Here are some updates on Focus on Energy renewable energy programs, from recent meetings of the Public Service Commission and meetings RENEW has had with Focus on Energy staff.

Residential Rewards funding for renewable energy projects (solar PV and geothermal)
All projects applied for by October 28th, 2014, will be receiving their cash-back reward for solar PV.  It is expected that the $450,000 budget was exceeded by $200,000 or more, but the projects will be funded, and the extra funds will not be taken from other renewables funding.

RECIP Update

A project with a $400,000 grant in 2014 fell through, and the Commission directed that funding to be carried over to 2015 and used for renewable energy projects. 

Focus on Energy staff are anticipating issuing a RECIP RFP in early 2015.  The budget levels, from RENEW’s understanding, are that approximately $1.2 million should be available for RECIP projects that will be installed in 2015.  

We are working with Focus on Energy staff to determine a RECIP schedule for 2015 and 2016 so that all installers know the schedule that is forthcoming and can plan accordingly.

2015 & 2016 Funding Update

For 2015, we expect:
– $1.2 million in RECIP, for projects installed in 2015
– $450,000 in residential rewards
– up to $2.5 million in new revolving loan program (more details below)

For 2016, we expect:
– About $3.0 million in RECIP projects that will be installed in 2016
– $450,000 in residential rewards
– $2.5 million in revolving loan program funding

The Commission will review the rebate and loan funding in mid-2016, to determine funding allocations for 2017 and 2018.

$6 million digester program for smaller farms updateThis program is still being scoped out.  RENEW is gathering some feedback from digester developers, and at this point we anticipate Focus staff working to get more information from digester companies and farmers on the barriers to adopting digesters and what information, research, or implementation needs exist to bring digester technology down to smaller farms.  As more details emerge and opportunities for feedback become available, RENEW will be in touch.

Loan Program Update

As of this writing, we understand the Focus on Energy staff is planning, at the high level, the following for the new loan program:
– Loan program will be largely based off Iowa’s “Alternative Energy Revolving Loan Program”
– Loans under $50k would be 1st come, 1st served, and would open in January
– Loans for over $50k would be completed through a quarterly RFP, and would start in March/April
– $2.5 million per year would be lent out for each of 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

– Lending partners – any lender can become part of the program.  Lenders will do the financial / credit check review of the applicants.

We will be working to get more details on this program and to make sure the industry is updated and has ample opportunity to ask questions and get them answered.