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"Energy Trust of OR implementing changes to residential/commercial solar electric incentive programs"

Energy Trust is implementing changes to the residential and commercial solar electric incentive programs, including immediate changes to trade ally active project limits and upcoming changes to incentive levels. Effective immediately, active project limits will be increased in Portland General Electric territory and decreased in Pacific Power territory.

"Energy Trust of OR implementing changes to residential/commercial solar electric incentive programs"

The solar electric program in Pacific Power territory has become constrained due to high demand and limited new Energy Trust funding in 2012.

Energy Trust is implementing changes to the residential and commercial solar electric incentive programs, including immediate changes to trade ally active project limits and upcoming changes to incentive levels.

Effective immediately, active project limits will be increased in Portland General Electric territory and decreased in Pacific Power territory.

In the near future, solar electric incentive offerings in Pacific Power territory will be reduced to support growth in installations and manage constrained Energy Trust funding. We have allocated $450,000 to support residential and commercial projects at the current incentive rates. After these funds are exhausted, the incentive offering will be reduced, as described below.

Background

The solar electric program in Pacific Power territory has become constrained due to high demand and limited new Energy Trust funding in 2012. Energy Trust has received such a high volume of applications in October and November that the 2011 incentive budget is now fully reserved and we have started committing 2012 dollars. As a result, Energy Trust will be implementing a new budget strategy in Pacific Power territory.

Energy Trust delayed implementation of significant program changes until now to see what changes would be made to the Oregon Residential Energy Tax Credit. The proposed 2012 Residential Energy Tax Credit rules maintain the tax credit at $2.10 per watt. Stable Residential Energy Tax Credit funding combined with Energy Trust budget constraints and significant reductions in system costs have led to these program changes. System costs have fallen by more than $1.00 per watt since the last Energy Trust incentive change. We do not anticipate a severe impact to the market as a result of these changes.

Step funding for Pacific Power projects

The solar electric budget for Pacific Power projects will be managed in steps with decreasing incentive levels to help ensure continuous funding remains available. Step 1 is currently available at the existing incentive levels with $450,000 of total funding. That is the same amount that we committed to a record number of residential projects during October. Upon commitment of Step 1 funds, Step 2 will be made available. Step 2 will contain $1 million in funding and provide residential incentives of $1.25 per watt, up to $5,000, and commercial incentives of $1.00 per watt, up to $30,000.

It is our intent that incentive dollars remain available on a continuous first come, first served basis throughout 2012 an 2013. Updates regarding the remaining funding available in a block will be made public on the Energy Trust website on at least a weekly basis at:

http://energytrust.org/trade-ally/programs/solar/

It is worth noting that a $0.25 per watt reduction in the Energy Trust incentive will only impact the net project cost by $0.175 because the federal tax credit will be increased by $0.075 per watt. Incentives for solar water heating systems will not be affected by these program changes and will remain at their current levels.

Active PGE and Pacific Power project limits

Effective immediately, December 1, 2011, the active project limit will be changed to raise the limit in PGE and lower the limit in Pacific Power territory, as shown below. Active project limits will be managed as four separate limits with a total limit of 95 projects for a single trade ally company.

Additional changes in PGE territory

The incentive budget in PGE territory does not have the same constraints that exist in Pacific Power territory. Incentives will remain unchanged through the end of 2011. Effective January 1, 2012, residential incentive caps will be reduced from $20,000 per project to $10,000 per project. Incentive levels in PGE territory will be re-evaluated during the first quarter of 2012 and are subject to change.

 
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