Wisconsin announced new programs to promote renewable energy

Analyst Commentary, Matthew Bovencamp: Incentives for renewable energy are essential for the success of the industry, as most renewable energy technologies cannot compete with fossil fuel based on technology alone. Wisconsin utility’s state-wide energy efficiency program expanded their renewable energy incentives to promote these initiatives. The new incentives, launched on July 1 2012, include cashback for residential solar PV installations, offering a maximum of $1,200 per household along with similar incentives for geothermal and solar heating. Financial support is also offered to Wisconsin businesses for having renewable energy technologies installed in the buildings, including biomass, biogas, geothermal, solar PV, solar thermal, and wind.

The United States does not have a national Feed-in-Tariff program for renewable energy, so their incentives are largely state based. There is significant potential for renewable energy growth, specifically solar PV, in the US since total US installations accounted for only 6% of global cumulative capacity[1] and there is a clear desire for alternate energy sources. Despite the relative slow growth in the solar PV industry within the US, the state incentive programs are moving the developments in the right direction.  

In 2011, the US was the second largest market for new PV capacity outside Europe, adding 1.7 GW of PV installations and bringing the cumulative capacity to 4.2 GW. The growth is largely attributed to these state incentive programs, and demand is expected to grow again in 2012 for US solar PV installations. As demand in other countries that once dominated the solar PV market begin to slow, it will be necessary for other countries such as the US to pick up the slack in order to keep this industry progressing at the current pace.

References: Focus on Energy (Jul 6), Solar Industry Magazine (Jul 12)

Notes:

[1] As of 2011, source: EPIA

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