A guide to recent legislation and research throughout the country.
New Illinois laws ensure solar benefits farmers
The Illinois solar industry collaborated with the state’s farm bureau, local authorities and others to help shape the two new laws that set standards for tax assessment value and construction of solar farms on agricultural land. The goal of the legislation was to ensure farmers and rural communities can reap the benefits of solar power.
Former coal lobbyist now in charge of EPA
Andrew Wheeler took over as administrator of the EPA after Scott Pruitt stepped down from his post in July, citing “unrelenting attacks” on him and his family. Wheeler is a former lobbyist for one of the nation’s largest coal companies, Murray Energy.
Bipartisan U.S. representatives want more government renewables
Two representatives in Congress introduced legislation that would allow the General Services Administration, the independent agency that supports basic functions of the federal government, to enter into 30-year renewable energy PPAs. Currently, only the U.S. military can enter into PPAs for longer than 10 years.
Pennsylvania wants to get in on community solar
Members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives issued a co-sponsored bi-partisan memorandum to introduce community solar legislation “in the near future.” The future bill would remove policy barriers and allow Pennsylvanians to participate in community solar if they so choose.
Massachusetts law rejects extra solar fees
A long-debated omnibus energy bill in Massachusetts was finally signed by the governor in August. The six-part “An Act to Advance Clean Energy” eliminates the utility Eversource’s plan to impose fees on consumers who go solar. The bill also raises the state’s renewable energy goal, but many solar supporters were disappointed the final version did not also raise the state’s net metering caps.
Workshop helps Navajo Nation members develop more solar
Nenanhezad, New Mexico
Experts from Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University held a Utility-Scale Renewable Energy Workshop for Navajo Nation members, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Authority, in July. The goal of the workshop was to help the Nation sell electricity to markets trying to grow their renewable portfolios.
Duke Energy solar rebates quickly run dry
Columbia, South Carolina
Solar is in high demand in South Carolina, but some residents may have to wait for theirs until next year. Duke Energy reached its $9 million rebate cap just two weeks after it started taking rebate applications. The rebate program continues for the next four years.
New Jersey bringing community solar to underserved populations
Trenton, New Jersey
A new community solar program in New Jersey aims to bring the option to low and moderate income populations that have been previously left out of the benefits of going solar. The Board of Public Utility is required to adopt a regulatory framework for the new community solar program by early 2019.
Maryland launches community solar pilot program
The Maryland General Assembly authorized around 200 MW of community solar projects for the state over three years. However, a critical mass must commit to buying solar from six potential projects in order for the installations to begin. State rules require the customer pool to include low- and moderate-income residents.
Chinese inverter tariffs coming
Trump asked U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to impose tariffs of first 10%, but now 25% on a new round of Chinese imports that includes inverters. Lighthizer’s office should make a final determination on whether to impose the new tariffs sometime this month.