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Austin Energy Lowers Solar Rebates As Popularity Soars

Updated: Thursday, June 19 2014, 04:22 PM CDT

Austin Energy has to lower solar rebates as the program's popularity soars. Since 2004, 3,400 residents and businesses combined have gone solar. Right now the rebate budget for the year is $7.5 million.

Danielle Murray, the program's manager, says the price of solar is dropping and it's attracting even more people.

"So we want to make sure A we stay on budget, and B we are able to make those incentives available to more people going forward," said Murray.

Starting this week residents will be getting $1.10 per watt, before it was $1.25. In 2004 it was $5 per watt.

The performance based incentive for commercial customers also was lowered from 10 cents to 9 cents for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity produced from a commercial solar system.

Last year, 738 customers participated in the programs -- shattering the record of 468 set the previous year.

"Everyone from car dealerships to restaurants," said Murray.

Even non-profits like Lifeworks are going green. 

"[People] are amazed a non-profit, for one, built that type of building. Secondly, we have invested that much into solar," said Lifeworks' Chief Operating Officer Mitch Weynand, "Without the solar incentive funds we would not be able to do it."

Weynand says the rebates save them thousands of dollars every month. Now they can use that money for other programs in the non-profit.

"We are saving close to $4,000 a month at that location," said Weynand.

Austin Energy says their goal now is to make sure the savings last.

For more on the solar rebate program click here

By Christie Post

Austin Energy Lowers Solar Rebates As Popularity Soars


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