SEIA and other solar advocates have big plans to push favorable solar policy in 2020 as they aim to grow solar + storage on a larger scale.
“The Solar+ Decade is going to be a time of radical market transformation, and we’ll need supportive state policies if we want solar to reach 20% of U.S. electricity generation by 2030,” said Sean Gallagher, VP of state affairs at SEIA. “To be successful, we’ll need to closely monitor state policy activity across the country, including California, Illinois, Virginia, New York and New Jersey to ensure that these local solar markets continue to thrive. SEIA looks forward to continuing its state advocacy efforts and bringing even more affordable clean energy to all Americans.”
Here are some additional 2020 policy priorities:
SEIA is sponsoring the “Path to 100 Act,” a bill that increases Illinois’s renewable portfolio standards and provides the funding to support this goal. The act supports new development of residential, commercial and community solar through the existing Adjustable Block Program and utility-scale solar and wind procurement, according to Gallagher.
Gallagher said SEIA is working with a coalition of solar and renewable advocates to advance clean energy legislation that supports both utility-scale and distributed generation solar and storage in Virginia, consistent with the executive order that Governor Ralph Northam issued in September 2019.
NYSERDA submitted a petition requesting authority to fund NY-Sun, the state’s solar incentive program, through 2025. If approved, this investment will help New York reach the 6,000-MW goal set by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. SEIA will voice support for this expansion, Gallagher said.
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities will finalize a transition program for its rooftop solar incentive program. The Transition Renewable Energy Certificates (TREC) program will provide certainty to the New Jersey market at a reduced cost to customers while the state develops its SREC successor program, according to Gallagher.
The Texas solar industry is poised for significant growth with gigawatts of new installations expected in 2020, according to Charlie Hemmeline, executive director of the Texas Solar Power Association.
The group’s primary policy objective this year is to “do no harm” — with the Texas legislature out of session until 2021, the industry will participate in interim hearings and regulatory proceedings to ensure that Texas remains a robust market for continued solar investment, Hemmeline said.
The impressive growth of the utility-scale solar market in North Carolina has stalled recently, dropping the state from second behind California in number of megawatts of solar interconnected to further down the list. The NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) plans to look into the cause in 2020.
“We want to look at some of the programs that we have in place and see if we can regain our No. 2 standing,” said Peter Ledford, general counsel for NCSEA.
NCSEA also plans to address a major roadblock to more rooftop solar procurement in the state in the coming year — HOA restrictions.
“We think there are some reforms that are necessary to the current paradigm that we have that lets them effectively prohibit rooftop solar,” Ledford said.
Ledford also said Duke Energy’s solar rebate program fills far too quickly, so the megawatt cap should be increased.
“The dollar-per-watt rebate could be lowered but the megawatts expanded, keeping the overall cost the same for the rebate program,” he said.
2020 promises to be a busy year across the country in solar policy. Read more about solar policy goals from high-ranking solar states in this story.