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Solar Industry News and Updates
REC Solar is constantly monitoring the industry and will share news and updates from around the solar industry below. Because some of these programs are time sensitive, interested parties should contact us today via the Get Started button at right for a risk-free consultation.
New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities has approved — after months of consideration — new Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) programs to finance residential and commercial solar for PSE&G customers and facilitate construction of large-scale utility-owned solar.
Under the Solar Loan III program, PSE&G will provide up to $193 million in loans to customers for residential, commercial, and large-scale solar projects. Loans may be repaid over 10 years with SREC revenues or via standard means. PSE&G plans to offer 9.75MW of residential capacity, 82.75MW of commercial capacity, and 5MW of capacity for grid supply projects on landfills and brownfields. The first solicitation is expected in September 2013, and this may be an attractive opportunity for commercial property owners in PSE&G territory. In a solar market dominated by spot transactions and short-term contracts, the long-term price certainty provided by this new program will likely assist in making many more solar projects economically attractive. For details or more information, please contact REC Solar today.Read More
Governor Kitzhaber has signed legislation – known as HB2983A – which extends Oregon’s feed-in-tariff program (AKA the "volumetric incentive rate"), for commercial solar electric systems for one year, adding additional program capacity. Enactment of this legislation ensures this program – which takes project applications twice annually – will remain available into 2014.
This feed-in-tariff program has proven an attractive opportunity for many small- and medium-sized businesses in Oregon, and very heavy demand is expected for this April 1st capacity release. Prior rounds have been fully subscribed within minutes of opening. REC Solar’s Oregon team can help your business prepare and submit an application for this or other programs which can significantly reduce your electricity costs. If interested, please contact us via the Get Started button at right.Read More
Southern California Edison Readies 2013 Solar Photovoltaic Program Solicitation; Solar-Ready Rooftops Sought
Southern California Edison (SCE) is preparing to issue the utility’s third solicitation under the "Solar Photovoltaic Program" (SPVP) for large rooftop and carport systems. The utility will open the program to applications in September 2013, with all potential participants to bid a price per unit of delivered electricity, with projects then to be constructed within 18 months of contract approval. This program has significant capacity in this solicitation round and future planned rounds.
This is a significant opportunity for large commercial property owners in Southern California. REC Solar and our partners can assist with all phases of qualifying, planning and project development. Those in SCE territory interested in using commercial rooftop or parking lot space to generate revenue with solar should contact REC Solar today.Read More
In the final days of the legislative session, Minnesota lawmakers endorsed legislation — subsequently signed into law by Governor Dayton — making sweeping changes to the state’s solar policies, and expected to result in the deployment of up to 450 megawatts of solar by 2020. In addition to creating a new "1.5% x 2020" solar target for investor-owned utilities, the new law also funds new small-scale solar incentives, increases net metering eligibility, and requires the development of a new community solar program seemingly similar to Colorado’s Solar*Rewards Community.
Xcel Energy is required to file a community solar plan by September 30, 2013, with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Other utilities may do so voluntarily. While perhaps too soon to tell, this community solar program may be a primary means of encouraging commercial solar and play a significant role in the utility meeting its new solar targets.Read More
The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) launched an ambitious new 100 megawatt feed-in-tariff program for commercial solar projects earlier this year. As expected, demand for this program in the initial application period was extremely high.
LADWP plans to offer a total of five 20 megawatt allocations – one every six months – on a first-come, first-serve basis for systems sized 30 kilowatts to 3 megawatts. The program will reopen for new applications on July 1, 2013, for a fixed price of $0.16 per kilowatt-hour ($0.13 per kWh for projects in the Owens Valley) for all electricity produced by the solar system, plus a time-of-day multiplier. This is a potentially lucrative opportunity for commercial property owners in the region. For more information, please contact REC Solar.
Additionally, LADWP plans to reopen the commercial Solar Incentive Program (SIP), which provides an upfront incentive for businesses that install solar to offset their facility’s energy use on July 1. Demand also tends to be high for this particular program. When it was last made available in mid-2012, capacity was consumed in just 18 minutes. This is the last year of this particular program as it will not be offered again in 2014.Read More
In response to ongoing debate regarding the future of the state’s renewable energy tax credit, early this year Senator Mike Gabbard and Representative Chris Lee spearheaded an effort – with broad support from the solar industry – to comprehensively overhaul the current tax credit structure and give it long-term stability.
