Green Tag Payments for New England RE Owners

Often renewable energy projects begin with a flurry of paperwork for rebates and grants, but once the system is up and running, most RE owners think that they are done with financial incentives. But even five years later, anyone who has installed solar photovoltaics (PV), wind power, or other electric-generating renewables in the six New England states is eligible for an additional financial incentive from the sale of green tags.

Chicago, Illinois – September 12, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The financial incentive is available in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The payment is a one-time US$100 per kW of capacity for solar PV and $50 per kW of capacity for wind. That means that a 5 kW residential solar system could earn $500, a 20 kW wind system could earn $1,000, and a 30 kW commercial solar system could earn $3,000. The money for this incentive does not come from state or federal governments, nor the utility companies, but rather from the sale of green tags to environmental markets. Green tags are environmental certificates that represent the positive attributes of renewable energy. These tags become separated, or “unbundled,” from the actual electricity at the point of generation, and can be sold independently. “Our New England Special Rewards program is the first and only one of its kind in the region. Mainstay Energy has created the industry for using green tags to help finance small and medium scale renewables,” said Mainstay Energy CEO Hoyt Hudson. “We are excited to be able to use environmental markets to further stimulate the adoption of clean energy.” Mainstay Energy, a renewable energy financing company headquartered in Chicago, is the creator of this incentive and is applying the incentive in a regional manner, beginning with New England. “New England is an area of the country with very progressive legislative policies towards renewables and an established environmental market,” said Hudson. “We plan to build on our success in New England to expand later to other states. The likely next locations for a similar program are New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.” Mainstay Energy is remitting these one-time payments in return for five years’ worth of production of green tags. Historically, most smaller-scale renewable energy installations have been unable to capitalize on green tags, because either they did not know about them, or their sites are too small to produce a marketable quantity of green tags. To be eligible for the Mainstay Energy special reward, the renewable energy installation needs to have been powered up on or after January 1, 1998. The site must be grid-tied, except for Massachusetts, where off-grid is also eligible. Sites are eligible for revenue from green tags even if they are in a net-metering agreement with their electric utility. The green tags purchased by Mainstay Energy are aggregated and brought to market as certified wholesale and retail products. Green tags are used in compliance markets, and are also becoming increasingly popular as a way for companies, government agencies, and individuals to support renewable energy.

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