CLEAN Programs (Feed-In Tariffs)

Few policies make renewable energy production easier than CLEAN (Clean Local Energy Accessible Now) Programs, also known as feed-in tariffs.  The basic premise is to require utilities to buy renewable energy from individuals or businesses on long-term, fixed price contracts at prices sufficient to encourage them to invest.  The most robust policies span multiple technologies (wind, solar, biogas) and set prices differently based on project sizes.  The simplest ones may offer just a single price for one technology, e.g. solar.

Worldwide, CLEAN programs are responsible for 90% of the world’s installed solar power and two-thirds of the wind power.  In 2012, 17 programs were active across 14 states.

ILSR CLEAN Program Resources

Gainesville Solar Feed-in Tariff

Gainesville Regional Utilities, the municipal utility serving the Florida city of Gainesville, launched its solar photovoltaic (PV) feed-in tariff program in early 2009.  The city’s program set a cap of 4 MW of solar PV through 2016 and the program is fully subscribed.  Customers will still have the option of installing solar with the utility’s rebate and net metering the electricity.… Read More

Ontario Feed-in Tariff and micro Feed-in Tariff program

In 2009, the Canadian province of Ontario dramatically revised its standard offer renewable energy program into a full-fledged feed-in tariff(FIT).  The program provides a guaranteed grid connection, cost-based prices for renewable energy producers, and a long-term power purchase contract.  Paul Gipe awarded the program an 'A-' in his recent analysis of North American FIT policies and we find the bonuses for domestic content and local ownership to be innovative twists on a successful policy tool.… Read More

Oregon Solar PV Production Incentive

The state of Oregon established a production incentive for renewable energy systems in 2009 and the state’s Public Utility Commission finalized rules in 2010 that will allow for up to 25 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to be installed by 2014.  Although proponents of the legislation had hoped to develop a robust feed-in tariff in Oregon, the actual program has only small elements of a feed-in tariff.  … Read More

Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s Solar Program

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) will buy excess solar-powered electricity produced by their customers at the retail rate. In 1993, the SMUD PV Pioneer program established a partnership with customers willing to assist in the early adoption of photovoltaic(PV) technology.… Read More

Vermont standard offer renewable energy program

In May 2009, Vermont adopted a standard offer program that serves as a small feed-in tariff.  Although the program scored only a ‘D’  in feed-in tariff expert Paul Gipe’s recent analysis of North American feed-in tariff policies, it does contain many of the key components of a feed-in tariff policy.… Read More
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John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Energy Democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he develops tools that allow communities to take charge of their energy future, and pursue the maximum economic benefits of the transition to 100% renewable power.