July solar policy snapshots
California Assembly Law Trying to Change Net Meter Credits Won’t Move Ahead
California lawmakers rejected a bill that would have allowed utilities to charge rooftop solar customers a monthly fee and change the benefits of net meters. The future of rooftop solar policies in the state is still uncertain as the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) continues to consider adjustments to net meters.
CPUC votes for utility-developed solar despite rooftop market opposition
The CPUC voted unanimously to approve major changes to the state’s “Avoided Cost Calculator,” which helps the state determine the value of solar energy. Solar proponents opposed the changes, which they believed were influenced by utility interests.
Pending New Jersey Legislation, New Warehouses Must Be Built Blatantly
Trenton, New Jersey
New Jersey lawmakers have passed a bill requiring that all new warehouses — buildings defined as 100,000 square feet or more and used primarily to store goods for resale — must be ready-built for solar installations. The draft legislation is now on Governor Phil Murphy’s desk.
Virginia solar advocates successfully lobby to open grid metering and PPAs to schools, municipalities in APCO territory
Schools and Places in Virginia on the Territory of Appalachian Power Co. are now allowed to use grid metering and solar financing programs thanks to the work of solar advocates in the state. The former contract between the utilities and local entities effectively blocked all solar projects.
Connecticut Governor Signs Ruling Solar Pay Bill
Connecticut solar developers are now required to pay state-mandated prevailing wage labor rates to all site workers on projects 2 MW and larger. A state solar advocacy group spoke out against the bill, saying it will add costs to commercial solar.
Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition Endorses Governor’s Updated Clean Energy Plan
Clean energy proponents in Illinois support Governor JB Pritzker’s new energy proposal that sets the state on a path to carbon-free energy by 2045. The plan also earmarks more than $80 million to create clean energy jobs in communities of color.
Texas Governor Signs Pro-Solar Bills For Interconnection, Consumer Protection
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed several bills in June that SEIA says will benefit the solar industry by clarifying rules surrounding solar decommissioning and taking steps to protect the solar. – empower consumers.
Environmental America Report Finds Utilities Coordinate Efforts To Stop Rooftop Solar Growth
Environment America released a report detailing how utilities and special interest groups are working together to curb the growth of rooftop solar. The main tactics used by the groups are to limit or eliminate grid metering programs and establish new flat rates for solar owners.
The newly introduced Efficient Grid Interconnection Act aims to share the costs of transmission system upgrades fairly
House Democrats have introduced a bill that would direct the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to allocate interconnection costs to all beneficiaries instead of pinning them to those trying to connect solar projects. Solar proponents hope the bill’s approval would clear clogged interconnection queues.
Consumers Energy plans to save coal in four years
Michigan utility Consumers Energy announced it would end coal use by 2025, 15 years faster than originally planned. If approved, the plan would make the utility one of the first in the nation to go coal-free.
Oregon State Legislature Approves 100% Clean Energy Bill
A bill that would put Oregon on the path to 100% clean energy by 2040 has been passed by both legislative houses and now awaits the signature of Governor Kate Brown. Oregon will have the fastest carbon-free timeline in the country when it becomes law.
Oregon Allocates $10 Million to Solar + Storage Discount Program
Oregon lawmakers have approved an omnibus spending bill that allocates $10 million to the Oregon Department of Energy for solar + storage discounts for residential and low- and middle-income customers. This allocation is five times more money than the program included in 2019.
Maine and Connecticut Set Energy Storage Goals
Augusta, Maine and Hartford, Connecticut
The governors of Maine and Connecticut have both signed legislation to set energy storage targets in June. Maine’s Governor Janet Mills set a goal of: 300 MW energy storage in 2025 and 400 MW by 2030, while the Connecticut government, Ned Lamont, aim for 1 GW of energy storage in 2030.
Non-residential solar projects now have more time to secure ITC with the latest safe harbor extensions
The Treasury Department and the IRS have issued guidelines that extend the safe harbor provisions for non-residential solar projects under Section 48 of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The new directive extends the safe harbor from four to six years for projects that started construction from 2016 to 2019, and from four to five years for projects that started construction in 2020.
South Carolina PSC Rejects Duke Energy Resource Plan After SEIA Testimony
Columbia, South Carolina
The South Carolina Public Service Commission rejected Duke Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and ordered it to be amended in response to input from SEIA and the solar industry. SEIA testified that the plan involved excessive Duke-owned natural gas generation rather than more competitive solar and storage sources.