How long does it take for a thriving solar industry to find uses for $4 million? About three hours, it turns out. On Friday, one of two solar rebate programs in Massachusetts opened to applications at 9:00am and closed before noon, all of its quarterly-allocated funds having been spoken for. The Commonwealth Solar Stimulus Program funds solar installations for commercial projects 10-200 kW in size.
This morning at 9:00 a.m., Block 2 of the Commonwealth Solar Stimulus Rebate Program opened to applications for $4 million in funding for commercial solar installations. At just before noon, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center sent around a nice email letting everyone know that all funds have been spoken for and the program is now closed. Executive Director Patrick Cloney wrote to express his "heartfelt appreciation to everyone involved in the solar industry in Massachusetts for his or her continued hard work in expanding solar renewable energy generation within the Commonwealth."
The California Solar Initiative manages solar incentives for the state's three investor-owned utilities: Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E). PG&E and SDG&E just met their last CSI goals for residential solar capacity and have scaled their rebates back accordingly, from the previous $1.10/w to the current $0.65/w.
Once again, New Jersey's solar boat has been rocked: due to revisions to a previously approved budget, the state's Clean Energy Rebate will not accept new applications for the month of April, and all applications currently in queue will be frozen until the program reopens in May. If the solar rebate is reduced from current levels--all too likely--then projects in queue will be approved at the revised (lower) rate.
Everyone knows the saying, "If you build it, they will come." Well, when it comes to solar PV installations, the relevant phrase is, "If you subsidize it, they will build it." Just look to the case of Pennsylvania.
Good news from the Lone Star State. Oncor Electric Delivery Company has announced plans to provide cash rebates for Texas residents and businesses who install solar PV systems. Dubbed the “Take a Load Off, TexasSM Solar Photovoltaic Incentive Program,” the initiative will disperse $16 million over four years. As reported by the Dallas Business Journal, Oncor aims to provide
In recent weeks, a number of state governments have announced plans to cut back the per-watt rebate offered to residents who purchase a solar energy system. In October, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) announced a downward revision ranging between $1.00 and $1.80 per watt, depending on system size. Xcel Energy, Colorado's largest investor-owned utility and biggest provider of solar energy rebates, recently reduced the amount paid to solar owners in exchange for solar on-site renewable energy credits (SO-RECs). The level was cut by a dollar, from $2.50 to $1.50 per watt. The rebate, which stands apart from the SO-REC payment, will remain at $2.00 per watt, meaning that Colorado homeowners can expect to receive about $3.50 per watt of installed DC solar power. Not bad at all, but a far cry from the $4.50 ($2.00/watt rebate + $2.50/watt SO-REC payment) that was available up 'til now. (Details are outlined in a recent letter (PDF) from Robin Kittel, Director of Regulatory Administration at Xcel.)