Western States Continue to Push Renewables

In Arizona, the Arizona Corporation Commission just approved Arizona Public Service’s 2011 implementation plan (big PDF) for the Renewable Energy Standard. The plan includes two policies for wholesale distributed generation:

Small Generator Standard Offer. About 95 MW over the next 3 years, for systems sized 2-15 MW. Prices will be set by competitive bids (in previous solicitations, APS indicated that project prices are substantially below 15 cents/kWh). APS will use a standard contract in order to facilitate financing, set a regular interval for solicitations in order to provide for a more continuous market opportunity, and utilize development security in order to prioritize viable projects and reduce speculation and gaming. (This is in addition to the 100 MW AZ SUN utility-owned PV program, and projects under development from previous solicitations)

Feed-in Tariff. Six MW over the next 3 years under a fixed price feed-in tariff, available to systems between 30-200 kW, and only for HOA/non-profit/multi-tenant/low-income housing customers (this was developed in this manner in response to Commission request). The price is set by extrapolation from competitive bids for similar sized commercial rooftop projects–initially 19.5 cents per kWh for a 20 year contract. That’s an interesting approach to price-setting that other jurisdictions may find attractive.

Really pretty cool stuff.

Also notable, Hawaii launched its feed-in tariff on November 17. They used a cost-based approach to setting the price, and came up with 21.8 c/kWh for PV systems under 20 kW, and 18.9 cents/kWh for PV systems from between 20 kW and 500 kW.

You can track program uptake here (click on the ‘queue’ tab):

The FIT rates are below the retail price of electricity–meaning that if anyone has load to serve, they get more value from their system by using the electricity themselves. It’s a situation that every FIT program will have to deal with eventually, and it will be very interesting to see how this works in HI.

Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the mainstream.

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