News from DSIRE: week of 9/4/11
ARIZONA – SRP Incentives Run Dry
Salt River Project has reached the 6-MW aggregate limit it had set to fund PV systems greater than 30 kW in capacity. SRP will accept an additional 2 MW of applications in case approved projects are cancelled. Additional funding will become available May 1, 2012
CALIFORNIA – Regulators RAM Through Renewables Auctions
The Renewable Auction Mechanism, authorized by the CPUC in December 2010, achieved another milestone in late August with the approval of Resolution E-4414. This resolution requires California’s investor-owned utilities to submit compliance filings within 30 days, and to complete their first auctions by November 15. The RAM involves two annual auctions held by each utility in which eligible projects of up to 20 MW will bid for standard contracts.
CALIFORNIA – LADWP Solar Incentives Resuscitated
Citing budget constraints, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power suspended its popular solar incentive program earlier this year. After much debate, LADWP revised and re-launched the program on September 1, 2011. The program now awards upfront rebates of $2.20/W for residential systems and $1.95/W for commercial systems. These incentives will step down over time as installed capacity targets are met.
COLORADO – Xcel Incentives for Mid-Size PV Exhausted
The budget for Xcel’s Solar*Rewards program is split between different size and ownership categories. The budget for systems between 10 kW and 500 kW support an aggregate total of 20 MW. Xcel reached that level in late August and is no longer accepting applications for systems larger than 10 kW.
COLORADO – Black Hills Incentives for Larger PV Exhausted
Black Hills Energy announced in late August that the funding allocated for systems between 30 kW and 100 kW has been fully allocated. No new applications are being accepted at this time.
CONNECTICUT – ZRECs and LRECs Enter the RPS Scene
Connecticut’s major energy policy overhaul includes a provision that requires that utilities enter into long-term contracts (15 years) for renewable energy credits from zero emission Class I renewable energy facilities (on the customer side of the meter) up to one megawatt in size. Zero emission Class I facilities include solar, wind, and hydro generators. It also requires that utilities enter into long-term contracts (15 years) for renewable energy credits from low emission Class I renewable energy facilities (on the customer side of the meter) up to two megawatts in size. The law establishes the emission criteria required to achieve “low emission facility” status, and could include facilities that generate using fuel cells, biomass, and landfill gas. While these long-term contracts do not directly amend the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS), the ZRECs and LRECs secured via these long term contracts will be used for RPS compliance.
DELAWARE – Fuel Cells Qualify for RPS, SREC Generation
A new law (S.B. 124) recently enacted in Delaware has amended the state’s renewables portfolio standard by allowing energy output from certain fuel cells to fulfill the state’s RPS. Qualified fuel cell projects may generate RECs that may be used for compliance with the RPS. In addition, qualifying fuel cell systems will be permitted to generate SRECs at a ratio of one SREC for every six MWh of electricity produced. The use of SRECs generated by fuel cells to meet the standard is limited to 30% of the compliance requirement in any given year, except in cases of shortage or an administrative increase in the requirement.
FLORIDA – FPL PV Rebate Funds Drained in Three Hours
Florida Power & Light (FPL), an investor-owned utility, re-opened the application period for its 2011 solar rebate program on August 30, offering a total of $5 million in additional rebate funds. Due to overwhelming demand, all funds were reserved within three hours. Applicants who did not receive a rebate for 2011 may apply for a 2012 rebate beginning in October 2011. Funding is still available for solar water heating under this program.
ILLINOIS – Community Renewables Grants Available
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is now offering grants for community-scale PV, solar-thermal and wind-energy projects. Commercial, non-profit and government entities are eligible for grants up to $250,000. Applications are due by October 28.
MAINE – Renewables Portfolio Standard Review Underway
Legislation enacted in 2011 (Public Act 413) requires the PUC to study the state’s renewable portfolio standard. In August 2011, the PUC opened Docket 2011-271 to start collecting comments from stakeholders and interested parties. (Go to Maine PUC’s EasyWeb Docket Search and enter 2011271). The PUC is required to report to the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology by January 31, 2012. Affected parties, the general public, and interested stakeholders are asked to comment. The PUC will be exploring eight major issues, and in their request for information, they have posed 27 specific questions.
