September 6, 2010

News from DSIRE: week of 9/6/10

ARIZONA – TEP PV Rebate Levels Lowered Tucson Electric Power (TEP) received more applications for its PV rebate program than expected during the first half of 2010. As a result, TEP filed a request with the Arizona Corporation Commission in July to reduce rebate levels in an effort to maintain program funding through the end of…

ARIZONA – TEP PV Rebate Levels Lowered
Tucson Electric Power (TEP) received more applications for its PV rebate program than expected during the first half of 2010. As a result, TEP filed a request with the Arizona Corporation Commission in July to reduce rebate levels in an effort to maintain program funding through the end of the year. The ACC approved the proposed rebate level reductions on August 25, with a retroactive effective date of August 11. The rebate level for residential PV was reduced from $3.00/W to $2.00/W, and commercial PV rebate levels were reduced from $2.50/W to $1.75/W. Commercial rebates will be further reduced to $1.50/W after $2 million in funds have been reserved for 2010.

CONNECTICUT – CT Solar Lease Program Resuscitated
After almost a six-month hiatus, the CT Solar Lease program is again offering PV systems to Connecticut homeowners. The program is not expected to be open indefinitely; the goal is to support 100 leases. The basic terms of the program have not changed. No down-payment is required; the lease terms is 15 years (with an option to extend); and homeowners are responsible for system operation and maintenance. There is a $150 application fee.

FLORIDA – Sarasota Unveils Solar Loans, Rebates
Sarasota County is offering loans and rebates for solar water heaters and solar attic fans. This program, funded by the federal stimulus act, provides loans up to $5,000, rebates of $100 for solar attic fans, and rebates of $750 for solar hot water heaters.

GEORGIA – Solar Buyback Program Doubled
Georgia Power, the only investor-owned utility operating in Georgia, announced that it will purchase an additional 2.5 MW of solar power as part of its Solar Buyback Program, raising the total capacity supported by the program to 5 MW. Georgia Power will purchase the first 1.5 MW at the current rate of $0.17/kWh and the remaining 1 MW via bids.

MARYLAND – Strong Solar Demand Prompts Program Changes
In an effort to support as many customers as possible, the Maryland Energy Administration has revised state rebate levels for both PV and solar water heater systems. Rebates for PV systems will now be calculated at a flat rate of $0.50/W, with a maximum award $10,000. This replaces a tiered rebate structure, under which per-watt rebate levels shrank as system size increased. Incentive levels for solar hot water systems have been reduced from 30% of cost up to $2,000 to 20% of cost, with a maximum aware of $1,500.

NEW JERSEY – First Offshore Wind Mandate Makes Headlines (like this one)
New Jersey has become the first U.S. state to establish a mandatory target for offshore wind in an RPS policy. Legislation enacted in August 2010 calls for the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to develop a percentage-based standard sufficient to result in 1,100 MW of installed offshore wind capacity. The new law does not include a timeline for achieving this target, and other policy details remain uncertain. However, the law does provide that the offshore wind carve-out will not increase the existing Class I renewable energy requirement.

NEW YORK – Net Metering Doubled for Anaerobic Digesters
As a result of legislation enacted in August 2010, farm-based anaerobic digester systems up to 1 MW will soon be able to net meter in New York. This expansion doubles the current size limit of 500 kW for such systems. Utilities will need to submit revised net metering tariffs to the New York Public Service Commission to implement this change.

OHIO – Renewables to Benefit from Property Tax Tinkering
In June 2010, Ohio enacted legislation to improve the state’s property tax laws for renewable energy facilities. Prior to this legislation, a renewable energy facility in Ohio that sold electricity to a third party was considered a “public utility” for tax purposes, and the resulting property tax burden posed a major barrier for renewable energy development in the state. Now, facilities up to 250 kW that sell electricity to a third party are permanently exempt from property taxes. Larger systems that begin construction before January 1, 2012, may be qualified to make a payment in lieu of taxes.

TENNESSEE – Solar Innovation Grants Now on Tap
Using federal stimulus funds, the Tennessee Solar Institute has unveiled a new solar program (in addition to the Solar Installation Grants program) to support facility improvements for solar-related industries. Under the new Solar Innovation Grant Program, companies may apply for up to $500,000 to fund efficiency improvements, renewable energy installations, workforce training, and other projects to improve the bottom line of solar industries in Tennessee. The application deadline is September 24, 2010.

TENNESSEE – Shared Savings Fuel $50 Million Energy Loan Program
Tennessee now offers loans to businesses and non-profits to support renewables and energy efficiency at eligible facilities. This revolving loan program currently provides funding of up to $1 million at a 5% interest rate. All project costs may be financed. The principal may be paid down with as little as 50% of energy use savings for up to 10 years, while the facility owner retains the remaining 50% as a sweetener for participating.

VERMONT – PV Incentive Levels Drop
Vermont’s recently redesigned Small-Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program incorporated planned step-downs. The PV component of this program has reached its first milestone of 750 kW reserved, and as planned, the incentive has been reduced from $1.50/W to $1.25/W for the first 10 kW, and from $1.00/W to $0.75/W for next 50 kW (up to 60 kW). The last tier remained unchanged at $0.50/W DC for the next 90 kW (up to 150 kW). Neither the wind nor the solar hot water components of this program have reached their milestones; the full incentive levels are still available for these types of systems.

WISCONSIN – WPS Customers Tantalized with Renewables Grants
Focus on Energy and Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) have collaborated to offer WPS customers several new types of incentives for renewables. Grants are available for solar, wind and biomass, with additional incentives for nonprofits that install renewables.
Focus on Energy – Large Renewable Grant Program (WPS Customers Only)
Focus on Energy – Commercial Solar Space-Heating Grant (WPS Customers Only)
Focus on Energy – Renewable Energy Incentives for Nonprofits (WPS Customers Only)