The benefits from residential solar – utility bill savings and environmental impact – are primarily long-term. To invest in solar more attractive to customers, the federal and state governments offer various incentives that offer a flurry of substantial short-term returns. Some incentives offer long-term benefits too.
Altogether, these incentives have played an instrumental role in making residential solar as popular as it is today.
However, one of these incentives, and a very popular one, is retiring soon, and it needs your attention!
Introducing the Residential Solar Investment Program (RSIP)
The RSIP program was originally drawn up as a pilot project way back in 2012. It incentivized solar customers by reducing their cost by a flat rate. However, the pilot program had a cap of only 30 MW, which means that it accepted applications from customers until the total capacity of the approved applications met this cap.
The program was a roaring success, and the cap was reset to 300 MW in just two years. Subsequently, the cap had to be reset again to 382 MW, the latest cap on the program.
Since its inception in the year 2012, the program has been slated to retire in 2022. Nevertheless, the program is already nearing its approved capacity, with the latest numbers pointing to an approved capacity of 364.786 MW.
With the program reaching its scheduled retirement next year and the approved residential applications already nearing the program cap, it may well be that the program retires well before the next year on account of achieving the capacity target.
Incentives Under RSIP
Under the RSIP program, residential solar installations get a maximum of $0.42 for every watt of installed solar capacity.
There are two slabs of RSIP rates based on the installed capacity. While systems with 10 kW or less get paid $0.426/watt, those between 10kW – 20 kW get paid $0.328/watt after the first 10 kW. There are no incentives for solar systems with installed capacity above 20 kW.
To give you a sense of these incentives, a 10 kW solar installation can save up to $4,260 purely on account of the RSIP incentive.
However, the RSIP program does not pay the customer directly. It pays the solar installer.
It’s also important to note that these rates are decided based on the annual power consumption of your home in the past, so that homeowners do not install excess solar capacity to obtain the incentives.