Gas Utility Offers Incentive for Renewable Energies

The largest natural gas company in the United States will pay $13.6 million a year to encourage customers to install solar electric systems and wind turbines.

LOS ANGELES, California, US, 2001-07-09 [SolarAccess.com] The largest natural gas company in the United States will pay $13.6 million a year to encourage customers to install solar electric systems and wind turbines. Southern California Gas Company will offer rebates for on-site power systems which generate all or a portion of the energy needs of a business facility or large residential complexes. Eligible technologies for the incentive include solar photovoltaic systems, wind turbines, fuel cells, microturbines, small gas turbines and non-diesel internal combustion engines. Solar and wind systems between 30 kW and 1 MW of capacity can receive an incentive of $4.50 per watt, to a maximum of 50 percent of the project costs. Fuel cells can also receive this level if they use a renewable fuel. Fuel-cell systems which use non-renewable fuel and waste-heat recovery are eligible for a rebate of $2.50 per watt, to a maximum of 40 percent of project costs. Systems up to 1 MW capacity that use gas turbines, microturbines or internal combustion engines with waste heat recovery can receive $1 per watt, to a maximum of 30 percent of costs. All systems must be interconnected with the utility grid to qualify for the program. “These incentives are great news for our customers and the Southland,” says vice president Richard Morrow. “Not only will this program help our customers become energy-sufficient and self-reliant, it will go a long way in promoting new, environmentally friendly and efficient solutions to tackle our state’s energy crisis and filling a critical need for additional power supplies.” Applicants have one year to install equipment or the funding reservation is cancelled. Reservations will be granted on a first-come basis, and applicants who have already installed systems may be eligible to apply for retroactive funding. Bill 970 directed the Public Utilities Commission and investor-owned utilities in California to develop the Self-Generation Incentive Program to reduce grid load by encouraging on-site power generation. The $125 million annual program is slated to expire at the end of 2004. Southern California Gas is the largest natural gas distribution utility in the U.S. with five million meters. Its service territory covers 23,000 square miles in central and southern California.
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