November 9, 2009

State & Stakeholder Newsletter, Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 Volume #8, Issue #22 Editor: Jane Pulaski The IREC State & Stakeholder Newsletter tracks a range of market-oriented news, services and outreach tools valuable to the renewable energy community. This free newsletter is distributed semi-monthly to email subscribers and published on IREC’s website.   If you have comments or if you would like…

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Volume #8, Issue #22

Editor: Jane Pulaski

The IREC State & Stakeholder Newsletter tracks a range of market-oriented news, services and outreach tools valuable to the renewable energy community. This free newsletter is distributed semi-monthly to email subscribers and published on IREC’s website.   If you have comments or if you would like to submit a news item, email Jane Pulaski.

If you want the best news about what’s going on in the states and cities, get IREC’s State & Stakeholder newsletter.

Thanks for reading.

In this Issue…

–State/Local Headlines (IREC States, Interconnection/Net Metering)

–Solar America Cities:  Minnesota’s ‘Solar in the Cities’ Initiative: Solar is alive and well in Minnesota

–Special Section:  IREC Annual Meeting Wrap-Up–in case you missed it: Innovation Awardees, presentations, video interview with Jane Weissman, reports

– Extra Extra:  IREC Webinar 11/12:  Expedited Permitting for Small PV Systems



–About this Newsletter/How to Subscribe

Conference_Logo_Final_250If you’ve been thinking about attending the 3rd Workforce Education Conference this month in Albany, time is running out and the conference is approaching capacity.  According to conference organizers, 34 states and four countries are represented, including a German delegation of vocational education.

“We have an exceptional line up of plenary speakers,” said IREC’s Jane Weissman, one of the conference organizers.  Included in that impressive list are Mary Spilde, President of Lane Community College and Chair of the American Association of Community Colleges, Dan Lance from GE Wind, Jeff Spies of AEE Solar, Debra Rowe from Oakland Community College, and Steve Nadel from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.  U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko and NYSERDA’s Vice President for Programs, Robert Callender, are luncheon speakers.  MORE

State/Local News

(1)  ALASKA – Regulatory Commission Establishes Net Metering
In October 2009, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska established net metering regulations for all electric utilities subject to economic regulation. (Utilities with retail sales of less than 5 million kWh are exempt). Renewable-energy systems with a capacity up to 25 kW are eligible for net metering. Overall enrollment is limited to 1.5% of a utility’s retail sales during the previous year. Systems that generate electricity using solar, wind, hydro, biomass, ocean energy, or geothermal energy are eligible (see DSIRE record).

(2)  CALIFORNIA – SMUD PV Incentive Levels Fall
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) has lowered its incentives for residential and non-residential PV systems. Rebates for residential systems were lowered from $2.20 per watt to $1.90 watt, and rebates for non-residential systems have decreased from $1.90 watt to $1.10 watt. In addition, SMUD’s production-based incentives have been reduced from $0.30 per kWh for five years and $0.18/kWh for 10 years to $0.17/kWh for five years and $0.11/kWh for 10 years (see DSIRE record: residential incentives; see DSIRE record: non-residential systems).

(3)  CALIFORNIA–City of Sacramento issues RFQ for PPA
The City of Sacramento is issuing a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the installation of on-site solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at City host facilities. The City intends to contract for up to 4 MW of third party owned on-site solar PV systems. The PV systems will be installed on or around a number of specified City host facilities.  Proposals due November 18, 2009, 2:00 PM PT.

(4)  COLORADO – Xcel Develops Capacity-Based Step Down for SREC Payments
In an attempt to ensure consistent program funding for future years, Xcel Energy announced that the amount the utility pays for solar renewable-energy credits (SREC) through its Solar*Rewards program will “step down” over time as cumulative solar capacity targets are met. Xcel is required by state law to provide up-front rebates of $2 per watt, but it is authorized to develop a fair price for SREC purchases, which accompany the upfront rebate (see DSIRE record).

