* Work aggressively with Congressional delegations to extend the 30% federal investment tax credit to a 10-year term and remove the $2000 cap on residential systems.
* Expand the deployment of central solar plants by encouraging 30-year power purchase agreements and aggregation of utility plant orders and project bids to accelerate scale-up cost reductions.
* Encourage widespread adoption of distributed solar by creating incentives either in the form of declining up-front rebates that help reduce the “first cost” challenge in purchasing a solar system or by establishing ongoing performance-based incentives that pay for production of electricity, both of which have been adopted in certain WGA states. Incentives should be available to both solar thermal (space heating and cooling as well as water heating) and solar electricity systems and apply equally to residential and commercial buildings.
* Reward solar production and encourage conservation during critical peak periods by facilitating simplified interconnection standards, net metering, and rate structures that will benefit distributed solar systems.
* Exempt both CSP plants and distributed solar systems from state and local sales and property taxes. The loss to state treasuries of these taxes will be more than compensated by increases in tax revenues through growth in personal and corporate income taxes, gross receipts taxes from equipment sales, compensating taxes on imported equipment and other taxes specific to electric utilities. In addition, some of the money that now leaves states’ economies for energy purchases will instead remain at home.
* Integrate solar into existing state policies such as a Renewable Portfolio Standard, which can help develop central and distributed solar markets when structured properly.
* Consider adopting target tariffs that reflect the value of solar energy for peak periods and that adjust for natural gas price changes.
With these policies implemented, an additional 32,500 jobs will be created and a new solar energy manufacturing industry will emerge in the West.
Broadly speaking, there are two technology market segments that can take advantage of the West’s abundant solar resource: central station and distributed generation. Central station solar fits the typical power-production model employed throughout the grid, generating electricity at an often remote location and wheeling that energy across the grid to recipient utilities and other customers. In contrast, distributed solar systems are installed on rooftops or on land adjacent to buildings, enabling homeowners, businesses, schools and government buildings to generate their own electricity and/or heat.