New York creates first-in-nation Office of Renewable Energy Siting
Albany, New York
New York included significant solar legislation as part of its state budget in the midst of COVID-19 to help jumpstart the clean energy industry and fight climate change as part of recovery efforts. The act creates a first-in-the-nation Office of Renewable Energy Siting to streamline siting and construction of clean energy projects.
New Jersey’s SREC program officially closed April 30, 2020
Trenton, New Jersey
New Jersey’s SREC program closed on April 30 after hitting the cap of solar power generating 5.1% of electricity sold in the state. The program will be replaced in two phases; first the already-adopted Transition Incentive Program (TRECs) and then the Successor Program currently under development.
Kansas Supreme Court strikes down extra fees for solar customers
The Kansas Supreme Court ruled utilities can’t charge customers who generate their own power more than customers who don’t. The court called utility demand charges for solar owners “price discrimination,” thus overruling the charges approved by the Kansas Corporation Commission in 2018.
Governor Northam signs Virginia Clean Economy Act
Governor Ralph Northam signed the Virginia Clean Economy Act that sets a goal for a 100% carbon-free state by 2045 and sets in motion other clean energy provisions related to the Green New Deal. Energy companies must now pay penalties for not meeting renewable targets, with part of that revenue funding job training and renewable energy programs in historically disadvantaged communities.
Massachusetts doubles SMART solar program capacity to 1.6 GW
The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) doubled capacity of its SMART solar program to 1.6 GW. Advocacy group Vote Solar said the new figure is still not enough and also called for the state to create specific low-income solar programs. DOER will begin accepting new SMART applications on May 18, 2020.
RENEW Wisconsin becomes official SEIA affiliate
The Midwest gained another SEIA affiliate through RENEW Wisconsin. SEIA’s CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said Wisconsin has the potential to become a regional solar leader as recovery from COVID-19 begins. SEIA now has 18 state affiliates.
Governor Inslee vetoes part of solar recycling bill
Governor Inslee signed Washington state’s groundbreaking solar recycling bill, but vetoed the section that would establish a task force to create a report on recycling methods. In his veto letter, he wrote that the report can be delayed due to the “rapidly changing budget outlook” as a result of COVID-19.
California PUC agrees to factor in avoided transmission costs when valuing solar
In a victory for the solar industry, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) agreed to include avoided transmission costs as part of the Avoided Cost Calculator (ACC) valuation of solar for all three major IOUs in the state. Solar and other distributed resources help lower the peak electricity load, reducing the need for utilities to build new transmission.
California Energy Commission clarifies that solar and energy storage installers are essential workers
The California Energy Commission (CEC) clarified that the statewide COVID-19 orders identifying essential electricity industry workers include solar PV and energy storage installers. The CEC also said it supports local enforcement agencies continuing to permit building construction and energy projects, including PV and battery storage installations.
New England Ratepayers Association attempts to bar states from passing their own net-metering policies
Concord, New Hampshire
A group called the New England Ratepayers Association filed a petition asking FERC to declare that the federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over customer-sited energy generation like rooftop and community solar. If approved, states would not be able to pass net-metering policies. The Center for Biological Diversity has intervened in the case and also filed a FOIA request seeking FERC’s communications with the group.