DSIRE – The Database for Incentives for Clean Energy
Aries Clean Energy
April 18, 2017
The folks at DSIRE are making it easier to find incentives and policies that spur clean energy. Rebates, credits, loans, grants and more. All in one place!
The costs of clean energy are beginning to meet the costs of traditional energy, and in many cases, beat them. This scenario is often helped by the various financial incentives in place, e.g. credits, grants, and others.
But in the grand swirl of federal, regional, and state incentives, one can get lost in the information jungle. There is so much data and so many factors that influence a clean energy project’s effectiveness, payback, and more.
Thankfully for clean energy fans and decision makers, lots of people are helping to cut a path through the jungle of information.
The folks at DSIRE are making it easier to find incentives and policies that spur clean energy. Rebates, credits, loans, grants, and more. All in one place!
DSIRE, which stands for Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy, is the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewable energy and energy efficiency in the United States.
Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. On top of their fantastic database, DSIRE has helped provide technical assistance to thousands of homeowners, businesses, solar companies, policy makers, and advocacy groups.
The DSIRE database is easy to use and can help you find programs and incentives in your state.
How to use it?
- From the DSIRE homepage ( http://www.dsireusa.org/ ), simply scroll down to click on a state or use the search bar to type in a zip code to see a complete list of incentives by state.For example, if you click on “Tennessee” the DSIRE database will show you a list of 63 incentives or programs related to renewable energy and energy efficiency in Tennessee. The database lists the name of the incentive, state/territory, whether it is a financial incentive or regulatory policy, the type of incentive (i.e. corporate tax credit, personal tax exemption, grant program, etc.) and when the policy was created and updated.
- By clicking on the name of the incentive, you can see a full overview of the program or incentive.For example, the Middle Tennessee EMC – Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program is a program that gives rebates on window replacements, storm windows, duct work, attic insulation, air sealing, and exterior door replacements. It also lists whom to get in contact with to learn more or take steps toward starting the rebate process.
- Another option is to use the database to find specific lists of programs.For example, if you wanted to find states or programs amenable to municipal solid waste reduction, the database can be filtered by “Municipal Solid Waste.” This filter generates 138 entries. So, if we specifically wanted to see Corporate Tax Credits, then that filter could be applied. Programs that include Corporate Tax Credits and deal with Municipal Solid Waste reveal 5 programs that offer renewable energy production tax credits in 4 states. Another search for Loan Programs related to Municipal Solid Waste generates 9 results.In this way, the DSIRE database is a great place to start your search to find programs that could help you make clean energy more affordable.
- DSIRE also organizes their database through Summary Tables.By clicking on “Programs” then “Summary Tables” in the black menu bar, you can see the Summary Tables search feature. In this way, you can quickly find a list of programs related to green building incentives, tax credits, and more.Inside of the summary tables, you can filter based on technology. For example, a search for Solar Photovoltaics generates a tables that lists Policies and Incentives by Type and below that a table of incentives by State, revealing that 54 incentives or programs, Texas might be a great state for solar. Colorado has 45 programs and incentives.
Detailed Summary Maps
Another great way to use DSIRE is to use their Detailed Summary Maps, which are well-designed maps that organize information for presentations or slideshows. For example, you can see a map each state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards, meaning the percentage of the total energy generation each state is aiming to have generated by renewable energy. In this way, you could determine which states might be most amenable to renewable energy projects. Other detailed maps include Third-Party Solar Purchase Agreements, Net Metering Policies, and Energy Efficiency Standards.
There is no doubt DSIRE has been a catalyst for decision makers to help them find programs to support their clean energy projects. However, while these programs and incentives have helped jump start the clean energy economy, it’s becoming clear that renewable energy is now competing with traditional energy sources.
According to Energy Sage, the average U.S. household can break even on their solar energy system in just 7.5 years, but in many cities that number is even lower – Portland, Seattle, Washington DC, and Boston all have payback periods of four years or less.
These rebates and credits aren’t necessary, but, hey, if they are there, use them!