CONNECTICUT – Permit Fee Exemption for Renewables?

Connecticut’s omnibus energy legislation (SB1243), enacted in July, included a provision allowing local governments to waive building permit fees for Class I renewable energy projects, including (but not limited to) solar, wind and fuel cells.

CONNECTICUT – Net Metering Goes Virtual
Connecticut has amended its net metering policy to allow virtual net metering for municipal customers. A virtual net metering facility, like all net metering facilities, must generate electricity using Class I renewables and may serve the electricity needs of the municipal host customer and additional “beneficial accounts,” as long as the beneficial accounts and host account are within the same utility’s service territory. The state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection must develop rules to implement virtual net metering in the state.

CONNECTICUT – Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority Established
This new entity has taken over the administration of the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund. It is responsible for rolling out new incentives established by SB1243, Connecticut’s omnibus energy legislation, enacted in July.

DELAWARE – New Interconnection Standards Embrace IREC Model
The Delaware Public Service Commission has adopted new interconnection standards that apply to all types of distributed generation systems less than 10 MW in capacity that are sited in Delmarva’s service territory. The new standards espouse a four-tiered approach, based on system capacity and complexity, to determine the level of review required before a system may be connected to the grid. The standards, which are based on IREC’s model interconnection standards, address technical screens, review procedures and timelines for interconnection.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA – Solar Carve-Out Boosted
The District of Columbia’s solar carve-out has been raised to 2.50% by 2023, with new “in-District” limitations on the location of solar energy systems and a 5-MW capacity limit. Solar energy sources now have a unique schedule of compliance payment requirements:  $0.50/kWh from 2011 – 2016, $0.35 in 2017, $0.30 in 2018, $0.20 in 2019 and 2020, $0.15 in 2021 and 2022, and $0.05 in 2023 and thereafter.

GEORGIA – Georgia Power Offers Cash for Solar Water Heating
Georgia Power is offering customers a rebate of up to $250 for solar water heaters or heat pump water heaters. Additional rebates could be eligible for customers who convert from natural gas.

FLORIDA – Ocala Offers Cash for Solar Water Heating
Ocala Utility Services, a municipal utility, is offering rebates of up to $450 per system for solar water heating. By participating in this program, the customer agrees that the utility will own all renewable-energy credits associated with the system.

INDIANA – IURC Mends Net Metering Snafu
The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has issued a correction to the state’s net metering rules. The corrected ruling, issued July 27, adds fuel cells and hydrogen to the list of eligible systems and resources.

LOUISIANA – Net Metering Policy Clarified
The Louisiana Public Service Commission has amended the state’s net metering policy, namely by indicating that it would determine on a case-by-case basis the appropriate value of electricity generated by projects exceeding 300kW.

MASSACHUSETTS – Mass CEC Unveils More Cash for Solar H2O
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center has announced the availability of grants up to $10,000 for pre-design studies of commercial solar hot water systems. Both public and private entities are eligible. The MassCEC also announced that grants to support installations will become available in September.  Overall, $1 million is available to support both pre-design studies and installations. Although the MassCEC refers to these awards as “grants,” they are first-come, first-serve and non-competitive.

MASSACHUSETTS – New Net Metering Docket Emerges
Massachusetts opened a docket in February to examine general net metering and interconnection issues. In late July, the Department of Public Utilities announced a separate rulemaking to implement changes required by legislation enacted in October 2010, which allow municipal/government entities to net meter up to 10 MW and increased the aggregate capacity of net metering to 2% for municipal/government entities.

MASSACHUSETTS – Model Wind Ordinance Renovated
In 2007, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs issued a model ordinance or by-law that could be modified, as necessary, and adopted by local governments seeking to promote wind-energy development. In 2009, DOER and EOEEA amended the model ordinance to cover both small and large wind developments, and to incorporate “as-of-right siting” (which basically means that projects that follow relevant local, state and federal laws are allowed). Additional adjustments were made in June to clarify set-back issues.

MICHIGAN – Consumers Energy Reactivates Performance Incentives
Consumers Energy announced that it will reopen its Experimental Advanced Renewable Program, offering customers between $0.20/kWh  and $0.259/kWh for electricity produced by PV systems. The non-residential program will reopen in September; the residential program will reopen in 2012.

NEW HAMPSHIRE – State Steps up Residential Solar Support
The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission announced in late July that all residential solar-thermal rebate funds supported by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 had been awarded. (Applications for these funds are still being accepted in case any existing reservations expire and funds become available, but any funds that become available will be minimal.) However, the state-funded component of the rebate program is still in effect, and the PUC recently increased state rebate levels to compensate for the retired federal funding component.

OREGON – New Incentives Arise from BETC’s Ashes
Oregon continues to tighten rules for its Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) after several years of scrutiny and more-recent negative media attention. BETC was initially authorized in 1979; significant expansions to the tax credit were made in 1993 and during the past 10 years. Legislation (HB 3672) recently enacted by Oregon has eliminated BETC in its current form. Applications for BETC that were submitted after April 15, 2011, will not be approved. This new law also created a new energy conservation tax credit, a tax credit auction program and a grant program that will be funded by revenue from the tax credit auctions. Rules for the new programs likely will be developed by October. The renewable manufacturing tax credit will remain in place until its scheduled sunset in 2014.

RHODE ISLAND – New Law Overhauls, Expands Net Metering
Rhode Island enacted legislation (S.B. 457) in June 2011 that replaced its net metering policy with a new policy that took effect in July.
Rhode Island now allows net metering for systems up to 5 MW in capacity that are designed to generate up to 100% of the electricity that a home or facility uses. The aggregate limit of net-metered systems in Rhode Island is 3% of peak load, and 2 MW is reserved for systems less than 50 kW. The new law includes provisions supporting meter aggregation and certain forms of virtual net metering. Third-party ownership is allowed for systems that serve one or more municipalities.