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Alaska - Energy tax credit, wind/solar rebates and incentives

Alaska Renewable and Solar Energy Incentives

Alaska Energy Authority - Renewable Energy Grant Program

Incentive Type: State Grant Program
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Electric, Fuel Cells, Geothermal Heat Pumps, CHP/Cogeneration, Hydrothermal, Waste Heat, Transmission or Distribution Infrastructure, Anaerobic Digestion, Tidal Energy, Wave Energy, Geothermal Direct-Use
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Local Government, Utility, Tribal Government, Only Available for In-State Projects

In May 2008, Alaska enacted legislation authorizing the creation of a renewable energy grant fund. The legislation recommended that the program be administered by the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA). The grant program is intended to provide assistance to utilities, independent power producers, local governments, and tribal governments for feasibility studies, reconnaissance studies, energy resource monitoring, and work related to the design and construction of eligible facilities. In order to be eligible for a grant, a project must be located within Alaska. The list of eligible technologies includes solar, wind, geothermal, hydrothermal, certain types of biomass, biogas, wave, tidal, waste heat utilization, river in-stream power, and hydropower. Also eligible are fuel cells that use hydrogen generated from an eligible renewable resource or natural gas; certain natural gas projects located in small communities; and, electricity or natural gas transmission and distribution infrastructure projects that link an eligible project to related infrastructure. 
The AEA will not actually approve projects; it will issue recommendations to the state legislature, which will make funding decisions. There are usually two round of funding per fiscal year, with the first solicitation taking place in September 2008. The most recent solicitation closes on June 30, 2010. Funding for FY2011 is slightly lower than the $50 million anticipated by the legislature; funding for FY2011 will be $25 million. Solicitations accepted during one fiscal year are funded in the following fiscal year. Although there are no firm limits on grant amounts or minimum applicant contributions, applications with matching funds will be looked upon favorably. 
The enabling legislation states an intention to provide $50 million in funding annually to the program for five years, but $125 million was appropriated for the FY 2009 program. The initial allocation plan recommends that 20% of the funding go to reconnaissance, feasibility and resource studies, and the remaining 80% be awarded to final design, permitting and construction projects. 

Power Project Loan Fund

Incentive Type: State Loan Program
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Wind, Municipal Solid Waste
Applicable Sectors: Local Government, Municipal Utility, Independent Power Producers
Amount: Varies
Terms: Interest rate tied to municipal bonds

Summary: Created by the Alaska State Legislature and administered by the Alaska Energy Authority, this fund provides loans to local utilities, local governments, regional and village corporations, village councils, and independent power producers. It is designed for the development or upgrade of small-scale power production facilities, conservation facilities, and bulk fuel storage facilities. This includes energy production, transmission and distribution, and waste energy conservation facilities that depend on fossil fuel, wind power, tidal, geothermal, biomass, hydroelectric, solar or other energy sources. 
The loan term is related to the life of the project. Interest rates are the lesser of the average weekly yield of municipal bonds for the 12 months preceding the date of loan, or a rate the Alaska Energy Authority determines will allow the project to be financially feasible. Maximum loan amounts may be determined by available funds in the program. Contact the Alaska Energy Authority at (888) 300-8534 (within Alaska) for current restrictions on maximum loan amounts. 

Federal Energy Tax Credit (Residential/Commercial)

Taxpayers and commercial business owners are granted an energy tax credit of 30% of the total expenses, which include installation of residential or commercial solar panel (PV) systems, solar thermal systems, fuel cells and labor expenses.  Residential wind energy installations and geothermal pumps are also subject to a tax exemption.  

  • Solar electric systems and solar thermal heaters have no maximum incentive.
  • If there is excess federal tax credit, it may be carried over to the subsequent taxable year.  
  • This may continue on through consecutive years until 2016, under which unused credit may or may not be expunged.

Federal Energy Conservation Subsidy Exclusion (Residential)

  • Public utilities provide residential purchasers with an exemption of 100% of energy conservation subsidies.  
  • The overall worth of an installation or renewable utility regardless of the energy conservation capacity, will be excluded from the buyer’s gross income.  
  • Customers who participate in a utility company’s energy conservation program may be given a reduced rate of electricity utilized or a nonrefundable credit of the price of electricity on the customer’s monthly electric bill.

Energy-Efficient Mortgages (Residential)

  • With this federal loan program, homeowners may utilize energy-efficient mortgages (EEM) to either supplement or completely fund renewable energy systems.

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