The Wisconsin legislature passed an order requiring the state’s rate-payer-funded energy efficiency organization to devote $10 million to renewable energy technologies, with $2 million reserved for solar applications.
The state’s new Residential Renewable Energy Program will allow residential utility customers to apply for cash-back rewards for solar installations, said Focus spokeswoman Sara Ifert. The program has $500,000 allocated to that program.
The business program, titled Renewable Competitive Incentive Program, allows Wisconsin businesses to compete for $1.5 million in funding for solar thermal, photovoltaic, geothermal, wind, biomass and biogas.
While Wisconsin has a rate-payer-funded efficiency program and oversight agency, there is no unified state energy goal or guideline regarding a renewable portfolio, Ifert said.
Beginning in 2013, however, she said Focus will dedicate $10 million to renewable projects with 75 percent of the money funding geothermal technologies, biomass and biogas and the remaining 25 percent going to solar photovoltaic, solar thermal and wind projects as long as they don’t violate a 2.3 cost benefit ratio, Ifert said.
The Focus on Energy program helped customers adopt solar power before the current legislation went into effect. It has provided some financial backing, incentives and encouragement, Ifert said.
Since 2002, the organization has helped residents install 1,500 solar photovoltaic and solar thermal systems at businesses and homes throughout Wisconsin, Ifert said.
“The Focus on Energy programs are designed to provide financial support to the most cost effective renewable energy projects that can be installed at eligible Customers’ facilities,” Ifert writes in an email. “Focus on Energy expects to drive industry growth through market transformation by pushing the market to pursue the most cost-effective technologies for achieving energy savings.”