What do the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot and solar incentives have in common?

By Cynthia Clark, Manager of Utilities & Incentives

Like Bigfoot and Nessie, varied and often-conflicting reports and descriptions abound about solar incentives. They can also be difficult to track — slipping out of your proverbial fingers just when you think you’ve got one pinned down. Some people think these creatures are evil, while others believe them to be extremely beneficial, or at least benign. Whatever your opinion is, I can assure you that solar incentives are not a modern-day myth, hoax, or figment of your imagination. They are very real, and they can make or break the economics of a commercial solar project – if you have a suitable project ready to launch when the incentive “window” is open.

For example, Long Island Power Authority’s upcoming CLEAN program (a feed-in tariff) – with rates as high as $0.22 per kilowatt-hour over a 20-year term – could deliver substantial returns on a commercial solar installation of the right size and scope, within their service area. LIPA expects to begin accepting applications on July 16. See LIPA’s website for more information.

As another example, the re-opening of Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s Solar Incentive Program to non-residential applicants is imminent. For this round of applications, which is expected to be the last for commercial projects, rebates will be offered at $1.50 per watt until the available capacity of 24.55 MW or the available budget of ~$28 million is allocated, whichever happens first.

A number of smaller utilities in California and scattered across the country may breathe life back into their inactive incentive programs with renewed funding as they begin a new fiscal year on July 1st. The problem is that by the time you read about a great solar incentive program, it may already be out of your reach, either because funding is exhausted, program capacity has been reached, incentive levels have dropped, or the program deadlines have passed. It is critical to have accurate and timely incentive information and be ready to act when the time is right.

To help you get prepared, look for Alta Energy’s new white paper, “Making the Business Case for Solar” – coming soon — and get your internal analytical framework and decision-making processes ready. Alta Energy may be the right partner for you – providing a comprehensive, objective solar analytics service that enables commercial property owners to identify cost-effective solar projects and make timely decisions to move forward with the right technology, financing structure, incentive programs and vendors.

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