May 17, 2010

News from DSIRE, week of May 17, 2010

ARIZONA – Tax Incentives Extended by Six Years Legislation enacted earlier this month extended the expiration date of two Arizona tax incentives. The state’s sales tax exemption on wind and solar equipment, which was due to expire at the end of this year, has been extended through the end of 2016. Likewise, a 10% tax credit for…

ARIZONA – Tax Incentives Extended by Six Years
Legislation enacted earlier this month extended the expiration date of two Arizona tax incentives. The state’s sales tax exemption on wind and solar equipment, which was due to expire at the end of this year, has been extended through the end of 2016. Likewise, a 10% tax credit for non-residential solar and wind equipment, which was due to expire at the end of 2012, was extended through the end of 2018.

ARIZONA – APS Further Reduces PV Rebate Levels
With ever-increasing participation levels threatening to drain the budget for its PV rebate program, APS requested and received authorization from the Arizona Corporation Commission in April to reduce the rebate level for residential PV. The rebate dropped from $3/W to $2.15/W on April 1. Less than a month later, APS requested and received authorization from the commission for a second decrease.  The residential PV rebate is now $1.95/W.

CONNECTICUT – Interconnection to Area Networks Approved
Connecticut utilities have completed their study/review of interconnection to area networks and submitted their final report (including revised interconnection guidelines) to the Connecticut Public Utilities Commission, which has accepted the revised guidelines. After the IEEE issues a new standard for interconnection to area networks, the PUC will require utilities to reexamine their interconnection guidelines.

FEDERAL – USDA Offers Grants for Rural Renewables
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development issues periodic funding solicitations for the federal Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The deadline to apply for grants and loan guarantees under the most recent solicitation is June 30, 2010. Grants and loan guarantees will be awarded for investments in renewables, energy efficiency and renewable-energy feasibility studies.

HAWAII – Solar, Wind Tax Credits Clarified to Prevent “Abuse”
The Hawaii Department of Taxation has issued guidelines to clarify the state’s tax credit for solar and wind energy. With the increasing prevalence of micro-inverters, there was uncertainty surrounding the definition of what constitutes a “system” and serious concern that owners of systems using micro-inverters could claim multiple tax credits. The department emphasized in its new guidance that the number of inverters does not determine the number of systems; rather, the number of connections to the electrical system determines the number of systems.

LOUISIANA – Curtain Closes on State Appliance Rebates
As part of Louisiana’s federally-funded appliance rebate program, rebates for solar water-heating systems were offered for a short period of time. The rebate program opened on April 24, 2010. Rebates for appliances, including solar water heaters, were completely subscribed by May 3, 2010.

MAINE – Wind Energy Goal Super-Sized
Although not part of the state’s binding renewable portfolio standard (RPS), Maine has increased its wind-energy goal from 3,000 MW by 2020 to 8,000 MW by 2030. This new goal is fueled by Maine’s ambitious coastal and off-shore wind aspirations. In addition to increasing the state’s wind goals, L.D. 1810 establishes many provisions to help pave the way for offshore wind.

MARYLAND – Net Metering Revisions Shock, Awe
Freshly enacted legislation (H.B. 801) promises significant changes – not all of which are good – to the way net metering functions in Maryland. When it takes effect, the new law will require net excess generation (NEG) to be carried forward from month to month as a monetary credit, valued at the “prevailing market price of energy applicable to the electric company in the PJM Interconnection energy market,” as opposed to as a kWh credit. This revision could be very unfavorable to system owners. However, system owners will be compensated at the end of a 12-month period for any remaining NEG, replacing the current requirement that system owners surrender annual net NEG to the utility. The Maryland Public Service Commission must develop rules to implement the new law by October 1, 2010.

NEW JERSEY – Solar Rebates Make Cameo Appearance
New Jersey’s popular solar rebate program is once again closed to new applications after opening briefly for eight days in early May. The program reportedly received more than 1,000 applications on the date it re-opened (after a one month hiatus, during which the budget and incentive levels were reduced in order to accommodate Executive Order No. 14). The state’s Office of Clean Energy expects to request additional funding in order to continue accepting applications in June 2010. If this request is denied, the next funding cycle is scheduled to begin September 1, 2010.

NORTH CAROLINA – REC Determination Dooms Co-Op Solar Program
Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative launched an incentive program for solar water heating in August 2009.  The program provided rebates of $600 for residential solar water heaters. In April 2010, the North Carolina Utilities Commission informed the utility that it could not use RECs generated by these systems to comply with the state’s RPS unless each system was metered. The utility decided it was not feasible to meter each system, so the program was closed on May 1.

PENNSYLVANIA – Funding for Small Business PV Dries Up
After roughly a one-year run, the small business PV portion of the Pennsylvania Sunshine rebate program is out of cash. As of April 30, 2010, the fourth and final incentive step had received applications totaling more than 11 MW — more than double the amount (5 MW) specified in the step. The first three capacity steps totaled 30 MW. Incentives under the Pennsylvania Sunshine program are still available for residential and small business solar-thermal installations, and to residential PV installations.

PENNSYLVANIA – PEDA Grant Program Reactivated
The Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority  issues periodic funding solicitations to provide support for innovative, advanced energy projects, and for businesses interested in locating or expanding alternative-energy manufacturing or production operations in the state. PEDA’s April 2010 solicitation offers $16 million in funding to support in-state projects, manufacturing or research. Of this sum, $2.4 million is reserved for projects sited in the service territory of the Duquesne Light Company. Applications must be received by June 15, 2010.

TEXAS – CPS Energy Unveils Production Incentive for PV
Under the Solartricity Producer Program, CPS Energy, municipal utility serving San Antonio, will contract to purchase electricity produced by PV systems at a rate of $0.27 per kWh for 20 years. The program is open to systems ranging from 25 kW to 500 kW which primarily (90%) utilize rooftop-sited equipment and are located in CPS Energy’s service territory. The utility plans to enter into contracts with systems totaling 5 MW (AC) annually for the initial two-year pilot program. Program information is already available on-line, but applications will not be accepted until June 15, 2010.