SMUD’s solar roofs

SMUD’s Board of Directors soon will be deciding whether to incorporate a proposed $130 million, 10-year solar rebate program into an upcoming rate increase. SMUD and other municipal utilities were mandated by last year’s Senate Bill 1 to follow the private utilities in offering an incentive program for solar-electric installations. “We’re hoping to get an additional 125 megawatts of solar power over the next 10 years,” said SMUD planning coordinator Stephen Frantz. Frantz said SMUD currently has about 10 megawatts of solar-power capacity. If approved, the incentive program would begin on January 1, 2008, offering the first customers to respond a minimum rebate of $2.80 per watt. With a typical residential solar installation averaging 4 kilowatts, the homeowner would receive an $11,200 rebate from SMUD. There’s also a $2,000 federal solar tax credit available for residents, and a 30 percent federal tax credit for commercial installations.

PG&E reports that their 4-month-old solar initiative program is showing some success, with nearly 130 megawatts of solar already approved or under review, though most of it is in the commercial sector.