Solar Incentive Roundup: CA, FL, HI, MT, VA

Virginia:

The State Corporation Commission (SCC) has approved Dominion Virginia Power’s Solar Partnership Program, a demonstration project that will allow Dominion to generate electricity by placing solar panels on commercial, industrial and public government locations in Richmond. Dominion will be leasing these rooftop spaces of 75,000 square feet or larger and the capacity of each installation will range from 500kW to 2MW. The Solar Partnership Program will expire in 2025. Dominion will own and directly finance these installations and the total program capacity is 30MW.

Virginia has a voluntary RPS program with a modest goal of 15% by 2025. This is the first distributed solar generation facility allowed by the SCC in Virginia and is an exciting  step towards increasing solar capacity within the state.

Montana:

On December 4, NorthWestern Energy identified the first round of respondents to its Montana Community Renewable Energy Project (CREP) RFP for an additional review and denied the rest of the respondents. This proposal request was issued on August 2, 2012 and the proposals were due on September 28, 2012.

NorthWestern Energy is looking to add up to 45MW of qualified CREPs to its Montana energy resource portfolio. They are willing to accept different contract structures and do not have a preference between PPAs and Build-Transfer Agreements. However, they do expect that Build-Transfer Agreements will take longer to approve. NorthWestern Energy has stated that they will neither submit proposals nor build in competition with these projects. The final list of developers will be determined by January 31, 2013.

NorthWestern Energy’s decision to augment its energy resource portfolio should prove successful in increasing the future capacity of locally owned renewable energy projects in Montana.

Hawaii:

On November 9th, the State Department of Taxation issued rules that clarify the definition of a PV system for the purposes of the Renewable Energy Technologies Income Tax Credit, a 35% income tax credit the state provides to solar PV projects and other renewable technologies. These rules will take effect on January 2013.

Under the new rules, PV systems of any size are still eligible for the tax credit; however, the credit cap will now be based on the system capacity instead of the number of systems installed. Homeowners will now earn one credit for every 5 kW PV installed instead of receiving one credit for every system installed. Therefore, the $5000 residential credit cap will now only apply to a 5 kW system and not to a system of any size. These new rules will prevent homeowners from dividing their systems into smaller increments in order to monetize on the credit cap.

The new rules also set capacity thresholds for multi-family homes that now earn one credit per 0.36kW. Each commercial system must have an output capacity of 1,000 kW (1 MW) per credit earned; the credit cap for commercial systems is $500,000. Before the new rules were instated, residential systems had a $5000 credit cap and commercial systems had a $500,000 credit cap per system without any clear system capacity requirements.

Florida:

The Gainesville City Commission recently announced that the 2013 round of Gainesville Solar Feed-in Tariff will include any program allotments that were approved but not built in 2012. This change is expected to add between 1.83MW and 2.53MW to Gainesville’s 2013 feed in tariff capacity. The city’s annual target feed in tariff cap is 4MW and the 2012 rates were between $0.19/kWh and $0.24/kWh depending on system size.

California:

On December 17, the Palo Alto City Council will consider amending the Palo Alto CLEAN (feed in tariff) based on a proposal submitted by the City of Palo Alto Utilities. This proposal includes increasing the amount paid to generators to $0.165/kWh for 20 year contracts and eliminating the 100kW minimum system size. The Palo Alto City Council will review the program once it reaches 2MW and will not purchase any additional capacity until the review. If the proposal passes a final vote on December 17th, the program will open on January 2nd, 2013 on a first-come, first-serve basis.

About Sol Systems

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Sol Systems’ financing programs catalyze investments for a broad set of solar projects by simplifying their origination, diligence, and financing processes. Developers seeking financing for solar projects can access over $2.5 billion in capital through the Sol Systems investor network.

In addition to providing financing, Sol Systems also offers project due diligence, deal structuring, and asset management services – all designed to reduce overhead and transaction costs and quicken project development timelines.

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