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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Austin Energy - Commercial PV Incentive Program   

Last DSIRE Review: 11/07/2012
Program Overview:
State: Texas
Incentive Type: Performance-Based Incentive
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Photovoltaics
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Nonprofit, Schools, State Government, Fed. Government, Multi-Family Residential, Institutional
Amount:General: $0.14/kWh
Local manufacturing and assembly (60% content minimum): up to $0.175/kWh
Terms:Incentive available for 10 years
Eligible System Size:Up to 20 kW-AC
Installation Requirements:System must be installed by Austin Energy registered installer. Installers must be NABCEP certified.
Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits:Austin Energy (over system lifetime)
Program Budget:$3 million (FY2012 for all solar programs)
Web Site:

Austin Energy, a municipal utility, offers a production incentive to its commercial and multi-family residential customers for electricity generated by qualifying photovoltaic (PV) systems of up to 20 kilowatts (kW) AC. Eligibility is limited to Austin Energy customers with a commercial account number. The incentive rate is currently set at $0.14 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), but may be increased to up to $0.175 per kWh if the system uses equipment that is at least 60% manufactured or assembled in Austin Energy's service area. For the purposes of this bonus, manufactured or assembled does not include the installation of the PV system. Participants are eligible to receive the incentive offered through this program for a maximum of ten years. The incentive rate will be re-evaluated and possibly adjusted every four months to account for changing market conditions and program demand. This program replaces a former program that provided up-front rebates for commercial PV systems.

In order to qualify for this program PV modules must be new and be listed on the California Energy Commission's list of eligible modules for the California Solar Initiative (CSI). In addition, all solar panels must have a 20-year warranty, all inverters must have a 10-year warranty, and all systems must have a 10-year installer's warranty. Installations must be performed by program registered installers and licensed electrical contractors must obtain the appropriate permits and perform all electrical connections. Installers must be certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and maintain appropriate insurance coverage.

The program requires the installation of a generation meter in order to measure PV system energy production; however, participants remain eligible for net metering (i.e., this is not a buy-all, sell-all arrangement). In order to receive the incentive participants must transfer all renewable energy credits (RECs) produced by the system to Austin Energy, unless those RECs are required in order to obtain LEED certification.

The program is offered to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis subject to funding limitations. Participants begin by selecting an eligible installer, who will submit a program application on their behalf. If the application is approved, Austin Energy will issue a Letter of Intent (LOI) encumbering program funding for a period of 120 days for existing buildings and 180 days for new construction. After the PV system is installed it will be inspected by program personnel to verify compliance with program guidelines. Participants receive their incentive in the form of a quarterly payment from the utility.

Full details of the Commercial and Multi Family Solar Program can be found in Austin Energy's guidelines.

  Program Information - AE Commercial Solar Program
Austin Energy
811 Barton Springs Road, 3rd Floor
Austin, TX 78704
Phone: (512) 482-5346
Fax: (512) 482-5455
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2013 - 2014 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.