News from DSIRE: week of 6/27/11
ARIZONA – Tucson Resurrects Solar Permit Fee Waivers
In 2005, the city of Tucson began waiving building permit fees for solar installations, capped at $1,000 for a single project and $5,000 for a subdivision. The funds allocated for this program ran dry in January 2011, and the city stopped providing waivers at that time. But the city council recently voted to add $200,000 to the fund to award permit fee waivers during fiscal year 2012.
ARIZONA – Reduced PV Incentives for the Impatient
The entire budget APS reserved for residential grid-tied PV systems for 2011 was exhausted by June. More funding will be available in January 2012. However, customers who can’t contain themselves for the next six months may elect to receive a reduced rebate of $1/W through the utility’s Rapid Reservation Program.
CALIFORNIA – CPUC Sets Compensation Rate for Net Excess Generation
Legislation enacted by California in 2009 gave customers who net meter solar or wind systems two options for compensation for any net excess generation remaining after a 12-month period. Customers may now opt to roll over excess generation indefinitely or to receive financial compensation from their utility. The CPUC was tasked with determining the rate at which customers will be compensated. In June 2011, it set the rate at the 12-month average spot market price for the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the year in which the excess electricity was generated.
COLORADO – New Law Extends, Strengthens Solar Permit Fee Cap
Colorado established a cap in 2008 on the dollar amount that permitting authorities may charge for solar installations. Local authorities evidently found ways to bypass the original law, which was set to expire on July 1, 2011. As a result, Colorado enacted fresh legislation extending the law to 2018 and plugging some of the holes in the original law.
CONNECTICUT – PV Grant Funding Fully Subscribed
Using $3 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund developed a non-residential PV grant program in October 2010. That program is fully subscribed, and funding is no longer available to support projects. (According to the CCEF web site, this program supported a total of 10 projects.
DELAWARE – Meter Aggregation, Community Net Metering Coming Soon
In June 2011, the Delaware Public Service Commission adopted net-metering regulations implementing changes made by S.B. 267 in 2010, including provisions pertaining to meter aggregation and community net metering. The new regulations, which take effect July 10, 2011, allow individuals to aggregate multiple electric accounts and meters together to be served by one or more generation systems, and allow multiple customers to subscribe to the output of a “Community Energy Facility.” The regulations also address other changes made by S.B. 267, including the extension of net metering to systems under third-party ownership arrangements.
FLORIDA – FP&L to Unveil New Solar Rebates
Florida Power & Light will launch a new pilot rebate program for PV and solar-thermal systems on June 29. Rebates will be available to residential and commercial customers on a first-come, first-served basis. Details regarding this program, which was approved by the Florida Public Service Commission, will be available on DSIRE when the program takes effect. (For more information, see www.FPL.com/solarrebates.)
GEORGIA – Clean Energy Tax Credit Sweetened
Georgia has enacted legislation (H.B. 346) extending the state’s clean energy tax credit by two years, to 12/31/2014. Significantly, the aggregate limit of the credit was raised from $2.5 million to $5 million for calendar years 2012, 2013 and 2014. (GA Clean Energy Tax Credit–corporate)
IDAHO – Renewable Energy Sales Tax Refund to Expire
Idaho’s renewable energy equipment sales tax refund will expire July 1, 2011. This incentive, which has been in place since 2005, applies to qualifying equipment and machinery used to generate electricity from fuel cells, low-impact hydro, wind, geothermal resources, biomass, co-generation, solar and landfill gas facilities with a capacity of 25 kW or greater. For more information on this incentive, see this Idaho State Tax Commission publication:
NEVADA – Limited Meter Aggregation Allowed
The Nevada legislature has enacted legislation that allows meter aggregation for owners of hydropower facilities up to 1 MW in capacity. The same bill allows meter aggregation for wind turbines installed in 2012 on property owned or leased by an institution of higher learning and used for research and workforce training.
NEW MEXICO – PNM Solar Incentive Steps Down
PNM’s Solar Energy Program provides REC payments to customers who install PV systems on homes and businesses. The program has five separate tracks for different system sizes, and each track is designed to step down over time as certain participation rates are met. The REC payment for all tracks above 10 kW has recently stepped down.
TEXAS – Right to Bear Solar Established
As of June 17, 2011, Property Owners’ Associations (also known as homeowners’ associations, or HOAs) may not include or enforce provisions within their regulations, covenants, or by-laws that prohibit or restrict homeowners from installing a solar energy device. While in theory this new law (H.B. 362) protects a homeowner’s right to go solar, there are several caveats and exceptions that allow HOAs to maintain authority to include and enforce provisions that could prohibit and/or regulate the solar energy devices in certain situations.
VERMONT – PACE Policy Recalibrated
The Vermont Energy Act of 2011 (H.B. 56) amended the state’s PACE policy, primarily to address the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s concern that PACE liens could not be superior to primary mortgages. The new law also creates two reserve funds; one is funded by participating homeowners via a one-time fee and managed by Efficiency Vermont, and the other is funded by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and managed by the Vermont’s treasurer. These reserve funds are designed to cover losses in the event of foreclosure of participating properties and to lower the risk to financial institutions providing funding for PACE programs. Efficiency Vermont has already established eligibility requirements for participating property owners, and it will manage the application process for interested PACE applicants in participating municipalities (although municipalities will have the option to manage it themselves). Thirteen municipalities had established PACE programs under the original law. New programs will not open until 2012, after the provisions of the new law come into full force and rules are established.
WISCONSIN – Focus on Energy Non-Residential Incentives Run Dry
Beginning July 1, 2011, Focus on Energy will no longer offer its Renewable Energy Incentives for non-residential projects. The program will remain open for residential projects.