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Austin Energy - Commercial PV Incentive Program

Fed. Government
Multi-Family Residential
State Government
Savings Category 
Program Info
Program Type 
Performance-Based Incentive
Rebate Amount 

General: $0.14/kWh
Local manufacturing and assembly (60% content minimum): up to $0.175/kWh

Austin Energy

Austin Energy, a municipal utility, offers a production incentive to its commercial and multi-family residential customers for electricity generated by qualifying photovoltaic (PV) systems of up to 20 kilowatts (kW) AC. Eligibility is limited to Austin Energy customers with a commercial account number. The incentive rate is currently set at $0.14 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), but may be increased to up to $0.175 per kWh if the system uses equipment that is at least 60% manufactured or assembled in Austin Energy's service area. For the purposes of this bonus, manufactured or assembled does not include the installation of the PV system. Participants are eligible to receive the incentive offered through this program for a maximum of ten years. The incentive rate will be re-evaluated and possibly adjusted every four months to account for changing market conditions and program demand. This program replaces a former program that provided up-front rebates for commercial PV systems.

In order to qualify for this program PV modules must be new and be listed on the California Energy Commission's list of eligible modules for the California Solar Initiative (CSI). In addition, all solar panels must have a 20-year warranty, all inverters must have a 10-year warranty, and all systems must have a 10-year installer's warranty. Installations must be performed by program registered installers and licensed electrical contractors must obtain the appropriate permits and perform all electrical connections. Installers must be certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and maintain appropriate insurance coverage.

The program requires the installation of a generation meter in order to measure PV system energy production; however, participants remain eligible for net metering (i.e., this is not a buy-all, sell-all arrangement). In order to receive the incentive participants must transfer all renewable energy credits (RECs) produced by the system to Austin Energy, unless those RECs are required in order to obtain LEED certification.

The program is offered to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis subject to funding limitations. Participants begin by selecting an eligible installer, who will submit a program application on their behalf. If the application is approved, Austin Energy will issue a Letter of Intent (LOI) encumbering program funding for a period of 120 days for existing buildings and 180 days for new construction. After the PV system is installed it will be inspected by program personnel to verify compliance with program guidelines. Participants receive their incentive in the form of a quarterly payment from the utility.

Full details of the Commercial and Multi Family Solar Program can be found in Austin Energy's [ guidelines].