(5)  MICHIGAN – Consumers Energy Extends Deadline for PV Purchase Tariff
Consumers Energy, an investor-owned electric utility operating in Michigan, offers special energy-purchase rates for electricity generated by residential and commercial PV systems. Under the original program rules, residential and commercial systems installed by the end of 2009 are eligible for payments of $0.65 per kWh and $0.45 per kWh, respectively, with reduced levels for systems placed in service in 2010. However, Consumers Energy has extended the in-service deadline, at the current incentive levels, to May 1, 2010, subject to annual and total program limits on installed capacity (see DSIRE record).

(6)  NEW JERSEY – First Residential PV Rebate Block Extended
New Jersey’s PV residential rebate program uses a declining block structure; rebate amounts decrease when the cumulative capacity of approved systems reaches pre-determined capacity benchmarks. The first block was originally intended to expire when the cumulative capacity of approved systems reached 10 MW, but the New Board of Public Utilities (BPU) has extended the benchmark to 20 MW. The rebate level will remain $1.75 per watt for systems installed on homes that have received an energy audit and $1.55 per watt for those that have not (see DSIRE record).

(7)  OREGON – PUC Adopts Interconnection Rules for Small Generator Facilities
In September 2009, the Oregon Public Utilities Commission finalized interconnection rules for small generators. These new rules extended the state’s existing interconnection rules to systems up to 10 MW, and set limits on interconnection fees. The new rules apply to all investor-owned utilities, including Idaho Power (which is exempt from the state’s interconnection rules for net-metered systems). Oregon now has two separate interconnection standards: one for net-metered systems, and one for systems that are not net-metered (see DSIRE record).

(8)  PENNSYLVANIA – State PV Rebate Levels for Small Businesses Fall
The Pennsylvania Sunshine Program uses a declining block structure; rebate amounts decrease when the cumulative capacity of approved systems reaches pre-determined capacity benchmarks. The cumulative capacity of approved small business PV systems reached five MW in October 2009, triggering a general incentive reduction of $0.50 per watt. As a result, small businesses are now eligible for rebates of $1.75 per watt for the first 10 kW of capacity, $1.50 per watt for the next 90 kW, and $1.25 per watt for the next 100 kW. Residential rebates remain unchanged at this time (see DSIRE record).

(9)  TEXAS – Austin Energy Revises, Re-Activates Residential PV Rebates
Austin Energy, a municipal electric utility, is now accepting applications for residential PV rebates under revised program rules. The incentive level has been reduced from $3.75 per watt to $2.50 per watt; a rebate limit of $15,000 per installation has been imposed; and home energy-efficiency standards now must be met. Rebates for non-residential systems are no longer available, but the utility anticipates establishing a performance-based incentive program for non-residential customers in January 2010 (see DSIRE record).

(10)  TEXAS – Grants for Local Renewables Demo Projects Available
The Texas Department of Rural Affairs offers grants for renewable energy projects to non-entitlement local governments under the federal Community Development Block Grant Program. A total of $500,000 is available for competitive grants under the current solicitation. Grant applications must be received by January 29, 2010 (see DSIRE record).

(11)  TEXAS – Grants Available for Wind-Powered Desalination Projects
The Texas Department of Rural Affairs is offering grants of up to $1.5 million to local governments that undertake groundwater desalination projects powered by wind energy. To be eligible, cities must have a population of less than 50,000 residents, and counties must have a population of less than 200,000 residents. A total of $1.5 million is available for grants during FY 2010, with an application deadline of January 29, 2010. Further funding is scheduled to be available during FY 2011 (see DSIRE record).

(12)  VERMONT – Overwhelming Response to State Feed-In Tariff
Applications for Vermont’s “Standard Offer for SPEED Qualified Resources”– better known as Vermont’s feed-in tariff for renewables – were accepted on October 19, 2009. Due to the massive response for the solar proposals (and a strong response for biomass proposals), a lottery was implemented to select the projects that will be granted a standard offer contract. The 12.5 MW of solar projects chosen will be awarded a 25-year contract with a payment of $0.30/kWh for electricity generated (see DSIRE record).

