and Low-Emission Renewable Energy Credits (LRECs). The deadline for proposals is June 12. 

CONNECTICUT – Residential PV Incentives Mutate
Connecticut launched a new residential PV incentive program in March. Step 2 of the program began this week, but the incentive amounts are higher than the amounts announced in March. Two types of incentives are available, depending on the ownership of the PV system.  For residents who purchase a PV system directly, a maximum  incentive of $2.275/W applies to the first 5 kW, and a maximum of $1.075/W applies to the next 5 kW. For residents who enter into a contract with a company that owns and operates the system, a performance-based incentive is available to the company. For companies, this incentive is currently $0.300/kWh for six years.

MARYLAND – Suite of New Laws Amend RPS, Solar Carve-Out
Maryland has enacted three bills revising portions of the state’s RPS. The most significant bill (S.B. 791/H.B. 1187) accelerates the solar carve-out compliance requirements by varying degrees beginning in 2013, advances the date for the ultimate 2% target from 2022 to 2020, and adds some flexibility in the calculation of solar water heating energy production measurements for some systems. Maryland also enacted a bill (S.B. 652/H.B. 1186) allowing certain geothermal heating and cooling systems commissioned on or after January 1, 2013, to qualify as a Tier I resource. A third bill (S.B. 1004/H.B. 1339) allows thermal energy associated with biomass systems that primarily use animal waste to qualify as Tier I resources, effective January 1, 2013.

MARYLAND – Free Pass for Solar in Impervious Surface Calculation
Maryland enacted legislation this month stipulating that any calculation of “impervious surface” required by state or local authorities as part of a permit or variance relating to zoning, construction or storm water may only include the foundation or base supporting a solar panel. The law generally applies statewide but does not apply in defined “critical areas,” including the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area and the Coastal Bays Critical Area.

MASSACHUSETTS – Net Metering Assurance System Established
Net metering in Massachusetts is gaining popularity. It is feasible that the state could start bumping up against aggregate capacity caps. The System of Assurance of Net Metering Eligibility has been established to help manage the net metering process and let potential net metering customers know in advance if their system will be allowed to net meter or not. An administrator will be chosen and an application process with a fee (to be determined) will be implemented for customers seeking to net meter.

MINNESOTA – Solar Now Eligible for State Construction Funds
Legislation enacted earlier this month allows state-funded buildings to use up to 5% of their construction or renovation budget for PV or solar-thermal systems. Systems generally must be less than 40 kW and must be made in Minnesota.

OREGON – Energy Trust Raises Solar-Thermal Incentive Level
Energy Trust of Oregon’s Solar Water Heating Buy-Down Program offers incentives to customers of Pacific Power, PGE, NW Natural Gas and Cascade Natural Gas who install solar water-heating or solar pool-heating systems on a variety of facilities. The commercial solar water heating incentive increased from $6 per first-year therm savings to $8 per first-year therm savings.

OREGON – Energy Trust Lowers PV Incentive Level
Energy Trust of Oregon’s Solar Electric Buy-Down Program has lowered the incentive level for residential PV. For Pacific Power customers, the level decreased from $1/W-DC to $0.75/W-DC, with a maximum  incentive of $5,000. For PGE customers, the level dropped from $1.25/W-DC to $1/ W-DC, with a maximum incentive of $6,000 per home. Pacific Power incentives were also reduced for commercial, industrial, non-profit, government projects and third-party-owned projects.

WASHINGTON – Chelan County SNAP Incentive Level Drops
Every year, Chelan County PUD offers a performance-based incentive for solar, wind and hydropower systems as part of its Sustainable Natural Alternative Power (SNAP) Program. This year’s incentive ($0.16/kWh) was slightly lower than last year’s incentive.