All V.I. Energy Office funds for rebates under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 have been exhausted; the Sun Power Loan program, State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program, and Renewable Energy rebate program are all at zero, the Energy Office announced Wednesday.
The funds were awarded to the Energy Office, a division of the Office of the Governor, in the spring of 2009 with the condition that funds in one program be expended by February 2012 and in the other programs no later than April 2012.
“The programs were very successful. The funds went where they were supposed to go, when they were supposed to go," Energy Office Director Karl Knight said in a statement Wednesday.
By the end of January 2012, when all applications on-hand are processed, the Energy Office will have provided financial incentives to more than 4,000 residents, or nearly four percent of the territorial population.
The incentives amounted to $7.5 million, which was infused into the local economy. This represents 36 percent of the $20.8 million awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy under ARRA for financial incentive programs whose target audience was individual residents and small business owners. Other programs that don’t include direct rebates are still being administered by the Energy Office.
The Energy Office rebated 50 percent of the cost of photovoltaic system components, limited at $13,300, to 112 residents between October 2009 and October 2010. In that time period, 10 residents received rebates for wind turbines.
From October 2010 to March of this year, 72 residents received rebates for solar system components and nine for wind turbines. The Energy Office estimates that about 200 more residents received renewable energy rebates the last half of this year, but the office does not have an exact count as yet.
“We don’t see any funds available for renewable energy rebates on the horizon, but if any do become available, we will pursue them,” Knight said.
The Sun Power Loan program gave residents the opportunity to get solar water heaters with no money down. The Energy Office disbursed over $4 million in this program. Roughly 878 homes and small businesses can now produce their own hot water without paying the Water and Power Authority to burn oil to produce the heat, according to the Energy Office.
This is the end of the first phase of what the Energy Office hopes will be a longstanding program. The loan funds have been deposited in a revolving fund, so as loans are repaid by the previous clients, that money will be pooled to make new loans.
The Energy Office plans to resume the loan program sometime early next year along with any changes to the terms and conditions of the program. In the meantime, customers who purchase systems outright can still qualify for a 30 percent federal tax credit when they file, according to the Energy Office.