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Remember those 51 people who were told they wouldn’t be getting the rebates on solar systems they’d been promised? The Council just passed emergency legislation to put that money back into the Renewable Energy Incentive Program, delivering $13,000 per homeowner on average.
The downside of the reprogramming: That $700,000 came not from the general fund, but the Sustainable Energy Trust Fund, which now stands at about $15 million. So although the District will follow through on its commitments to people who went solar, the District will also have less money to spend on things like low income energy assistance, weatherization, and energy efficiency improvements in public buildings.*
Which is just another reason why it’s important to make solar a viable financial proposition on its own, without hefty subsidies.
* CORRECTION, March 17 – A previous version of this post said that the Sustainable Energy Utility would have less money to spend. Rather, the SEU will operate on an $8 million contract in its first year, which will not be depleted by the transfer of funds to the Renewable Energy Incentive Program.