For those of you who want to help increase clean renewable energy in our state, please read this.
As a town energy coordinator I understand the challenges that schools and municipalities face in order to undertake a solar electric or solar hot water project. Schools and municipalities are not taxable entities, they cannot take advantage of the federal tax incentives and so rely on town or bond funding for projects and improvements.
As you may know, the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the investment tax credits will be extended through the end of the year under the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which was passed by Congress on January 1, 2013, and signed into law on January 2 by President Obama.
But this does not help the schools or municipalities (special customers) without some kind of third party investment scheme.
The Vermont Small Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program is currently closed as funds are no longer available for projects. Hopefully the program will re-open in mid-February.
Due to the increased demand for PV (solar electric) and the lack of funds, the DPS and the Clean Energy Development Fund are recommending changes to the program that would sharply decrease the incentive amounts available for “special customer” and commercial projects.
Here is a link to the proposed changes that are now out for public comment:
Some of the critical proposed changes for Special Customers (schools, towns, and low-income housing) and commercial customers are as follows:
- Change the incentive for Special Customers from the current $2.10/W for systems <10kW; and $1.40/W for each additional watt up to a 50kW max to a flat $0.50/W to a max of 10kW.
- Lower the kilowatt incentive cap for PV for commercial incentives from 25kW to 10kW
Lower the system size cap for commercial PV incentives from 150kW to 25kW; systems 25kW and larger would thus not be eligible for any incentives under this program
Change the incentive cap from 50% of the total installed costs for Special Customers to 20% for all incentives for all customers
The CEDF Board will vote on the proposed changes at their meeting on Jan. 24th 2013.
Please send in your comments before Jan 18th 2013.
It is vitally important to the solar industry in Vermont that these incentives remain in effect, and are not diminished or curtailed. It is equally important to come up with long term funding source (Not Vermont Yankee) and a consistent long term incentive structure that can help stabilize the ups and downs in demand for solar projects, in order to help our solar installers grow and succeed. If the goal is more solar then removing incentives has the opposite effect. The special customers are the ones most in need of financial help on projects.
In spite of many public meetings by the DPS, where town after town voted for clean energy over non renewable or nuclear energy, the DPS appears to be curtailing support for Solar Electric projects for commercial and special clients.
Please send a message that you want to see continued incentive support and no reductions in special customer incentives.
Please send in comments to: Andrew.firstname.lastname@example.org
or to the Clean Energy Development Fund at 112 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05620
Town of Putney Energy Coordinator