Solar America Cities/Minneapolis Saint Paul: Solar is alive and well in Minnesota

photo credit - (c)Bruce Schnack Photography
photo credit - (c)Bruce Schnack Photography

When the U.S. Department of Energy issued its solicitation in 2008 for the second round of funding for Solar America Cities, the Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul decided to join forces and go in together, and won.   It’s challenging enough for one city to reach consensus among its decision makers or to navigate the maze of city infrastructure policies and regulations, but with two cities’ sets of policies and practices?  MORE

IREC Annual Meeting Wrap-Up:  Innovation Awardees, Presentations, Video interview with Jane Weissman, and more…

If you weren’t able to attend IREC’s Annual Meeting on October 26th in Anaheim, don’t worry.  We’ve got you covered with presentations, video interviews, and reports–almost as good as being there.  MORE Extra Extra!  IREC November 12, 2009 Webinar: Expedited Permit Process for Small PV Systems

The Solar America Board for Codes and Standards has just released a recommended permit process, Expedited Permit Process for PV Systems – A Standardized Process for the Review of Small-Scale PV Systems. Bill Brooks is the author of the report and he will present this seminar on Thursday, November 12, from 2:00-3:15 EST (1pm CST, noon MST, 11am PST, 10am Alaska, 9am Hawaii).   MORE


(13) IREC thanks its 2009 Annual Meeting Sponsors
IREC thanks these organizations for their very generous support of our 2009 Annual Meeting scheduled for Monday, October 26 in Anaheim:

  • We Energies
  • Orlando Utilities Commission
  • Spire Solar
  • Tioga Energy
  • Deloitte.

(14)  Texas Renewables 09 Celebrates its 25th
This year’s annual conference, November 8-10, in Austin, will address policy developments in business activity in renewable energy. It’s a who’s who of Texas renewable energy veterans, including Austin Energy’s Roger Duncan, Leslie Libby, Karl Rabago and Michael Osborne, Meridian Solar’s Andrew McCalla, and Texas State Technical College’s Emerging Technology Coordinator, Sidney Bolfing.  Governor Rick Perry is the luncheon speaker.

(15)  November 9th deadline for papers and abstracts for ASES 2010
If you’re interested in speaking at the American Solar Energy Society’s SOLAR 2010 conference in Phoenix, May 17-22, the deadine to submit abstracts and proposals is November 9th.

(16) SolarTech releases industry standardized PPA contract template
The effort, funded in part by a grant from the California Energy Commission, is to develop and promote best practices for commercial and residential solar markets.  Utilizing the SolarTech standard PPA templates can substantially reduce legal review time, minimizing associated legal costs and shortening the negotiation timeline.  SolarTech, an initiative of Silicon Valley Leadership Group, is a collaborative organization formed to create a Solar Center of Excellence in Silicon Valley. The purpose is to identify, prioritize, and resolve technical and market barriers to solar technology by addressing issues of performance, processes, standards, and workforce readiness. The PPA and Site Lease agreement contract templates can be downloaded.

(17)  2nd Annual National Summit on RPS Programs
The 2nd National Summit on RPS, designed as a working session where state officials, federal government representatives and national organizations can share information and discuss how state RPS programs are working, will be in Chicago on November 18-19, immediately following the conclusion of the NARUC national convention at noon on November 18th.  For further information about registration or hotel information, contact Meghan LeBourveau at 802-223-2554). This Summit is sponsored with the generous support of the U.S. Department of Energy and the Energy Foundation.

EVENTS Calendar

For a more complete listing of events, click the calendar icon on the IREC home page.

About this Newsletter/How to Subscribe

The State & Stakeholder Newsletter is published electronically on a semi-monthly basis by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc..  To subscribe to this newsletter, click here and follow the instructions. There is no fee for subscriptions.  If you have comments or news items, please send them to Jane Pulaski.

Disclaimer: The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) does not assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product or process that is referred to or linked to in this newsletter. Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply IREC’s endorsement or recommendation.

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