solar array Tops landmark Pittsburgh Tower
its are used, but 60 cents if no tax credits apply. This may
prove advantageous to nonprofits (schools and hospitals,
for instance) that don’t pay income tax or those who don’t
have sufficient tax liability to use all the credits.
Maine: LD 1078, implemented last June, requires
investor-owned utilities to sign power purchase agreements with community-owned renewable energy projects.
Because they’re nonprofits, community projects often can’t
take advantage of federal tax credits. Partly to compensate
for that, projects are to receive 150 percent of the value of
their renewable energy credits. The program’s cap is 50
MW, with a 10-MW limit on individual projects.
Michigan: In 2009, the utility company Consumers
Energy ( consumersenergy.com) launched a pilot project,
capped at 2,000 k W, of which 500 k W is reserved for residential installations. The FIT offers 65 cents per kilowatt-hour for the first few months, dropping to about 53 cents
in 2010, for a 12-year contract.
Oregon: House Bill 3039 became law in July. It’s a pilot
program, capped at 25 M W for small installations, and rates
are set not by cost of production, but by the utility’s “
avoided cost” — what it would have cost to build and operate a
conventional power plant.
Vermont: Last May, Vermont implemented a statewide
FIT covering all renewable energy sources. The FIT is based
on cost plus a reasonable profit, with frequent reviews to
revise rates. Solar power now earns 30 cents per kilowatt-hour, small wind (under 15 k W) earns 20 cents and biogas
earns 12 cents.
Washington: Back in 2005, the state passed a net-metering law offering a production incentive of 30 cents
per kilowatt-hour for solar systems up to 25-k W capacity. A
revised policy in 2009 offered up to $1.30 per kilowatt-hour
if all components were manufactured in Washington. Now
the legislature is considering a true FIT based on avoided
cost plus “value.” To guarantee that small systems will begin
to pay back installation costs quickly, arrays under 10 k W
are promised grid integration within 60 days.
Wisconsin: Assembly Bill 649 requires the Public
Service Commission to set up rules under which larger
utility companies will pay FITs for a variety of renewable
energy sources. The tariff is supposed to reimburse the system owner for the cost of generating power, plus a reasonable profit. This means the FIT will be different for wind,
biogas and solar. A provision is to be made to accommodate
small systems. — Seth MaSIa
in november, workers for Vox Energy solutions ( voxenergysolutions.com) com- pleted the installation of a 10.5-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system, 410 feet above Pittsburgh on top of the 31-story regional Enterprise Tower. Built in 1953 as headquarters for alcoa aluminum, the building was the first in the world with a weight-saving aluminum structure and exterior clad- ding. over the past year, the tower received a complete nergy makeover, which should save $5 million over 15 years. The PV array should offset about 10 percent of the building’s electrical load.
vox eneRgy so Lutions
By January, 29 states had renew- able electricity portfolio standards
(RPS or RES) in place, and another six
had voluntary goals. In February, as we
went to press with this issue, five states
across the country were busy upgrading
California: The state’s new goal is
for 33 percent of electricity to come
from renewable sources by 2020, and
a new statewide Green Building Code
aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3 million metric tons by 2020.
Individual cities and counties have
tighter building standards.
Colorado: The state is on target
to meet its current goal of 20 percent
renewable sources by 2020, so House
Bill 1001 ups the ante. The new goal will
be 30 percent by 2020.
Ne w Jersey: The state’s original 2006
RPS called for 22. 5 percent of retail
power sold to come from renewable
sources, most of it imported from out of
state. The new Solar Energy Advance-
ment and Fair Competition Act has
a solar carve-out, requiring utilities
to find 300 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of
solar power generation this year, ris-
ing annually until 2026, when the act
appears to require roughly 5,500 GWh
of solar generation.
Pennsylvania: The 2004 standard
called for 8 percent renewable generation by 2021. House Bill 80 calls for 15
percent by 2026. A recent study by the
engineering firm Black & Veatch concluded that this would boost the state’s
economy by $26 billion.
Wisconsin: The existing RPS targets
10 percent renewable power by 2015. SB
450/AB 649 brings the target date in to
2013 and ramps up to 20 percent in 2020
and 25 in 2025. Only 10 percent of that
requirement must be generated in-state,
however. — Seth MaSIa
states Ramp up Renewable Standards