During the last months, the states in the Northwest of the US have enjoyed one incentive programme after another. Since October 2010, there has been a new or improved incentive programme announced each month, beginning with Connecticut last October. New Hampshire followed in November, New York State in December and Massachusetts in January.
Figure: Christine Griebel & Nancy Chaplin
Connecticut kick-started the series of programmes in October. The Connecticut Solar Thermal Incentive Program is going to last approximately 32 months, until March 2012. It offers a performance-based incentive. To encourage installations which maximise system output in the winter months, the incentive is based on predicted yield in millions of Btus for the time period between October and March. The size of the residential incentive also depends on the number of persons or bedrooms in a household. The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) has estimated the average incentive for residential installations to be 275 USD/MMBtu. Commercial installations are subsidised with 450 USD/MMBtu, and government and non-profit installations receive 550 USD/MMBtu. The budget of USD 4 million comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The state's government hopes that the incentive will help with the installation of about 550 residential solar installations and 50 commercial solar installations.
Infos on www.dsireusa.org/Connecticut
The next milestone was set by the state of New Hampshire in November. Since the first of November, commercial and industrial clients in this state profit from a performance-based incentive. Its maximum amount was set to 0.07 USD per modelled kBtu and year for a new solar water heater system and 0.04 USD per modelled kBtu and year for additions to existing systems. The amount of incentive should not exceed 25 % of the total investment costs or USD 50,000. Industry, non-profit organisations, schools, local governments or multi-family house owners can still apply for the subsidy until 30 June 2011. The budget is financed by the state-wide Alternative Compliance Payment. That means that the electricity providers must pay a certain fee per MWh of renewable electricity that they are unable to generate themselves, or buy the emission rights in order to meet the state Renewable Portfolio Standard.
Infos on www.dsireusa.org/New Hampshire
In December, the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) in the state of New York launched a residential rebate programme. Eligible home owners must have an existing electric hot water heater and take electric service from LIPA. They receive a subsidy amount of 20 USD/kBtu, up to USD 1,500. The programme is supposed to run until the end of 2011, or will stop when the budget of around USD 900,000 is exhausted.
Infos on www.dsireusa.org/New York
According to an announcement of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) in January, applications for the new residential Commonwealth Solar Rebate Program will be accepted in early February. The solar water heater rebate follows a successful photovoltaic rebate programme that had already been started in 2007 and resulted in 34 MW of newly installed photovoltaic capacity across the state. According to MassCEC, eligible applicants must be electric customers of NSTAR, National Grid, Unitil or Western Massachusetts Electric Co., or of a municipal power company that participates in MassCEC's Renewable Energy Trust Fund. Rebates will be based on project size and are expected to amount to approximately USD 1,000 per system for a typical residential solar hot water system for a four- to five-person household, with additional rebates available for system components manufactured in Massachusetts.
Infos on www.dsireusa.org/Massachusetts
More information on all incentive programmes in the US are available in the database: http://www.dsireusa.org/