A guide to recent legislation and research throughout the country.
Default TOU rate plan could lead to more solar-plus-storage in California
Most customers in Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric territory will soon be automatically enrolled in time-of-use rate plans, according to the Los Angeles Times. The new program will charge residents more for electricity in the evening and summer and less in the afternoon and winter. The solar-plus-storage industry could benefit from customers looking to store and deploy energy to avoid on-peak charges.
New South Carolina bill would eliminate many solar barriers
Columbia, South Carolina
A bipartisan bill in South Carolina, SB332, would remove barriers and encourage solar deployment in all segments, from residential to utility-scale. The bill would streamline large-scale solar processes, remove arbitrary caps on home solar projects, establish a neighborhood community solar program to expand access to low-income customers and more. SEIA is urging the legislature to pass the bill.
New governor of Maine shows commitment to state solar progress
The new Democratic governor of Maine pledged to install solar panels on the governor’s mansion in a show of support for renewable energy in the state, according to AP. Governor Janet Mills and her administration issued a request for proposals for a system that would supply 50% of the mansion’s needs.
Governor Cuomo doubles New York solar goal
Albany, New York
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York would double the NY Sun solar goal to 6 GW by 2025, extend the state’s incentive program and launch a new round of large-scale solar awards. “Together, these groundbreaking investments in solar energy will create thousands of jobs, generate billions of dollars in investment and bring clean and affordable energy to the residents of New York state,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA.
Illinois’s Future Energy Jobs Act spurs solar development
The Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) passed in Illinois in 2016 included a goal to reach 1,300 MW of solar by 2020. A number of large-scale solar farm proposals are now in the works, according to Illinois Public Media. From smaller community solar farms to large projects like BayWa r.e.’s 150-MW proposed array in Champaign County, FEJA has created a jumping off point for the state to add many more megawatts to its current 100 MW of solar deployment.
New Mexico may be next state to allow community solar
Sante Fe, New Mexico
The Community Solar Act introduced in New Mexico in January would allow community solar development in the state. If passed, New Mexico would become the 21st state (including the District of Columbia) to enable the innovative solar subscription programs that give PV-access to those who may not have a suitable rooftop for a personal installation.
New temporary rule restricts solar projects on high-value Oregon farmland
After much heated debate between pro- and anti-solar proponents, the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission ruled to restrict solar arrays on areas classified as “high-value” state farmland, according to the Salem Statesman Journal. However, the commission left open the option for counties to allow solar deployment on high-value farmland if a solar developer can determine a dual use, like beekeeping. The new rules expire in 2022, but the commission will revisit them at a March meeting and could decide to make the rules permanent or more restrictive.
Arizona moves to “super-fast-track” solar-plus-storage interconnection
New draft rules set by the Arizona Corporation Commission will set a statewide standard for interconnecting solar-plus-storage projects to the grid, according to the Arizona Daily Star. The rules provide a “super-fast-track” process for approval for systems that are 20 kW and under while also including measures to make sure DERs don’t negatively affect reliability or safety. Before this standard, interconnection requirements differed among all Arizona utilities, costing installers and homeowners time and money. The rules could be adopted by the commission as soon as April.