Honnold Foundation, Sunrun launch solar grant fund for environmental justice communities
The Honnold Foundation, a solar energy access nonprofit founded by rock climber Alex Honnold, partnered with Sunrun to launch a new grant program. The Community Fund will focus on environmental justice by funding solar projects for nonprofits with Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) leadership in the most polluted regions in the United States.
New poll shows bipartisan support for Pennsylvania community solar bill
A poll conducted on behalf of the PA Community Solar Economic Alliance found nearly 80% of Pennsylvania voters believe legislators should pass a bill allowing them to subscribe to a community solar project. Bills working their way through the state’s House and Senate would change utility regulations to allow community solar projects in the state for the first time.
New York Office of Renewable Energy Permitting proposes new rules to streamline large-scale solar permitting
Albany, New York
New York’s newly formed Office of Renewable Energy Permitting has proposed draft rules for streamlining permitting for solar and wind projects larger than 25 MW. The Alliance for Clean Energy New York applauded the plans, saying facilities could be designed to meet these standards from the beginning when the rules and operating conditions are established in advance.
Duke Energy works out net-metering agreement for South Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
Duke Energy collaborated with solar installers and renewable energy advocates to bring stability to residential solar incentives in South Carolina. The agreed-upon next generation of net-metering, if approved by regulators, would include retail rates for residents of both North and South Carolina that vary based on the time of day and when utilities experience peak demand.
Duke Energy also agrees to clear solar interconnection queue and reform the process
Duke Energy and major solar developers in North and South Carolina reached an agreement to clear the interconnection queues and reform the process so more solar can be added to the grid in a timely manner. Instead of analyzing each interconnection request one by one, Duke Energy plans to begin studying the requests in clusters.
South Carolina legislature creates committee to study electricity market reform
Columbia, South Carolina
South Carolina’s Gov. Henry McMaster signed into law a recommendation by SEIA to create a committee for electricity market reform in the state. The committee will study different electricity market reform options and report on how they might lower emissions and benefit ratepayers. North Carolina is set to consider similar legislation next year.
Hawaiian Electric proposes enough new solar + storage to end use of coal in the state
Hawaiian Electric submitted contracts for a record-breaking amount of utility-scale solar and storage on the islands of Oahu and Maui. If approved, the procurement could lower electric bills on average by about $1 a month on the islands and provide enough energy to retire the state’s only coal plant as well as an oil-fired plant.
Net metering in Florida is safe for now
The Florida Public Service Commission held a workshop to discuss the future of solar net metering in the state and received over 16,000 emails asking not to change the current program, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Commissioners said if the rules do change in the future, current net-metering customers would likely be able to retain their benefits.
SEIA challenges FERC changes to PURPA rules that could harm solar development
SEIA filed a petition for review of FERC Order No. 872 with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, saying it unlawfully discourages the development of qualifying facilities (QF) under PURPA. The group says the new FERC order would create several new provisions that thwart independent solar development while protecting the interests of utilities.
Gov. Whitmer sets goal for Michigan to become carbon neutral by 2050
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently signed an Executive Order and Executive Directive establishing a comprehensive climate plan for Michigan. One of her highest priorities is developing new clean energy jobs by putting Michigan on a path toward becoming fully carbon-neutral by 2050.
House of Representatives passes Clean Energy Jobs and Innovation Act
The House of Representatives passed a landmark bill that would set a goal for the country to reach net-zero pollution by 2050 and incorporate environmental justice into every agency of the federal government. The bill would also increase R&D investments in energy storage and other new renewable technologies. It now moves to the Republican-controlled Senate.
CPUC updates California’s interconnection rules to better accommodate renewables onto the grid
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued big changes to the state’s Rule 21 interconnection rules, anchored by the plan to incorporate data on actual grid conditions at requested interconnection locations. IREC says this breakthrough in grid transparency will drive down the need for costly upgrades and lengthy interconnection studies.
Ameren refuses Illinois Commerce Commission’s request to pause net metering changes
A day after the Illinois Commerce Commission urged Ameren to maintain its current net-metering rates for residential solar customers until an audit is completed, the utility sent a notice denying the request. Ameren wrote in the notice that it “cannot undertake what the Commission urges, as to do so would require Ameren Illinois to disregard its tariffs.”
Coalition of solar advocates say Massachusetts pro-utility legislation would drive out independent solar installers
A coalition of solar advocates sent a letter to Massachusetts lawmakers asking them to strike out a legislative provision in the state’s climate policy roadmap that authorizes utilities to construct, operate and own solar projects. The coalition says the law would crush competition in the state and grind the thriving solar market to a halt.
New Jersey doubles community solar project capacity in Year 2 of pilot program
Trenton, New Jersey
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has doubled capacity in Year 2 of its Community Solar Energy Pilot Program, increasing from 78 to 150 MW of projects. Year 2’s plan also includes a 40% carveout for low-to-moderate-income (LMI) customers. Applications are due February 5, 2021.