Tuesday, February 24, 2009

DC Launches Solar Incentive Program

The District Department of the Environment today launched the first phase of the new Renewable Energy Incentive Program that was created under the Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008 – right now focused on photovoltaic technologies and wind power.

The full host of incentives for geothermal, solar thermal air and water heating, biomass and methane-capture will be launched over the coming weeks.

District residents, businesses, nonprofits and private schools may now apply for up to $33,000 in assistance to install renewable energy systems on their buildings. The Green Energy DC Renewable Energy Incentive Program is the first of a series of upcoming initiatives to support clean energy technology. Up to $2 million for each of the next four years will be available, beginning immediately with solar photovoltaic and wind turbine systems.

“The District’s rooftops are an amazing, untapped resource for clean, renewable energy,” said George S. Hawkins, director of the District Department of the Environment (DDOE). “It’s exciting to be able to offer more incentives than we ever have before.”

DC has never been known to be a hotbed for wind energy or methane capture and some of the other technologies listed above, but the latter inclusion of geothermal and solar thermal technologies is definitely going to spur on even greater opportunities for homeowners and businesses down the road.

This all comes out amidst coming increases in incentives from the Federal government on the heels of passing the Stimulus Bill last week. So the combination of these two should produce some favorable business growth for installers in the region. I have heard from a number of solar installers that they were advising some homeowners to wait on their decision to see the full breadth of the DC program.

At present, the District is accepting applications for funding for potential recipients to be placed in the reservation queue, which presumably will fill up quick knowing how swiftly the funding from the last program was allocated. The 2009 DC Renewable Energy Incentive Program (REIP) intends to build upon the immense success of the Renewable Energy Demonstration Project (REDP) that was implemented last year.

The funding for this program comes from a ‘public benefits charge’ supported by ratepayers of Pepco and Washington Gas – and the program has allocations of $2 million per year secured through 2012. This funding is collected to help support an increase in the adoption of renewable energy, which is deemed a collective benefit to the region.

Under the REIP, photovoltaic incentives are based on the combined system rating in kilowatts (DC) output:

  • $3 for each of the first 3,000 installed watts of capacity;
  • $2 for each of the next 7,000 installed watts of capacity;
  • $1 for each of the next 10,000 installed watts of capacity

So under current incentives available to a homeowner in the District, a 4kw photovoltaic system would be eligible for $11,000 in system rebates from the REIP and 30% off of any remaining balance from the federal government from the Investment Tax Credit – meaning that a new system installed could be up to 60% off the average price.

So if you have been considering a system in the District, now is a good time to revisit the idea and contact your preferred installer, as these grants will definitely make the purchase an even more affordable solution.

If you are indeed interested in technologies other than solar, due note that the District is setting aside funding to be distributed for those technologies as well.

See the original article here

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