A New Minnesota Law is Set to Aggressively Propel Solar Growth

Minnesota Solar BillA game-changing new energy bill which was signed into law by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton in May of this year has gained a great deal of attention. If requirements outlined in the bill are met, solar generation in the state will increase more than thirty-fold by 2020. The new solar electricity standard for large utilities in Minnesota is the news creating the biggest stir; the requirement will be 1.5% of energy production by 2020, which is on top of the 25% renewables by 2025 mandate for large utility companies.

Other parts of the new law arguably carry as much impact as the new solar requirements, such as net-metering reforms, expanded incentives, and the creation of shared community solar gardens.

Minnesota’s utilities currently generate about 13 megawatts of solar power. For the new solar requirement to be met, an estimated 450 megawatts of solar power must be added to investor-owned utility systems. This endeavor seems staggering in scope. Fortunately, the bill also provides direction for how to achieve these lofty goals.

Extension of Solar Rebates

Part of the law mandates that at least one-tenth of new solar generation must come from small solar systems which produce up to 20 kilowatts. To ensure financing of these needed installations, the law extended a rebate program which Xcel Energy was phasing out by the end of this year. The utility company, however, has been ordered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce to continue the rebate program through 2015. It’s also mandated that a similar incentive will remain in place until 2018.

Reward-based Solar Incentives

There is a change regarding rebates, and it’s designed to ensure that solar systems are as productive as possible. Rather than receiving rebates upfront, rebate amounts will be based on the amount of solar electricity produced.

Community Solar Gardens

Experts have estimated that only about one-third of the homeowners in Solar GardenMinnesota have rooftops suitable for installing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Some of the issues which create the problems include rooftops that aren’t strong enough or sunny enough or don’t have the right kind of angle. An exciting new program requires utility companies to create community solar gardens. Customers will be able to buy individual solar panels which are set up as part of community solar installations. The electricity generated by each solar panel is credited to the owner, as though it were on their own rooftops.

Community solar programs aren’t a new idea; New Mexico and Colorado have already been utilizing solar gardens.

Increased Net Metering Cap

The net metering cap in Minnesota was lifted in the new law, which makes it easier for customers of investor-owned utilities to connect larger solar installations to the grid. The previous 40-kilowatt capacity has been increased to 1,000 kilowatts. Net metering is basically a policy which standardizes utility hook-ups and payments for all customer-owned generation which fits the criteria. Companies have been deterred from building larger solar systems because of the artificial cap on commercial development of solar, but the new law is expected to change that.

Not everyone is a fan of the new legislation. For instance, utility companies have expressed concern that these new mandates demand too much too quickly. Others are looking forward to the positive impact an explosive increase in solar installations can have on the state’s economy.

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New Solar Incentives in CT for Rooftop Systems

Homeowners in Connecticut Have Great New Incentives for Going Solar

CT residents will be going for more rooftop solar installations thanks to new incentives just passed in the state.

Connecticut residents paid the third highest electricity rates in the U.S.A. in 2010, second only to Hawaii and New York. Using solar energy is a way to save on energy costs, even while solar represents a mere fraction of the overall energy supply in the state. With all of the great solar-related subsidies available in Connecticut combined with the current cost of solar panels, it’s possible that the use of clean solar energy will expand significantly. Our CT Solar Store is ready to write estimates for installations to be done this summer.

State and Federal Subsidies
Solar Incentives in CT will fuel stong growth in Solar Installations

A solar power initiative in Connecticut being subsidized by ratepayers has installed rooftop solar panels on 209 homes at a cost of $2.5 million.

On May 18th, 2012, the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority made an announcement regarding plans to spend $10 million for 5.6 megawatts of additional solar panels for homes. According to spokesperson David Goldberg, state subsidies in Connecticut represent approximately a third of the total cost of solar panel installations.

Goldberg said that the 10-year goal is to generate up to 30 megawatts of residential solar power, which represents a potential cost of $90 million. He also says that backers project the goal can be reached sooner than that.

Visit Yankee Doodle Solar Store, a division of Sam Halsey's fireplace and stove store right on Rt. 9 in Wilton, CT. Give him a call soon to get on the Solar Express! 203-544-8111

It costs between $20,000 and $30,000 for the average home to install solar panels on the roof. There’s a state program which provides an average of 1/4th to 1/3rd the cost of these rooftop solar panel installations. When you consider the federal tax credits of an additional 30%, the price tag of residential solar panel installation is cut roughly in half.

Connecticut also offers rebates for solar installations, joined by 12 other states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. For example, in Massachusetts, rebates of up to $4,250 are paid for residential solar use.

The use of solar energy in the U.S. has risen from 0.7% to 2.5% just in the last few years, though it’s still a very small percentage of energy sources overall. Subsidies are greater for switching to solar energy in states like Connecticut where electricity costs are painfully high.

Residential Solar Power Supply

Residential solar panels, on average, supply approximately one-third of the electricity used in the home. The majority of homeowners want to displace all of their use of electricity to solar, but that goal is rarely possible. The amount of roof space required makes it impossible, and shade also affects the amount of solar power generated. That being said, it’s not unreasonable to expect to displace electric bills by as much as 70% in some instances. And experts say that homeowners who invest in solar panels can see a return on the investment within ten years.

The current and projected benefits for homeowners in Connecticut to switch to solar power provide remarkable incentives to tap into clean energy supplied by the sun.

If you want to learn more about how solar electric and solar thermal can help you achieve more energy independence contact Yankee Doodle Solar Store in Wilton. Their North American Solar Store serves all of Fairfield County including Wilton, Westport, Shelton and Monroe.

If you are not sure about what Solar Store to hire, watch our short video about North American Solar Stores and see us in action with 24 Solar Stores you can depend on across the U.S. and Canada. Visit the Main Website to learn more about why NASS is the best choice for Solar PV and Solar Thermal for homeowners and small businesses.

 

Rt. 9, 848 Danbury Rd., Wilton, CT 06897 – yankeesam@me.com – 203-544-8111

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