Solar Energy News for Tuesday, April 6

Posted by Daniel Kulpinski

Apr 6, 2010 3:57:00 AM

Arizona Cuts Solar Incentive Amount Because Program Is So Popular

Despite the down economy, demand for solar-power installations has been so large it threatened to drain Arizona’s solar rebate fund by June. So the Arizona Public Service Co. (APS) moved to reduce the amount of each rebate, in order to make the fund last longer and to provide solar incentives to more people. More APS home and business customers put solar panels on their roofs last year than in the previous eight years combined, and about 113 residential customers a week have applied for solar rebates from the utility this year, according to the Arizona Republic. The APS has proposed cutting its solar rebate from $3,000 per kilowatt to $2,150 a kilowatt.

Some Say PG&E’s Proposed Rate Change Will Hurt California Solar Industry

Power company PG&E has proposed a new rate plan that many fear could both discourage energy conservation and stall California's solar market, according to the San Jose Mercury News. The proposed rate structure would raise electric bills for most customers, but lower them for those who use the most electricity. In effect, this reduces the savings large electricity users receive from installing solar panels. Opponents of the new rate structure say this will hurt the solar industry and the state’s solar incentives program; others say the new rates could put more customers into the “solar sweet spot.”

Long-Term Solar Savings a Bright Spot in L.A. Electricity Rate Dispute

In Los Angeles, the idea of enacting a feed-in tariff to help stimulate the adoption of solar electricity has become ensnared in a political debate over electricity rate increases, reports Currently, those who explore solar installations in the city face “a labyrinthine process that can be time-consuming and confusing, and is likely to discourage many.” If they get through the red tape and can decipher the regulations, the intrepid person could find a solar electric installation “could yield a long-term electricity cost under 10 cents per kilowatt-hour.”

Maryland Utilities Might Have to Speed Up Adoption of Solar

A plan working its way through the state legislature would require utility companies in Maryland to accelerate their use of solar power. The Baltimore Sun reports that the plan would make utilities rely on a higher percentage of solar power in the next few years than mandated by current law, which calls for companies to obtain 2 percent of their power from solar sources by 2022. The latest plan doesn't change that goal but requires utility companies to ramp up more quickly, doubling the early-year requirements and increasing penalties for noncompliance. Opponents say it amounts to an energy tax; one analysis of the plan shows that during the next 15 years, consumers could pay as much as $2 more per month, on top of an average monthly bill of $150.

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