Renewable Energy Technology Incentives in Oklahoma
Despite a reliance on fossil fuels such as oil and gas, Oklahoma is one of the leading installers of wind turbines in the US, getting about 17% of its electricity from this source. The state does not have a Renewable Portfolio Standard but has a goal of reaching 15% of its electricity via green technologies by 2015 and continues to focus on alternative technologies to fossil fuels.
The state has several large scale wind farms including Blue Canyon with a capacity of 324 MW and production has increased dramatically in the last decade or so. Oklahoma has 3,134 MW of total capacity for wind power and is currently ranked 4th in the US. Not only that, the local government is also invested heavily in providing a wind turbine manufacturing industry that can serve surrounding states and the rest of the country.
Solar has been steadily increasing in the state but nowhere near as strongly as wind power. There are just over 20 companies providing installations, employing no more than 300 workers and much effort and more incentives are required to push the industry forward. With only 1.5 MW of total capacity currently installed, Oklahoma lags way behind other states who have taken a more forward thinking approach.
The state does have a number of hydroelectric plants including the Pensacola Dam and there is the opportunity to invest in small hydro for farms and other agricultural concerns. As with many other regions of the USA, Oklahoma has the potential also to develop a thriving biomass industry.
Solar PV Incentives in Oklahoma
Installations of both residential and corporate solar PV benefit from the Federal Tax Rebate that reduces the cost of panels by 30%. There are various low cost loans available for municipal, corporate and residential projects and tax advantages such as the Zero-Emission Facilities Production Tax Credit certainly help. With net metering in place and the chance of making a decent return on investment it is strange that the industry has not progressed more in recent times.
Solar PV Case Study in Oklahoma
Solar is a cash purchase state when it comes to installing solar which means that you either have to take out a loan or have the money available in savings. Having said that the return on investment is favorable compared to a number of other states in the US. Cost of a 5 kW installation is around $20,000 but you get the 30% Federal Tax Rebate with that and you should see payback within 14 years. That will give you a profit over the 25 years of your array’s lifetime in the region of $15,000 and will also increase the value of your home for sale by a similar amount.
Solar Thermal Incentives in Oklahoma
Solar thermal is supported through the Federal Tax Rebate and there are a number of state wide low cost loan incentives particularly for schools to convert to this water heating technology including the Higher Education Energy Loan Program. Businesses can benefit from tax exemptions as well.
Small Hydro Incentives in Oklahoma
With a number of hydroelectric plants contributing to the renewable energy mix in a small way, there is beyond this scope for improving small hydro for farming and remote communities. Most of the support for this kind of technology comes purely from legislative changes such as net metering though there are federal REAP grants for agricultural projects.
Geothermal Incentives in Oklahoma
As in other states, geothermal can bring real benefits in Oklahoma especially for residential and commercial premises that have the building structure and the exterior space for a ground source heat pump network. A number of the utility companies provide some form of rebate program including the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority WISE Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program.
Biomass Incentives in Oklahoma
Biomass has good possibilities in the state though legislation has stalled in recent years. For residential and commercial properties, switching to a wood pellet boiler could bring significant savings and is seen as a renewable technology. There are federal tax credits for commercial outfits and schools can benefit from low cost state wide loans
Wind Power Incentives in Oklahoma
Wind power is by far the most popular source of renewable energy in the state of Oklahoma and installations benefit from the Federal Tax Rebate of 30%. While most of the energy has gone into building large wind farms, small wind turbines suitable for agricultural properties can not only supply added income to farmers but also contribute to the state energy production, despite the initial high starting cost. Commercial and state owned organizations can also benefit from the Zero-Emission Facilities Production Tax Credit.
Like many of the south eastern states in the US, there is still much work to do when it comes to swapping harmful fossil fuels for renewable technologies. While wind continues to thrive, solar is moving slowly despite a good rate of return on investment for both residential and corporate customers in the state. Further development could come from biomass and hydroelectric in the future to add to the mix.
You can find out more about renewable technology incentives for Oklahoma on the DSIRE website.