Saturday, July 26, 2008

Focus on Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) at the state level for solar.

Warning: Wonks ahead! (but worth the read for pros and those who watch the money)
From GUNTHER Portfolio:

...Adam Browning kicked off the discussion with his presentation, "US Solar Market - Policy Drivers". In his opening, Mr. Browning said:

When it comes to Energy policy much of it is lead at the state level rather than at the Federal level. Most of the most critical electricity related rules and regulations are set at a state level.

This observation was echoed by many panelists who advocated activity at the state level over complex and protracted energy policy legislation at the Federal level.

However, a misleading comparison of Rebate programs with net metering versus the Feed-in Tariff model is shown in the slide above titled “Avoided Utility Purchases with Marginal Incentives vs. Feed-in Tariffs.

Adam Browning said:

…From a policy maker’s perspective we are looking at what is the amount of public funds, the above market cost, that they are going to need to have to provide to a program in order to make that program work, give a financially interesting proposition to people who want to go solar.

Under this particular model, most of the value comes from avoided utility purchases and you give an incentive that is just the marginal difference to get to an economically interesting proposition.

Under a Feed-in Tariff, you must provide the full value of that electricity and from the policy maker’s perspective that often looks like a much larger amount which makes it harder to do.

This perpetuates Adam Browning’s flawed Feed-in Tariff versus Marginal Incentive article refuted by Michael Hoexter in Feed-in Tariffs: Getting off the Renewables Roller Coaster, both found at