News from DSIRE: week of May 16, 2011
ALASKA – Alaska Adopts Interconnection Guidelines
In October 2009, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) approved net metering regulations. These rules were finalized and approved by the lieutenant governor in January 2010 and became effective January 15, 2010. On May 5, 2011, the RCA approved interconnection guidelines. All utilities subject to Alaska’s net metering regulations must issue a revised tariff that addresses interconnection.
ARIZONA – Utility Gives Solar Program a Facelift
SRP re-launched their popular photovoltaic (PV) rebate program on May 1, 2011 with new terms. The utility has separate pools of money for residential, small commercial, and large commercial PV systems. Incentives for each customer class are designed to individually step down over time as certain installed megawatt targets are met.
HAWAII – Solar Water Heating Rebate Rally Continues
Over the past few weeks, Hawaii Energy’s Solar Water Heating Rebate has gone down, up, down and now up again. After being dropped down to $750 following the full commitment of the one pool of ARRA funds, the rebate has been increased to $1,000 to make use of more ARRA funds. The rebate will return to $750 as of July 1, 2011.
MAINE – Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Loans Launched in April 2011
With seed money provided through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Initiative, Efficiency Maine launched its PACE Loan program in April. Homeowners living in municipalities that have passed PACE ordinances are eligible to apply. Efficiency Maine announced that the first loans closed earlier this month, thereby enabling those homeowners access to capital to make energy efficiency improvements. Efficiency Maine has an online application process and an energy audit is a required first step. While focusing on efficiency technologies, renewables are also eligible. Maine originally passed PACE legislation in April 2010.
MARYLAND – Lawton Conservation Loan Now Open for FY2012
The Jane E. Lawton Conservation Loan Program offers loans to local governments, non-profits, and businesses for energy conservation and energy efficiency projects with payback periods of 10 years or less. For local governments and non-profits, renewable energy projects are also eligible for loans provided they meet minimum cost effectiveness criteria. For Fiscal Year 2012 a total of $2.5 million is available for new loans ranging from $40,000 – $500,000, with a fixed interest rate of 2.5%.
NEW JERSEY – Solar RPS Rules Revised Under Special Rule Adoption
The Solar Energy Advancement and Fair Competition Act (SEAFCA), enacted in January 2010, changed New Jersey’s solar target from 2.12% by 2021 to 5,316 gigawatt-hours (GWhs) by 2026. Recent revisions to the RPS rules were required by the SEAFCA. The revisions address how electric suppliers will meet and determine solar obligations for 2011 and future years. The SEAFCA also removed provisions that would freeze the RPS if cost limitations were exceeded.
NORTH CAROLINA – General Assembly Tinkers with the Renewable Portfolio Standard
Legislation signed at the end of April has potentially watered down the state’s renewables portfolio standard. The legislation allows utilities to meet 100% of their renewable energy requirements with “electricity demand reduction”. The definition of electricity demand reduction suggests that certain “smart grid” applications will now be eligible technologies under the law.
OREGON – Douglas Electric Cooperative Solar Rebate Program Shuts Down
Douglas Electric Cooperative’s Solar Rebate Program shut down in response to shifts in Bonneville Power Administration funding. Douglas Electric Cooperative offered a flat $500 rebate to solar water heating systems and a rebate of $500 per kilowatt (kW), up to 25 kW for solar photovoltaic systems. There is a possibility that the program will reopen, but it is currently closed.
VERMONT – Standard Offer for Qualifying SPEED Resources, Technology Caps to be Lifted
Vermont’s Standard Offer program was enacted in May 2009 and was designed to incentivize 50 MW of renewable energy project development. The policy was intended to support rapid development through long-term contracts and fixed rates, but it was also designed to support a variety of renewable energy technologies. In an effort to balance these policy goals, the Public Service Board created technology-specific sub-caps of 12.5 megawatt (MW). Solar and Wind projects have met the technology caps (the solar cap was met almost immediately and a lottery was held to select projects from that initial submission). To date, hydroelectric and biomass (including new farm methane and landfill methane) projects have not reached their respective 12.5 MW caps. After stakeholder input in October 2010, the Public Service Board ordered that the sub-caps remain in place until May 31, 2011. This deadline is fast approaching and there is already a long queue of wind and solar projects that have applied but have not yet been considered.