After months of consideration, Hawaii’s House and Senate passed legislation which reduced the current 35% renewable energy tax credit in a transparent, predictable manner over time, and created a new production tax credit for utility-scale solar. However, this legislation failed to be voted out of a legislative conference committee in late April, due to heated debate regarding the true cost of the bill vis-à-vis the current tax credit.
Thus, the status quo will remain in effect in Hawaii through 2013, at least. Commercial solar systems remain eligible for a 35% tax credit (or a 24.5% refundable tax credit) capped at $500,000 per megawatt installed. The legislature will likely again consider changes to Hawaii’s renewable tax credit next year.Read More
Momentum is building behind multiple parallel efforts at the legislature and the California Public Utilities Commission to establish one or more ‘shared renewable’ programs. Under these proposed programs, utility customers could opt to purchase subscriptions in offsite renewable energy systems, and then receive bill credits for electricity produced. Such programs would expand California’s solar market to renters and others who cannot utilize traditional customer-sited solar.
There are now two industry-supported bills (Senate Bill 43 and Assembly Bill 1014) which would create a comprehensive shared renewables program for investor-owned utility customers, a separate SCE-sponsored proposal (Assembly Bill 1295) and two separate proposals at the Commission – one submitted by SDG&E and the other by PG&E, the Sierra Club, and ratepayer advocates – to create utility-specific programs.
Each of these proposals differs in certain ways, but all seek to expand access to renewable energy. Indeed, with California’s investor-owned utilities all supporting some form of community solar, in one fashion or another (or perhaps several) shared renewables are likely coming to the Golden State. The legislative proposals are presently working their way through initial policy committee hearings, and may be considered up until the final days of California’s legislative session in September.Read More
In late April the New York Senate unanimously passed legislation to extend Governor Cuomo’s ‘NY-Sun’ initiative through 2023 and solidify the state’s long-term commitment to solar energy. The bill is now being considered in the Assembly.
The NY-Sun initiative, launched by Cuomo last year, was already a robust effort to make New York one of the top states for residential, commercial, and utility-scale solar. The initiative significantly expanded 2012-2015 funding for commercial solar programs offered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), and sought to double in 2012 the customer-sited solar capacity added in 2011, and to quadruple that amount in 2013.
Additionally, NYSERDA recently submitted an application to the New York Public Service Commission seeking important changes to current standard-offer incentive programs for residential and small commercial systems. NYSERDA is seeking the following:
• To raise the residential system maximum size cap from the current 7kW to 25kW.
• To create a new standard-offer incentive for commercial solar systems sized between the current maximum of 50kW up to a new maximum system size of 200kW.
• To create a new short-term incentive opportunity for capacity additions for previously-completed small commercial solar systems.
These proposals will expand opportunity for residential and small commercial solar in New York. The Commission will likely consider in coming weeks.Read More
The Salt River Project, which serves much of the greater Phoenix area and central Arizona, has opened commercial and residential solar programs for Fiscal Year 2014, which begins May 1, 2013.
Key points include:
• Residential solar incentives of $.10 per watt, with a maximum incentive per system of $500.00 (5 kilowatt system); 12.9 megawatts of program capacity.
• Commercial solar incentives of $.10 per watt with a new maximum system size of 300 kilowatts (increased from 100 kilowatts); 4 megawatts of program capacity. No incentive for larger commercial systems.
• New schools, government, and non-profit solar program with a performance-based incentive of $0.04 per kilowatt-hour produced and a maximum system size of one megawatt; 5 megawatts of program capacity.Read More
Colorado’s General Assembly has now passed a measure — likely to become law — which will accelerate deployment of solar and other renewables in areas of the state serviced by electrical cooperatives.
This legislation — Senate Bill 13-252 — increases the Renewable Energy Standard to 20% (up from 10%) by 2020 for large electrical cooperative,s and includes a specific carve-out for small-scale renewable generation. Colorado’s largest utility, Xcel Energy, is today required to meet a 30% renewable target by 2020.
This bill will open new portions of the state to solar deployment, and will likely be enacted into law soon.Read More