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what’s FiT all About

Are you confused about what FiT (Feed-in Tarriff) is all about? What is all the hype for the recently passed FiT agreement  of this 30¢ rate is about? Who does this help?  Who does it apply to & how? It can be somewhat confusing.  This issue of G.E.T.’s press release (pg. 7), regarding FiT, came from GroSolar, so they seemed the likely people to help clarify all of this, in a way that we can all make some sense of.
Just what does this all mean for the consumer?
GroSolar answered: “Those are all great questions & we have a sense for the answers but the final rules of the Standard Offer won’t be set/published until next week. In general the FIT is for large/utility-scale projects because the installations will, in effect, become power companies that are connected/regulated by the ISO New England grid. The cost of “being a power company” (annual fees, etc) will in part determine what size projects will have enough cash-flow under the $.30 FIT to have a good financial return.

The FIT is not something that will work for residential solar power. The part of H446 that really impacts residential is the ability for municipalities or districts to issue bonds to offer tax-assessment financing of residential renewable energy projects, similar to the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP).
We’ll have a 2nd press release & online info about this up next week but for now here’s what should be said about this relative to solar power.

1. This is an encouraging first-step to increase investment in, & rapidly deploy of, commercial-scale renewable & solar power in VT.  groSolar applauds the Vt State government & the PSB for leading the nation with the first state-legislated FIT program in the country.

2. There is a 50MW cap on new renewable energy projects under in the program, which would equate to only about 4% of peak-demand in VT.

3. The FIT/Standard Offer program for solar power installations, in its current form, is relevant for solar PV projects sized 500kw to 2.2MW.

a. A FIT project will in essence become a power company (independent power producer), which under the current rules requires significant fees for grid-interconnection to CVPS & the ISO New England grid.
b. The program does not replace residential solar Net-metering & does not apply to residential solar installations, largely because of the interconnection & transmission fees that apply to power companies in VT & the ISO New England grid.

4. The interim program prices may be revised in January, 2010. groSolar is hopeful that this or future revisions/legislation will make the FIT apply more broadly to include residential-scale renewables, similar to programs in Germany & Ontario, Canada.

5. groSolar is hopeful that other states in the US will follow Vermont’s lead with an understanding that FIT programs create long-term stability for renewable energy, rapid deployment of clean-power technologies, increased investment in clean-power generation, while providing clear & predictable economic returns for investors in renewable generation.

6. In additional to rapidly increasing activity in the residential solar market, groSolar has several large-scale VT-FIT projects being developed & welcomes interested investors, development partners & property-owners to inquire about possible FIT-projects.”
by nancy rae malllery with special thx to groSolar, WRJ, VT

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