October 5, 2010
$4 Million in Solar Funding Available for Austin Energy Customers
Austin Energy has $4 million in funds for solar energy incentives for the fiscal year which began October 1, 2010. Incentives are available for residential and commercial solar electric (photovoltaic) and solar hot water energy systems. The Solar Rebate Program has resulted in more than 1,200 solar energy systems in Austin, generating more than 5 megawatts of power, and supporting the creation of more than 30 solar installation and services companies. Since it was created in 2004, the Solar Rebate Program has provided some $22 million in funding to support customer use of solar energy.
More customers seek rebates every year – strong demand is expected. This year, residential customers are eligible for solar electric rebates at $2.50 per watt, up to a maximum of $15,000 per year. There is a lifetime limit of $50,000 per customer.
Rebates are issued on a first-come, first-served basis for qualified customers. The guidelines and procedures are available online at www.austinenergy.com (click on the Solar Rebates link). Residential solar electric rebate customers must meet certain energy efficiency requirements, as defined on the Web site. Rebates are also available for energy efficiency improvements.
The average residential solar system is about 4,500 watts in size and provides about 1/3 of a customer’s annual electricity use. An average system costs about $25,000, but the cost to the customer, after rebates and federal tax credits, can be less than $10,000.
For commercial and multi-family customers, Austin Energy offers a performance-based incentive (PBI) of 14 cents per kWh of energy produced over a 10-year period. The typical commercial participant could receive as much as $5,000 each year on systems that cost about $130,000.
Austin Energy expects strong demand for solar water heater rebates in the coming year, and has budgeted $400,000 for commercial and residential rebates for these systems. Solar water heaters are a cost-effective and environmentally responsible alternative to conventional methods of producing domestic hot water. An Austin Energy rebate generally covers $1,500 to $2,000 of the total cost of a residential solar water heating system. Only those customers using electric water heaters as their backup system are eligible for rebates.
Customers should contact Austin Energy at (512) 482-5346 for more information.