Local, state and federal authorities have developed and implemented a wide array of financial incentives and regulations to encourage the development and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficient projects. To ensure you understand the array of options available, ROOFCORP has compiled this easy-to-use directory.
A few states and local governments have established bond programs to raise money to fund projects to improve energy efficiency or to install renewable energy systems on government facilities. The bonding authority is usually reimbursed using the resulting energy savings.
Grant Programs: A variety of competitive-based state and federal grant programs are available to help pay down the cost of eligible systems or equipment, or support R&D and project commercialization.
Green Building Incentives: Offered by cities and counties to promote green building, the most common is a reduction or waiver of a building permit fee. The U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) awards points for site selection and development, material, energy and water efficiency, indoor air quality, innovation, and the application of renewable technologies
Industry Recruitment/Support: Offered by states as a temporary measure to support industries in their early years, these tax credits, tax exemptions and grants cultivate the manufacturing and development of renewable energy systems and equipment.
Tax Incentives: These measures include corporate and personal income tax credits and deductions to reduce the expense of purchasing and installing renewable energy systems, as well as property and sales tax exemptions. For a more complete rundown, ROOFCORP offers a tax incentive directory.
Production Incentives: Also known as performance-based incentives, these cash payments are based on the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) a renewable energy system generates.
Rebate Programs: States, local governments and utilities offer rebates to promote the installation of renewable energy systems and energy efficiency measures.
Utility Rate Discounts: A few electric utilities offer rate discounts to encourage residential energy efficiency, awarding homeowners or tenants a percentage off on monthly electric bills.
Leasing Programs: A few electric utilities offer leasing programs for prospective customers in remote areas, especially if the cost of extending electric distribution lines to a home or facility would be expensive. In some cases, customers may choose to purchase the system after a specified period of time.
Loan Programs: Electric utilities, as well as state and federal governments offer loan programs to provide financing for the purchase of renewable energy or energy efficiency systems or equipment. Loan rates and terms vary by program and the individual project.
Codes, Standards & Regulations
Appliance/Equipment Efficiency Standards: Many states have established minimum efficiency standards for appliances and equipment, and prohibit the retail sale of items that do not meet these standards. The federal government has also established efficiency standards for appliances and certain equipment.
Building Energy Codes: Building energy codes adopted by states and some local governments require commercial and residential construction to adhere to certain energy standards. Many of these regulations use existing codes developed by the International Code Council (ICC) or the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). A few local building codes require certain commercial facilities to meet green building standards.
Contractor Licensing: Some states have adopted a licensing process for renewable energy contractors to ensure that they have the necessary experience and knowledge to install systems properly.
Energy Standards for Public Buildings: Many states and local governments, as well as the federal government require new government buildings meet strict energy standards. DSIRE includes policies that have established green building standards, energy-reduction goals, equipment procurement requirements, and/or life-cycle cost analyses for publicly-owned buildings.
Equipment Certification Requirements: Policies requiring renewable energy equipment to meet certain standards make it more difficult for substandard systems to reach the market.
Generation Disclosure Rules: Some states require electric utilities to provide their customers with specific information about the electricity that the utility supplies to help consumers make informed decisions about the electricity and suppliers they choose. This usually includes the utility’s fuel mix percentages and emissions statistics.
Green Power Purchasing/Aggregation Programs: Many state and local governments, as well as the federal government, have committed to buying green power to account for a certain percentage of their electricity consumption. A few states allow local governments to aggregate the electricity loads of an entire community to purchase green power and, potentially, to join with other communities to form an even larger purchaser of green power – a concept known as “community choice.”
Interconnection Standards: Interconnection standards govern the process by which an electric customer connects an electric-generating system to the grid, specifying the technical, contractual, metering and rate rules that system owners and utilities must abide by. Not all states have adopted interconnection standards, and some states’ standards do not apply to municipal utilities and electric cooperatives.
Line Extension Analysis: When a prospective electric customer requests service for a home or facility that is not currently serviced by the electric grid, the customer usually pays a fee to extend power lines to their property. In some cases, an on-site renewable energy system is a cheaper option. Certain states require utilities to provide information about renewable energy options to customers requesting a line extension.
Mandatory Utility Green Power Option: In several states, certain electric utilities are required to offer customers the option of buying electricity generated from renewable resources, commonly known as “green power.” Typically, utilities offer green power generated using renewable resources that they own, or they buy renewable energy credits a certified provider.
Net Metering: Required by law in most states, net metering allows for the flow of electricity both to and from utility customer generating their own electricity. The customer can use excess electricity generation to offset electricity that they otherwise would have to purchase at the utility’s full retail rate., In some cases, these laws only apply to investor-owned utilities.
Public Benefit Funds: Supported through a small surcharge on electricity consumption, public benefit funds (PBF) support rebate programs for renewable energy systems, loan programs, research and development, and energy education programs.
Renewable Portfolio Standards/Set Asides: Renewable portfolio standards (RPS) require utilities to use renewable energy or renewable energy credits (RECs) to account for a certain percentage of their retail electricity sales within a specified timeframe. A “set-aside” is a provision within an RPS that requires utilities to use a specific renewable resource, usually solar energy. More than half of all states have established an RPS.
Solar and Wind Access Laws: Solar and wind access laws, which may be implemented at both the state and local levels, protect a consumer’s right to install and operate a solar or wind energy system at a home or business.
Solar and Wind Permitting Standards: Some local governments have adopted simplified or expedited permitting standards for wind and solar systems that saves system owners and developers’ time and money. Some states have capped the permit fees that local governments may charge and developed model wind ordinances for use by local governments.
ROOFCORP can work with your organization or business to help you determine if a photovoltaic system is the right road to travel.
We have the knowledge and ability to help our clients navigate through the maze of regulations and incentives to ensure you can recapture your investment. Contact us today for more information.