August 25th, 2011
OK, so not exactly the Northeast but close enough. More importantly, Ohio’s solar market is very similar to those of neighboring states in that it is premised upon a RPS solar carve-out. 0.5% of Ohio’s total electricity supply by 2024, that is; half of which must be derived from in-state solar resources.
As we reported on back in March, there has been some solar trouble in Ohio. At that time, First Energy Corp had filed force majeure claiming they were unable to locate and secure a sufficient number of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) to satisfy its 2010 solar obligation. Remarkably, this was the second year in a row First Energy filed for force majeure despite *good-faith* efforts. Two years of force majeure? Seems like there’d need to be a whole lot of good-faith going on. We’re not buying it. Again, our previous reporting details our doubts. » Read the rest of this entry «
June 10th, 2010
Good news from the Buckeye State! The legislature passed important tax reform that drops the tax burden for solar farms from upwards of $100,000 per MW to a flat fee of $7,000 per MW. The bill (SB232) – which is expected to be signed by the Governor any day now - removes a major barrier to large-scale solar development in the state.
Existing Ohio tax law added these unreasonably high costs to the price of developing solar and other renewables. In early 2010 Governor Strickland sounded the call for change as part of his state of the state address. That set the stage for legislative action. February saw the introduction of SB232 by Senator Widener (R), a bill that proposed a flat fee in lieu of the onerous taxes. After hefty ne
gotiations (and support voiced by Vote Solar members in the state!), SB 232 passed both Houses in the wee hours last Friday.
This special tax exemption applies to clean energy projects built between now and 2011, a great incentive to hasten solar development in the state. Additionally, projects with a nameplate capacity of less than 250KW are now permanently exempt from the personal property taxation.
SB232 also contained language that expands last year’s passage of PACE enabling legislation to include energy efficient improvements along with solar. This PACE victory comes with strong concerns from energy efficiency advocates since utilities have access to the efficiency credits gained through PACE.
All in all, great progress made in setting up the kind of policy infrastructure that Ohio needs to be able to meet its solar goals. Thanks to all our Ohio members who emailed their legislators in support of SB232.
12 MWDC Wyandot Solar project, Upper Sandusky, Ohio developed, constructed and operated by juwi solar Inc.
May 28th, 2010
Don’t just think sunny deserts, palm trees and cacti when you think solar. Think Twin Towers and corn fields. That’s right: Solar is making its way into the mainstream in the Midwest.
Illinois is rolling forward with aggressive new targets for green energy. 2007 saw the creation of the state’s first renewable energy standard: 25% by 2025. Last year the RES was expanded to cover more utilities and added a solar carve-out: 6% of the RES to come from PV by 2015. That’s a whopping 750 MW of solar, an aggressive initial target for a state that currently has less than 1 MW deployed.
Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, new energy markets take time to develop. The bill that just passed (HB 6202) helps Illinois avoid a 750 MW solar cliff in 2015 by establishing interim annual targets starting in 2012. The new solar targets will require approximately 40, 100 and 180 megawatts of new solar in 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively. For those wanting the official word, see our press release here.
It may sound wonky, but it’s an absolutely critical framework for easing electricity providers into the world of solar and protecting Illinois energy consumers from sticker shock. Plus it helps get solar projects and jobs started now – when the Illinois economy can use it most. This year’s legislation sends a clear message to the solar industry to gear up to meet tremendous demand from Illinois in the next two years.
In combination with the one year old solar mandate Ohio, and newly created mandate for solar in Missouri, the new solar targets in Illinois will make solar energy a real part of the mix throughout the Midwest. Expect to see other states follow suit.
Congratulations on the passage of the Illinois Solar Ramp Up bill are due to the Environmental Law and Policy Center and our friends at Illinois Solar Energy Association among many other great state enviro groups. This bill hung in the balance in April when Vote Solar and ELPC organized a solar lobby day. Thanks to all those who lobbied along with our many members who contacted their elected officials to let them know Illinoisans want solar now!
February 25th, 2010
Take a look around and you’ll start to see that things are looking decidedly brighter for solar in Ohio. 2009 was the first year that state law required utilities to generate a portion of their power from the sun. With a solar energy target now in place, we’re working hard to build the road to that renewable energy future.
So what’s on the solar agenda in Ohio?
First, expect to see new solar rebate programs from your utility as it works to meet its renewable energy requirements. Vote Solar is working with the Ohio Consumer Council and others to make sure potential solar customers get a fair deal.
Second, there are a number of issues at play in the state legislature to smooth the way for solar adoption:
House Bill 113 aims to give solar a boost in schools. If the bill is passed, school districts with more than 5,000 students will be required to power some of their electricity through solar. That means 71 Ohio schools would start tapping the sun for their electricity.
Senate Bill 223 would expand the state’s municipal financing option (PACE) to include energy efficiency investments. These PACE programs help property owners cover the upfront cost of making energy improvements. It’s an exciting new way for cities and counties to support a local green economy and job growth. Last year, this policy marked a big win for solar in Ohio, and we’re excited to see those benefits expanded to include efficiency.
And last but not least, Governor Strickland’s State of the State called for a personal property tax exemption for solar generating energy projects. Removing this obscure property tax would clear the way for the development of solar farms. We expect to see a bill introduced shortly to address this remaining barrier to large-scale solar in Ohio.
Now we don’t want to sugarcoat Ohio solar policy. There have been bumps in the road. Three utilities- AEP, First Energy and Dayton Power & Light, asked to be excused from their 2009 solar generation requirement. We formally disagreed with the granting of a solar waiver. The utilities stated the lack of approved RPS rules, however the solar generation requirement has been clear from day one. We do expect to see those missing solar electricity hours generated in 2010.
We’ll need your help to pass these bills. Stay tuned and get ready to go solar.