Solar Rebate Amounts to Increase Jan. 1, 2021

New Incentive Category Established for Diverse Businesses

Delmarva Power customers who are considering a switch to solar power will have more reason to do so when the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Green Energy Fund increases rebate amounts Jan. 1, 2021.

In addition, commercial businesses that have received Diverse Business Certification through the state Office of Supplier Diversity (OSD) will qualify for special rebate rates. OSD defines a diverse business as one where 51% or more of the ownership and control of daily operations is made up of minorities, women, veterans, service disabled veterans or individuals with disabilities. Businesses that qualify for the incentive can receive grants of $0.75/watt, up to a maximum of $35,000.

Grants are available for qualifying renewable energy systems installed in Delaware by applicants whose electricity provider collects funds for the program and offers a grant program for renewable energy projects. Each electric utility company offering rebates through the Green Energy Program has unique program regulations, requirements, and application forms. The Green Energy Program has provided grant funding to more than 4,300 Delaware renewable energy projects since 1999.

“The Green Energy Fund helps Delawareans save on energy costs and, at the same time, helps reduce the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that are driving the climate change we are experiencing today,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin.

Rates for other Green Energy Fund programs will also increase January 1, including:

  • Residential solar installation grants increase from $0.60/watt to $0.70/watt and the maximum grant increases from $5,000 to $6,000.
  • Commercial solar installation grants increase from $0.60/watt to $0.70/watt and the maximum grant increases from $25,000 to $30,000.
  • Non-profit solar installations will see a change in the grant structure, the incentive set at $1.40/watt and the maximum grant increasing from $41,250 to $50,000.

Since its inception in 1999, the Green Energy Fund has supported the installation of more than 4,700 solar energy systems.

Information on the Green Energy Fund can be found at de.gov/greenenergy.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy uses science, education, policy development and incentives to address Delaware’s climate, energy and coastal challenges. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Jim Lee, jamesw.lee@delaware.gov

###


DNREC Analysis of Brandywine River Dam Sediments Reveals Encouraging Results

Scientists from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control published research today related to sediment quality behind eight dams in the Brandywine River, which finds there would be low risk of harm to fish or human health from toxic compounds if the sediments were released due to dam modification, removal or failure.

Conducted by DNREC’s Watershed Approach to Toxics Assessment and Restoration (WATAR) team, results of the study indicate that the volume of sediment trapped behind the dams is less than originally predicted, which translates to an overall lack of legacy toxic contaminant buildup. The report compares concentrations of contaminants in accumulated sediment across the eight dams investigated, and describes techniques used to evaluate potential impacts from the contaminants to aquatic life and human health. The overall findings are encouraging, as an increase in risk of adverse effects from the release of trapped sediments is not predicted.

A release of trapped sediments is likely to occur during dam modification/removal, or from catastrophic failure of any of the aged dams during a major storm/high flow event. Understanding potential impacts from the release of these sediments will allow DNREC to effectively influence proposed construction projects in the river to provide regulatory protection to downstream drinking water sources, and to fish health and aquatic habitat.

Brandywine Shad 2020 (BS2020) is a nonprofit led by the Brandywine Conservancy, the Hagley Museum and Library, and the University of Delaware. The nonprofit initiated the sediment study to inform their mission to remove or modify the dams in the Delaware portion of the Brandywine River to promote passage of American Shad and other fish species to “pre-dam” historic spawning grounds.

The Brandywine River surface water, sediment and aquatic species have been impacted by legacy contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins and furans, and chlorinated pesticides. This condition is evidenced by the existence of fish consumption advisories in both the non-tidal and tidal portions of the river. However, recent improvements have been documented, and future improvements are anticipated.

The report noted that opportunities exist to improve the overall water/sediment quality of the Brandywine River system in the future. Data collected in this study show that there are areas of greater relative concentrations of toxic compounds than others. And although increased risk of toxicity due to sediment release may not be predicted, evaluation should be conducted at the time of specific project planning/implementation to determine if a benefit to the ecosystem as a whole could be accomplished as a result of sediment removal or sediment management activities.

“The results of this evaluation provide peace of mind that the City of Wilmington’s drinking water, as well as the aquatic life in the river, should not be negatively affected by any release of contaminants associated with sediments behind the dams.” said John Cargill, hydrologist for DNREC. “Beyond this study, DNREC will continue to monitor the quality of the surface water and the fish in the Brandywine River, along with other water bodies throughout the state.

WATAR is a cooperative approach/project team that draws on the expertise of staff primarily within, but not limited to, the DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship and the Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances. WATAR creates a framework for assessing potential toxic impacts and then implementing remediation and restoration projects in Delaware watersheds that are affected by toxic pollutants.

DNREC-WATARs partnership with BS2020 resulted in a total state cost of $51,000 for chemical analysis of sediment samples. Analytical services were supported by Hazardous Substance Cleanup Act (HSCA) funds. BS2020 funded the sediment sample collection activities. Visit the program web page at de.gov/WATAR to review/download the report and for additional supporting information.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Watershed Stewardship develops and implements innovative watershed assessment, monitoring and implementation activities. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

###


Delaware Taps Fund to Replace Diesel-Guzzling School Buses

The Warehouse in Wilmington Upgrades to an Electric Bus

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has awarded $177,674 to The Warehouse, a teen-led co-working space and after-school center in Wilmington, to replace its diesel bus with an all-electric, zero emissions vehicle and purchase charging equipment.

The award is the latest investment of the Environmental Mitigation Trust that resulted from state’s plan to use $9.6 million from the negotiated settlement between Volkswagen and the federal government.

