On June 30th, the Delaware House of Representatives voted to pass an amendment to Senate Bill No. 119. The bill would strengthen the RPS requirement and increase penalties for non-compliance. Taken together, these measures will improve the growth prospects for the solar industry.
The legislation ramps up the amount of renewable energy required in Delaware from 20% in 2019 to 25% by 2025. The proposition also raises standards for solar energy, from 2.005% in 2019 to 3.5% by 2025. Short-term solar energy prospects in Delaware are addressed by increases in annual targets for solar that move to .2% by 2011 (previously .048%) and .354% by 2014 (.8%). The new targets ensure immediate incentives for the development of solar energy and will be seen as welcome news for regional installers and developers as well as Delaware homeowners interested in financing their solar energy systems.
The legislation has different effects on electricity suppliers in Delaware. The fine administered to utilities for non-compliance, known as the ACP, is raised to $400 per MWH (it was previously set at $250). As previously legislated under SB-119, a $50 increase in the ACP will be administered annually to non-compliant utilities.
A new provision in the amendment grants the State Energy Coordinator the authority to adjust the ACP by 20% “to determine reasonableness compared to market-based SREC prices.” Another new provision allows the solar requirement to be frozen if the total cost of compliance exceeds 1% of the retail cost of electricity. These amendments exhibit Delaware’s intent to provide more robust compliance incentives while also safeguarding against unreasonable increases in the cost of electricity.
The amendment to SB-119 is currently awaiting final approval from Governor Jack Markell who is expected to sign the bill this week. The amendment follows similar legislative changes in neighboring Maryland, which has recently expanded its renewable energy targets. Delaware’s proposed bolstering of the RPS is further evidence for the success of RPS programs implemented in several states across the mid-Atlantic region.