Massachusetts may follow California’s lead for solar on new homes
Two bills in the Massachusetts legislature could set the state on a similar path as California by mandating solar on all new homes and commercial buildings, with some exceptions. One bill addresses the private sector while the other addresses state-owned buildings, requiring the government to add solar to new construction or renovations above $25,000. Both bills were in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means at the time of printing.
Philadelphians now get solar rebates
The City of Philadelphia has set aside up to $500,000 for solar rebates for commercial and residential property owners, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Rebates will be 20 cents per watt for residential customers, 10 cents per watt for commercial customers. The money will be available starting next year to those who installed systems after July 1, 2019.
Maryland executive order aims to assist solar siting
Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan (R) issued an executive order to form a task force on renewable energy development and siting to help meet its ambitious clean energy goals, according to The Washington Post. The task force will include various government officials from planning, agriculture and other departments along with representatives from the wind and solar industries. The group has one year to establish recommendations.
SEIA steps in to clear Michigan’s PURPA queue
SEIA and other solar stakeholders filed a settlement agreement with the Michigan PSC to clear a backlog of solar projects awaiting PURPA approval. Under the settlement, around 600 MW of solar projects would be able to move forward in the state. SEIA is urging the Michigan PSC to accept the agreement and “restore competition in the Michigan energy market.”
California sees huge demand for Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing program
California’s new Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) program was almost fully subscribed within the first day of accepting applications. The program provides property owners with financial incentives for installing solar systems on low-income and disadvantaged housing. The program director said applications received thus far are exactly what the group envisioned to accomplish the goal of converting the energy consumption of a significant number of low-income tenants to solar power.
HUD memorandum allows affordable housing residents to realize solar benefits
A new memorandum by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) could pave the way for more affordable housing solar installations. In the past, federal housing law required that residents pay 30% of their monthly income into rent and estimated utility expenses to qualify for HUD housing, according to the Clean Energy Group. When solar power reduced a resident’s utility expenses, HUD required their rent to increase, negating the cost savings of solar. The new memorandum, specific to California’s SOMAH program, says that solar credits should not be factored into customers’ utility expenses since property owners — not residents — are participating in the program. Other affordable housing programs will have to petition HUD to receive this same exception.
Alabama solar trade org becomes SEIA affiliate
The Alabama Solar Industry Association has officially become a SEIA state affiliate. SEIA’s president Abigail Ross Hopper said this move is part of her mission to open up new markets for member companies. Alabama currently ranks 26th in the nation for solar deployment. This partnership aims to boost the state’s standing through advocacy, education and industry support.
Sunrun partners with grassroots Chicago org on underserved solar and jobs
Chicago’s South Side
National residential solar installer Sunrun has partnered with an environmental economic development organization called Blacks in Green (BIG) to expand access to solar power and green jobs for underserved South Side Chicago residents. As part of the partnership, Sunrun has committed to recruiting solar trainees from the BIG network to help them learn more about sales and installation job opportunities within the company.