CALIFORNIA – CPUC Overhauls FIT Program
California enacted legislation in 2006 requiring the state’s three investor-owned utilities to adopt a feed-in tariff for electricity generated by renewables. The rate paid to developers was based on the Market Price Referent, which is tied to electricity costs associated with natural gas plants. A recent CPUC order expanded the system size eligible for the program and changed the basis for the pricing. The rate paid to system owners will be based on the weighted average of the three utilities’ highest executed contract resulting from the Renewable Auction Mechanism (RAM). The utilities must submit revised tariffs before the program takes effect.

CALIFORNIA – CPUC Tightens Reins on RAM Eligibility
In a recent move by the CPUC, the rate paid under the state’s feed-in tariff is now based on prices awarded to projects bidding under the Renewable Auction Mechanism (RAM). To prevent potential gaming, the CPUC clarified that systems under 3 MW which meet other criteria associated with the feed-in tariff aren’t eligible for the RAM.

CALIFORNIA – Palo Alto Still Waiting to be Fed
Palo Alto CLEAN, an incentive program that functions like a feed-in tariff for customers of the city’s municipal utility, has a budget to support 4 MW of PV projects in 2012. After two months, the utility still hasn’t received any applications for the program. Interested?

CALIFORNIA – New Homes, Businesses to be Solar-Ready in 2014
The California Energy Commission adopted the 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards for new residential and commercial buildings in May. Among other changes, new residential and commercial buildings will be required to be “solar-ready” beginning in 2014.

GEORGIA – Interfaith Power & Light Grant Levels Closer to Earth
Georgia Interfaith Power & Light has reduced from $25,000 to $10,000 the maximum grant it awards congregations, faith-based communities and faith-based schools for qualifying energy improvements, including solar water-heating projects.

INDIANA – IPL Launches Reverse Auction for Renewables
Indianapolis Power & Light has announced a one-time reverse auction for renewables of up to 45,900 MWh per year for a period of 15 years for qualifying projects up to 10 MW. The official request for offers will open on June 8. The deadline for offers is July 13.

IOWA – Geothermal Tax Incentives Established
Iowa enacted legislation in May (SF 2342) establishing a tax credit for residential geothermal heat pumps equal to 20% of the federal tax credit allowed for such systems. Any excess credit may be carried forward for the following 10 years. The same bill also extended the state’s property tax exemption for renewables to residential geothermal heating and cooling systems installed on or after July 1, 2012. The exemption for geothermal systems is allowed for 10 years.

MICHIGAN – Consumers Energy to Consume Residential PV Energy
The seventh phase of Consumers Energy’s Experimental Advanced Renewable Energy Program (EARP) is now open. This phase offers a performance-based incentive of $0.249/kWh for electricity generated by residential PV. The application deadline is July 5.

TEXAS – LoanSTAR Revolving Loan Budget Raised
The budget for the LoanSTAR Revolving Loan program has been increased from $126 million to $190 million. Loans are available to all public entities for energy cost reduction measures. Interest rates vary by applicant.

VERMONT – Clean Energy Fund to Receive $3 Million … Maybe
The Clean Energy Development Fund has been funded since 2005 via annual payments from Entergy, which owns the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Under terms of two memoranda of understanding between Entergy and the Vermont Department of Public Service, Entergy stored its own spent nuclear fuel on-site and provided financial support to the CEDF. These MOUs expired in March 2012 and have not yet been replaced. As a result, the state has directed $3 million from its general fund to the CEDF … if the state’s general fund is solvent enough to do so in 2013.

VERMONT – PACE Expansion Pondered
Vermont significantly amended its Property Assessed Clean Energy financing policy last year. This year, it has enacted legislation instructing the Department of Public Service and stakeholders to study the costs, benefits and feasibility of extending the program to commercial property. The study is should be completed in January 2013.

VERMONT – Roof Raised for Renewables Standard Offer
Vermont has expanded its standard offer program for Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED) resources by (among other things) raising the 50-MW program cap to 127.5 MW. These program changes will be implemented in phases over the next 10 years. The Vermont Public Service Board will develop new pricing levels by March 2013.

VIRGINIA – Rockingham County Restricts Small Wind Ordinance
Rockingham County has raised the minimum required parcel size for small wind-energy systems from one-half acre to one acre. In addition, maximum height parameters have been revised to 65 feet for parcels between one and five acres, and to 80 feet for parcels larger than five acres. The previous limit was 80 feet for parcels over one acre.