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Renewable Energy Tax Credits News Briefs - June 2016
On May 31, Rhone Resch retired as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Resch was with SEIA for 12 years and played a key role in securing policies that fostered the explosive growth of the U.S. solar industry, including the creation, modification and multiple extensions of the investment tax credit (ITC) since 2005. At press time, SEIA had yet to name an interim leader or begin the executive search process.
South Dakota House Bill 1177 will be effective July 1. The bill, signed into law March 29, creates a tax incentive for solar energy facilities. Eligible companies owning or holding under lease, or otherwise, real or personal property used, or intended for use, as a solar facility, must pay an alternative annual tax of $0.00090 per kilowatt-hour of electricity produced by the solar facility.
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) released the report, “U.S. Renewables Portfolio Standards: 2016 Annual Status Report” in mid-April. The annual report describes key trends in the industry, including recent legislative revisions, renewables portfolio standards (RPS) policy design features, past and projected impacts on renewables development, compliance with interim targets and costs. In this edition, LBNL found that RPS policies collectively apply to 55 percent of total U.S. retail electricity sales. In addition, wind energy has been the primary form of all RPS-driven RE capacity growth to date, but solar was the largest source of RPS builds in 2015. LBNL concluded that total RPS demand will double from 215 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2015 to 431 TWh in 2030. The report is available from the Berkeley Lab.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) released the report, “U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report, Year Ending 2015,” on April 12. The report provides a comprehensive look at the U.S. wind energy landscape, offering industry trends, statistics, company rankings and the market picture through 2015. AWEA determined that wind was the leading source of new generating capacity last year, and that American wind power supported a record 88,000 jobs at the start of 2016, an increase of 20 percent in a single year. Over the last decade, the U.S. wind industry attracted $128 billion in new wind project investment and installed 8,598 megawatts (MW) of electric generating capacity across 20 states. An additional 9,400 MW of wind capacity was under construction as of the start of 2016, with another 4,900 MW in advanced stages of development. AWEA issued an introductory press release April 7 stating that major brands and other emerging non-utility customers signed 52 percent, or 2,074 megawatts (MW), of the wind power capacity contracted through power purchase agreements (PPA) in 2015. The 52 percent share of capacity contracted for by non-utility purchasers in 2015 more than doubles the 23 percent share of that market contracted for in 2014, and far outpaces the 5 percent share in 2013. The report is available at American Clean Power.
SEIA issued analysis March 31 on the results of inaction on raising net metering caps and reforming the Massachusetts’ Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) program. According to SEIA and Vote Solar, a nonprofit organization working to combat climate change and foster economic development by bringing solar energy into the mainstream, this inaction has stopped construction of more than 500 solar projects valued at $617 million, which costs cities and towns $3.2 million in annual tax revenues. Net metering ensures that energy consumers receive full credit on their utility bills for solar electricity they deliver to the grid for use nearby.