February 21, 2011

News from DSIRE: week of 2/21/11

ARKANSAS – Deadline Looms for PV, Wind Rebates Most of the funds for the Arkansas Renewable Technology Rebate Fund have been reserved; PV and wind projects now must be installed by March 31, 2011, in order to qualify for a rebate. However, rebates for solar water heating systems will still be available through March 2012…

ARKANSAS – Deadline Looms for PV, Wind Rebates
Most of the funds for the Arkansas Renewable Technology Rebate Fund have been reserved; PV and wind projects now must be installed by March 31, 2011, in order to qualify for a rebate. However, rebates for solar water heating systems will still be available through March 2012 or until all funds are spent.

COLORADO – Xcel Suspends PV Incentive Program
One day after Xcel Energy announced a significant reduction in the incentive level it provides for PV systems, the utility announced it would temporarily suspend the program altogether. Xcel is required by state law to provide an upfront rebate of $2/W for PV (or less if the PUC decides to lower the level) plus an amount to be determined by the utility for the RECs associated with PV system generation. Xcel filed an application with the PUC on February 16, 2011, requesting permission to lower the rebate to $0.25/W. At the same time, the utility announced it was immediately lowering the REC payment level, and that it would suspend the program after 3 MW had been installed at the new level. That 3-MW cap was met almost immediately, and Xcel closed the program until the PUC approves its proposed changes.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA – Solar Incentive Program in Hibernation
Effective February 11, 2011, the District of Columbia Renewable Energy Incentive Program has closed to new pre-qualification applications. High demand for incentives and the diversion of program funds to other uses have conspired to create an extensive waiting list. The program is expected to re-open to new applications when additional funding becomes available in FY 2012. Program administrators are authorized to adjust incentive levels for market conditions, so it is possible that incentive levels will be revised when the program re-opens.

FLORIDA – Progress Energy Expands SunSense Program to Sunshine State
Beginning March 15, 2011, Progress Energy will offer rebates to residential and commercial customers who install PV systems. Residential customers can receive $2/W for systems up to 10 kW. Commercial customers can receive rebates based on a tiered structure for systems up to 100 kW.

KENTUCKY – Deadline Looms for On-Farm Renewables Incentives
The Kentucky Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy offers funding for 25% of the cost of solar water heating, anaerobic digesters and other biomass systems, with a maximum award of $10,000. This program for farm energy production equipment, funded by the federal stimulus bill, will close for applications on February 28, 2011. All documentation must be delivered by December 15, 2011.

MASSACHUSETTS – Romantic Net Metering Discussion Held
The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities held a technical meeting on Valentine’s Day to discuss various net metering “issues.” According to the agenda announcement, the DPU anticipates additional meetings and discussions regarding net metering in the state, and as such, did not accept formal written comments during this first discussion. Massachusetts has had a net metering policy since 1982. The most recent adjustment occurred in October 2010, when legislation raised the aggregate capacity limit to 2% of a utility’s peak load for municipal and governmental net metering. The aggregate capacity limit remains 1% for all other customer classes. Significantly, the two largest utilities in Massachusetts, National Grid and NStar, appear to be approaching the 1% aggregate limit when pending applications are taken into account.

MISSOURI – Jefferson City Embraces PACE
Jefferson City, Missouri’s capital, has adopted a PACE ordinance, allowing property owners to finance certain clean energy improvements. Jefferson City is the first city to adopt a PACE ordinance since Missouri enacted the Property Assessed Clean Energy Act in 2010.

NEVADA – Utility Overhauls Renewables Rebates
Southwest Gas began providing 30% incentives last year for residential solar water heaters and solar space heaters, capped at $1,500 and $3,000, respectively. This program was recently rebranded and expanded to include incentives for businesses, schools, non profits and government customers, but incentives for solar space heating have been dropped. The new program — Smarter, Greener, Better — provides rebates of $14.50/therm for residential and small commercial solar water heaters, and rebates of $19/therm for schools and other tax-exempt entities.

According to state law, the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission must review the state’s renewables portfolio standard in 2011 and report the results to the legislature. This month, the PUC hosted a meeting to initiate the review and to provide an opportunity for public participation. Between now and May 2011, the PUC will host up to four additional public meetings. Interested stakeholders are encouraged to participate. New Hampshire’s RPS, established in 2007, requires 23.8% renewables by 2025.

NEW JERSEY – New Law Facilitates Certain Wind Turbines
Earlier in February, New Jersey enacted legislation stipulating that local regulations may not prohibit wind turbines sited on piers within 500 feet of the mean high tide water line. Facilities must meet all otherwise applicable permitting requirements and must be an accessory use to other uses or purposes of the pier. New Jersey also has separate laws limiting the restrictions that local governments may place on small wind turbines, and declaring solar and wind facilities a permitted use within industrial areas.

OREGON – Energy Trust Solar Pool Heating Incentives Retooled
Energy Trust of Oregon has changed the method for calculating incentives for residential and small solar pool heating from an “energy-saved” formula to a payment based on system size. Incentives for larger commercial systems are still based on energy saved. In addition, the maximum residential incentive was raised from $1,000 to $1,500.

OREGON – EWEB Flattens Solar Water Heating Rebate
The Eugene Water & Electric Board now provides a flat rebate of $500 for residential solar water heating. Previously, the rebate ranged from $200 – $700.

OREGON – Douglas Electric Cooperative Extends Rebates to PV
Douglas Electric Cooperative has expanded its solar rebate program by offering rebates for PV systems.  A rebate of $500/kW is now are available for systems up to 25 kW.

OREGON – Co-Op PV Rebates Resurface
After several years of hibernation, the Oregon Trail Electric Consumers Cooperative’s PV rebate program has re-opened. Customers are eligible for a rebate of $500 for the first kilowatt of installed capacity per year.