Oncor 2020 Solar Incentive Program Kickoff


 

Oncor held its 2020 Solar Incentive program kickoff webinar Wed. 1/22/20 where they publicly announced details including program budgets and guidelines.  The presentation pdf, webinar recording, program manuals, and other references are available for download from their Energy Efficiency Contractor Portal (EEPM) website. These are targeted to their service providers & other industry participants but are available to everyone.

A) HIGHLIGHTS:

Residential and commercial programs open for projects starting Feb. 3 at 10 am CST. Program closes Nov. 30. All projects must be submitted for inspection by close of business.

1) The residential budgets is down significantly, which was presented as the best the solar team could get, considering that they are in somewhat in competition with other energy efficiency programs in a limited overall budget:

Residential Budget $1,163,950, Commercial Budget $2,038,440

2) The incentive amounts decreased approximately 10% from where they have been for the last 3 years.

The actual incentive is calculated by EEPM based on system details, with an online calculator available for estimation purposes. This includes what I call a “value of solar factor” which takes into account how the system solar production aligns with overall peak demand.  This was introduced in 2017 and follows guidelines in the State Texas Technical Reference Manual.

As a sample example, for comparison with what I found in 2017 (said to be unchanged for 2018 & 2019) for a 10 kW system in Duncanville (south facing, fixed roof mount on 9/12 pitch roof, standard class module) incentive came out to about $0.560/Wdc now, compared to about $0.623/Wdc in 2017, = -10.1%.

3) The residential system size range is 1 kW AC to 10 kW AC; projects over 10 kW AC are not eligible; and maximum incentive amount is $8500.

The commercial system size range is 5 kW AC to 200 kW AC or 75% of Peak Demand; projects over 200 kW AC are not eligible; and maximum incentive amount is $120,000.

A service provider can have only a limited number of active projects: Residential – 8, Commercial – 7.

A service provider, including affiliates, will be limited to no more than 10% of the budget (subject to change): Residential cap: $116,395, Commercial cap: $203,844

New providers must complete one project successfully before having additional projects approved.

B) DETAILS

EEPM Resources (commercial solar is combined with residential under Program Resources):

https://eepm.oncor.com/Residential.aspx 

1) Budgets:

- For comparison the budgets announced at the 2019 kick off were and reductions for 2020 are:

Residential Budget $2,019,810 Commercial Budget $2,038,440
Reduction: Residential -$855,860 or 42%, Commercial unchanged.

2) Incentive rates:

The program kickoff for 2016 said that the actual incentives (which remained as a base for 2017) “equate to approx $0.85 per DC Watt”, which I had seen widely referenced at the time. The actual base rates were described in 2016 as $39.98/kW AC and $0.0187 per kWh AC, & in 2017 as the equivalent $537.53/kW and $0.2519/kWh.  I don’t understand what the base rates represent.

In 2017 the incentive calculator was described as using the industry standard PVWatts to estimate production, with some further adjustments which were not described in detail but the general idea was communicated by showing charts of solar PV output compared to electricity demand, and is apparently based at least somewhat on the State Technical Resource Manual (link given below).

Using the 2020 online calculator estimates, as mentioned earlier, for a 10 kW system in Duncanville (south facing, fixed roof mount on 9/12 pitch roof = 36.9 degrees tilt, standard class module) the incentive comes out to about $0.560/Wdc, with kW Savings 4.3, and kWh Savings 15,538.4 (I don’t understand the Savings numbers). Total incentive is $5,600.

Changing the azimuth to 210 (south is 180, west is 270): the incentive comes out to about $0.612/Wdc, with kW Savings 5.5, and kWh Savings 15,249.8.

Changing in addition the roof pitch to 6/12 = 26.6 degrees tilt: the incentive comes out to about $0.613/Wdc, with kW Savings 5.5, and kWh Savings 15,314.0.

Changing in addition the module type to Premium: the incentive comes out to about $0.623/Wdc, with kW Savings 5.5, and kWh Savings 15,760.0.

The 2020 residential example in the 2020 kickoff presentation, for comparison, shows 4.5 kW with 15,466 kWh incentive = $5,677, which seems to line up somewhat with my initial estimate, although it doesn’t explain what the kW and kWh numbers represent or what the system details are.

3) Service Providers: 2020 applications can be submitted Jan 23 – April 17. Approved service providers are listed through the Take A Load Off Texas website:

https://www.takealoadofftexas.com 

4) More References:

The Solar Photovoltaic Program Manual and Incentive Calculator are available on both residential and commercial program resources pages, currently:

https://eepm.oncor.com/Documents/SVSOP%20Program%20Manual.pdf

https://www.oncoreepm.com/SolarPVKWKWHCalculater.aspx 

The State Technical Resource Manual links to the Evaluation, Measurement, & Verification (EM&V) contractor website. The current version is v7.0 2020, and the solar savings value information is in Volume 4 section 2.3:

http://www.texasefficiency.com/index.php/emv 

PVWatts: http://pvwatts.nrel.gov/


James Orenstein