“Exhaust from vehicles is a major source of air pollution, and big diesel vehicles like buses are particularly big contributors,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “Replacing school buses helps us all breathe better, including children gathering near idling buses during school arrival or dismissal in non-COVID times. At the same time, programs like the one at The Warehouse will help students learn more about the technology driving the school buses and inspire future clean energy leaders in Delaware.”

The electric bus supports the nonprofit’s “Energize the Warehouse” initiative to provide local teens with hands-on opportunities to learn about clean energy, electric transportation, and sustainable farming and agriculture.

“The Energize the Warehouse initiative has been a success due to the collaborative efforts of many community partnerships and, through these efforts, The Warehouse will become a place where young people can learn about clean energy and electric transportation,” said CEO Logan Herring. “The V2G bus also serves to decrease transportation barriers for the teens we serve, which is a critical component for greater equity and increased access to opportunities.”

The new electric bus can connect back to the grid to achieve enhanced energy savings and energy conservation. The bus is expected to be delivered in early 2021.

The Delaware Department of Education has also leveraged the Environmental Mitigation Trust to replace 81 state-owned diesel school buses with new, cleaner- fueled school buses that operate on clean diesel or propane.

“Since 2016, districts have added 81 clean school buses throughout the state with another 34 that could potentially be added next academic year,” said DOE Secretary Susan Bunting. “While it’s still a small portion of Delaware’s total school bus fleet, we’re pleased to make this progress and to see initiatives such as this one expand.”

The plan for the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust is focused on actions that can produce the greatest air quality benefit in terms of nitrogen oxides emission reductions, reduce public exposure, and promote clean vehicle technologies. As funding opportunities are finalized and awarded, details on recipients, funding amounts, and project types will be listed on https://de.gov/vwmitigation.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Air Quality monitors and regulates all emissions to the air. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

###


DNREC to Temporarily Close Delaware State Parks Nature Centers Starting Dec. 14

The Baldcypress Nature Center at Trap Pond State Park

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today that it will close all nature centers within Delaware State Parks starting Monday, Dec. 14 through Jan. 11, 2021, to limit the spread of COVID-19.

No in-person programming will be held at Delaware State Parks while the nature centers are closed in order to eliminate gatherings of people from different households. Delaware State Parks will instead offer independent, online programming, such self-guided hikes, online activities and videos while nature centers are closed. The virtual programs will be posted on Delaware State Parks’ Facebook, Instagram and YouTube accounts, and at the Delaware State Parks Adventure Blog and www.destateparks.com/virtualparks.

The closures coincide with Gov. John Carney’s latest stay-at-home advisory, which was issued to “interrupt the dangerous winter surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Delaware.” The advisory strongly urges Delawareans to avoid gathering indoors with anyone from outside their households during the advisory timeframe.

For more information about Delaware State Parks, visit www.destateparks.com.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Parks and Recreation oversees more than 26,000 acres in 17 state parks and the Brandywine Zoo. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media contact: Shauna McVey shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov or Michael Globetti michael.globetti@delaware.gov

###


Delaware State Parks Annual Passes, Surf-Fishing Permits on Sale Dec. 16

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today that the sale of 2021 Delaware State Parks Annual Passes and Surf-Fishing Permits will begin Wednesday, Dec. 16. This year, the DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation instituted several upgrades that will allow for more efficient fulfillment of passes and permits.

Annual Passes

Annual Passes purchased at state park offices will now be printed on site. Those who purchase Annual Passes online will now receive a temporary 30-day printable receipt to place in their vehicle’s windshield for entry into state parks while waiting for their pass to arrive in the mail.

Annual Passes are a convenient way to access the parks for the entire fee season from March 1 to Nov. 30. A Delaware resident annual pass costs $35, and Delaware residents 62 and older will receive a discounted rate of $18. A $65 lifetime pass is available for Delawareans 65 and older. Reduced rates are also offered to Delawareans who receive public assistance, or who are active duty military or veterans. Active duty military personnel with an out-of-state license plate can purchase an annual pass at the in-state rate.

Surf-Fishing Permits

Starting for 2021, Surf-Fishing Permit decals will now be printed with the license plate number of the permit holder’s vehicle. This change will allow for more efficient enforcement of surf-fishing regulations, including surf-fishing “checks” conducted by Natural Resource Police.

The purchase of a surf-fishing permit allows individuals to drive onto the beach for fishing. First-time permit-holders must also obtain a Surf-Fishing plate on which to affix their Surf-Fishing Permit decal. In addition to entry onto Delaware State Parks drive-on beaches, the decal enables the vehicle to gain entrance into the other state parks without paying the daily entrance fee.

Surf-Fishing Permits are sold on a first-come, first-served basis and are capped at 17,000 annually to manage a limited resource, protect against overcrowding of parks beaches, and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors to Delaware’s award-winning state parks system. The Surf-Fishing Permit fee for Delaware residents is $90, while out-of-state residents is $180. Delaware residents 62 and older will receive a discounted rate of $80.

Corporate and Group Pass Program

In addition, the Division offers a corporate and group pass program to businesses, nonprofits and other groups for discounted Annual Passes for their employees.

Revenue generated from park entrance fees is used to manage 17 state parks, more than 26,000 acres of state park lands and the Brandywine Zoo. Delaware’s state parks are primarily self-funded, with 65% of revenue to operate and maintain the parks generated by park users. The revenue is used for trail maintenance, environmental and recreational programs, visitor amenities, guarded beaches, management of campgrounds, cabins and more.

For more information or to purchase an Annual Pass or Surf-Fishing Permit starting Dec. 16, visit a state park office or www.destateparks.com/Know/PassesTagsFees.

 

About DNREC

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities, and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Parks and Recreation oversees more than 26,000 acres in 17 state parks and the Brandywine Zoo. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, Michael.globetti@delaware.gov

###