September 19, 2011

News from DSIRE: week of 9/19/11

  Arizona – TEP Suspends Solar Rebate Program Following in the footsteps of its fellow Arizona utilities, TEP recently announced the suspension of its up-front solar incentives for the remainder of 2011. The announcement comes after a surge in applications arrived over the summer. TEP is now working with the Arizona Corporation Commission to develop…


Arizona – TEP Suspends Solar Rebate Program
Following in the footsteps of its fellow Arizona utilities, TEP recently announced the suspension of its up-front solar incentives for the remainder of 2011. The announcement comes after a surge in applications arrived over the summer. TEP is now working with the Arizona Corporation Commission to develop new incentive levels for the 2012 program year.

California enacted legislation in 2009 requiring the CPUC to adopt new rules for the Self-Generation Incentive Program. After a two-year rulemaking process, the CPUC has recently approved new rules. Significant changes include opening up the program to a variety of CHP technologies, providing incentives for small wind as long as the state’s Emerging Renewables Program is closed, and splitting the incentive so that half is paid up-front and half is paid as a performance-based incentive. The SGIP will reopen when revisions to the official program handbook are approved.

FLORIDA – Tampa Electric Solar Rebates Open, Close
Tampa Electric opened a $1 million PV rebate program on September 15. Reservations were accepted from residential and commercial customers a first-come, first-serve basis. By September 16, the utility had received the maximum number of reservations that could be processed during this round of funding. Additional funds may become available later in 2011.

FLORIDA – Progress Energy to Reactivate SunSense Solar Rebates
On October 4, Progress Energy Florida will begin accepting applications for residential customers seeking 2012 program rebates. Applicants must own and occupy the PV system and the home where the PV system is installed.

FLORIDA – Cutler Bay Approves PACE Agreement
In another step toward the implementation of the Town of Cutler Bay’s PACE program, Financing Initiative for Renewable and Solar Technology (FIRST), town officials approved a third-party administrator agreement with Ygrene Florida Energy Fund. FIRST would allow Cutler Bay property owners to opt in to a PACE program that provides financing to fund the upfront expenses associated with the installation of renewable energy systems.

ILLINOIS – DCEO Renewables Incentives Back in Action
The DCEO Renewable Energy Business Development Grant Program and the Solar and Wind Energy Rebate programs have reopened. The maximum rebate for the solar and wind program has been reduced to $30,000 per project, and rebates are now calculated on a per-watt basis. The program closes on April 30, 2012, or when funds have been exhausted. The maximum award amount under the REBD program has been reduced to $500,000, and all applications must be submitted by October 28, 2011.

INDIANA – NIPSCO Feed-In Tariff Takes Effect
The NIPSCO Feed-in Tariff program is now available to customers that generate electricity from solar, wind, biomass or new hydroelectric systems. Facilities between 5 kW and 5 MW are eligible. The total capacity available under this program is 30 MW, with 500 kW reserved for small solar and 500 kW reserved for small wind.

MASSACHUSETTS – Fresh Cash for Commonwealth Solar II
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center has added $2 million to its Commonwealth Solar II Block 7 solicitation, which is scheduled to close September 30. Block 8 is scheduled to open in October.

MINNESOTA – Xcel Solar*Rewards 2011 Funds Exhausted
Solar*Rewards, Xcel’s REC-purchasing program, has closed for 2011 in Minnesota. Applications received after August 19 will be assigned to the 2012 budget. However, customers that apply for the Minnesota Made Bonus rebate will still receive a $5/W rebate.

NEW YORK – LIPA to Scratch Disconnect Switch Requirement
The Long Island Power Authority is not covered by the New York’s Standard Interconnection Requirements (SIR) and net-metering law, which apply to the state’s major investor-owned utilities. While LIPA’s net-metering rules are more or less in line with the state law, one notable difference between the SIR and LIPA’s Interconnection Guidelines is that LIPA has historically required the installation of a utility-accessible external disconnect switch for all distributed generation systems. The state SIR exempt inverter-based systems up to 25 kW from the disconnect requirement. In August 2011, New York enacted legislation (A.B. 5525) directing LIPA to conform to this provision of state SIR. Changes to LIPAs own interconnection requirements should be forthcoming.

OHIO – FirstEnergy Solicits Long-Term REC, SREC Contracts
FirstEnergy, an investor-owned utility, is accepting applications for long-term REC and SREC contracts. As part of its Electric Security Plan, FirstEnergy is purchasing 5,000 SRECs and 20,000 RECs in equal quantities each calendar year, from 2011 to 2020. The deadline for applications for the first round of long-term contracts is October 18.

OREGON – Tinkering Continues with Solar Production Incentives
In anticipation of the opening of the next round of Oregon’s Pilot Solar Volumetric Incentive Rates & Payments Program, the Oregon Public Utility Commission has ordered changes to the program’s rules and rates. The net-metering-based program now has a lottery-based method of reserving capacity for small and medium-scale systems. Previously, the incentive program was available on a first-come, first-served basis and filled up within hours of opening. The incentive rate was also lowered from $0.396/kWh – $0.468/kWh to $0.317/kWh – $0.374/kWh. The next round will open October 3.

RHODE ISLAND – Feed-In Tariff Established; Details Brewing
Rhode Island enacted legislation in June (H.B. 6104) establishing a feed-in tariff for new distributed renewable energy generators up to 5 MW in capacity. The new law requires electric distribution companies to enter into standard contracts for an aggregate capacity of at least 40 MW by the end of 2014. Standard contracts include a fixed payment rate and a 15-year term, and payments will generally vary by generator capacity and type. Details of this new policy, including price ceilings, will be ironed out this month. Each electric distribution company must conduct one enrollment period in 2011 and at least three enrollment periods in subsequent program years.

TVA – Eligible System Size Reduced for Production Incentives
TVA announced earlier this month that it would reduce the maximum renewable energy installation capacity under the Generation Partners Program from 200 kW to 50 kW on September 16. The program will continue to provide $1,000 per system plus $0.12/kWh above the base rate for PV and $0.03/kWh above the retail rate for other qualifying systems. This program is available through participating TVA distribution utilities in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia.

WASHINGTON – Co-Op Launches Production Incentives
Orcas Power and Light, an electric cooperative serving Washington’s San Juan Islands, provides a performance-based incentive for residential and commercial customers who generate electricity from PV, wind, micro-hydroelectric and certain other renewables. The Member-Owned Renewable Energy (MORE) Program is funded by voluntary donations from other customers.