Solar rebate funds running low



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Posted on March 23, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 23 at 2:14 PM

Austin's solar rebate program is running low on funds. Austin Energy officials say they can no longer guarantee money back to all applicants.

The rebate program is popular in Austin. Applications are coming in so fast that Austin Energy says all of the funding set aside specifically for the solar rebates have already been accounted for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

“The demand for solar in this community is just exploding,” said Karl Rábago, Austin Energy.

In 2008 there were 185 solar rebate applications. In 2009, the number more than doubled to 400. The City of Austin allocated $1 million for the program for the 2009-2010 year. Already, Austin Energy has received 94 applications.

“Those applications have spoken for all the money available this fiscal year,” said Rábago.

However, Rábago says applications will still be accepted.

“We’re going to continue to accept applications in case we find more money or in case somebody falls out of the line, but we're notifying customers that applications received after this date may not be funded with this year's budget,” said Rábago.

Last fall the city saw the rebate funds run low. Applications were placed on pause and Austin Energy decreased the rebate rate. Instead of paying back $3.75 per watt, Austin Energy now pays $2.50 cents per watt.

Officials say it is possible the rate will drop again in an effort to provide rebates to more applicants, but no official decision is expected until the budget meetings for 2010-2011 fiscal year.