MASSACHUSETTS – Going for the Gold on Interconnection?
According to Freeing the Grid, an annual report that grades the states on net metering and interconnection, Massachusetts has an A for its interconnection policies (2010). Despite that, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) filed the Massachusetts Distributed Generation Interconnection Report with the Department of Public Utilities, requesting several changes and improvements to the current interconnection process. The report suggests several improvements, including acceleration of binding timelines, a more efficient application process (that includes a uniform online application), and establishing an interconnection ombudsperson.
MASSACHUSETTS – Solar Carve-Out Minimum Standard Announced
The total compliance obligation is 81,559 solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) and the solar minimum standard for compliance year 2012 is 0.163%, which is slightly higher than the 2011 standard. This translates into approximately 71 megawatts (MW) of solar. There was a shortage of SRECs in compliance year 2011.
MASSACHUSETTS – Alternative Compliance Payment 10-year Schedule Contemplated
In order to provide additional market predictability, DOER is considering amending its renewable portfolio standard rules to incorporate a 10-year alternative compliance payment (ACP) schedule. The proposed schedule maintains the $550/megawatt hour currently in place for two years and then scales down 5% each year. The DOER started taking comments in August and intends to open a rulemaking to make the changes.
MICHIGAN – IOU Reactivates PV Production Incentive
Consumers Energy, an investor-owned utility, recently announced that it will reopen its Experimental Advanced Renewable Program, a buy-back tariff programs for customers who install PV systems. The application period for commercial customers is now open; the deadline is September 28. Residential applications will be available in December.
NEVADA – NV Energy to Award PV Rebates by Lottery
NV Energy will accept applications for its popular SolarGenerations program between September 16 and September 28. In previous years, a landslide of applications was submitted in the opening minutes of the application period, and the full budget was spoken for by the end of the day. For this program year, all applicants will have an equal chance of receiving a rebate through a lottery held at the end of the month. This first lottery will award 25% of the amount budgeted for this program year, with additional lotteries to be announced in the future.
OREGON – BETC Sinks, RETC Swims
Legislation recently enacted in Oregon (HB 3672) extended the expiration date of the state’s Residential Energy Tax Credit to January 1, 2018 (with the exception of the alternative fuels vehicle portion of the tax credit, which will sunset as scheduled, on January 1, 2012). Certain energy-efficient appliances will no longer be eligible for this tax credit. The same bill did away with Oregon’s Business Energy Tax Credit.
OREGON – Utility Solar Rebate Program Set to Expire
Central Electric Cooperative’s solar rebates program will close September 30, 2011. This program was part of the BPA’s Bright Way to Heat Water initiative, which has ended. Through this program, the co-op offered rebates for both solar water heating and PV.
PENNSYLVANIA – Hurry up and Wait for PA Sunshine Rebates
As of August 19, 2011, the PA Sunshine program, which offers rebates for residential and small business PV and solar hot water systems, has transitioned to a waiting list for new incentive reservations. The program will continue to accept and review new applications, but funding will only be assigned as it becomes available through project attrition. Further guidelines on how the waiting list process will be administered are not yet available.
PENNSYLVANIA – DCED Solar Incentives Back in Action
The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development has re-opened the Solar Energy Incentives program to new applications from September 1 – October 31, 2011. The program offers a combination of loans, grants and loan guarantees for solar energy production projects, manufacturing facilities, and research and development facilities. Projects should be ready to move forward within six months of the submission of an application.
TEXAS – Entergy Suspends Solar PV Program
Entergy in Texas has fully allocated $450,000 for solar PV rebates and is no longer accepting applications. The program began in 2009. Incentive levels for the 2011 program were $2.00/watt for residential installations and $1.75/watt for non-residential.
UTAH – Fresh Funding for Renewables Rebates
The Utah State Energy Program launched a rebate program for PV, solar water heating and wind energy in April 2010. The $3 million budget for the program was exhausted within months. On August 22, 2011, the SEP jump-started the program with an additional $1 million in funding. The program will accept applications on a first-come, first-served basis until funding is exhausted.