Click here to read the full November edition of the Sol SOURCE.
The Sol SOURCE is a renewables journal that our team distributes to our network of clients and solar stakeholders. Our newsletter contains trends and observations gained through interviews with our team, incorporating news from a variety of industry resources.
Below, we have included excerpts from the November 2022 edition. To receive future Journals, please subscribe or email SOURCE@solsystems.com.
California – Property tax exclusion extended to 2026 and new load management standards
On September 18, 2022, SB 1340, a bill to extend the property tax exclusion for solar to 2026, was signed by the Governor. California has seen several reversals of long-planned energy policy decisions this year, including efforts to keep its last nuclear plant open while shelving (for now) plans to recalculate net-energy metering (“NEM”). The California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) issued a proposed decision that would delay a NEM 3.0 program to August 27, 2023.
On October 12, 2022, the California Energy Commission (“CEC”) adopted new load management standards to increase demand flexibility across the state. The new standards, which include requiring utilities to develop and offer retail electric rates that “change at least hourly”, will go into effect in April 2023. The changes are expected to reduce peak energy use and save customers $267 million over 15 years.
Connecticut – Non-Residential Renewable Energy Solutions draft decision released
On October 19, 2022, the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (“PURA”) released a draft decision on the Year 2 Non-Residential Renewable Energy Solutions (“NRES”) program (Docket 22-08-03). If adopted, the program’s overall capacity would be expanded from 60 MW to 110 MW and remove size-to-load provisions for commercial rooftop projects. A final decision is expected on November 9, 2022.
District of Columbia – RPS increase legislation introduced
The recently introduced Local Solar Expansion Amendment Act of 2022, which would maintain the Solar Alternative Compliance Payment (“SACP”) at $500/MWh and raise the solar carve-out from 10 percent to 15 percent by 2041, was heard on October 3, 2022. Multiple stakeholders provided testimony, voicing both support and concerns for the Act. Changes to the bill language are expected to address concerns arounds costs and feasibility.
There remains no official word on nominees for the DC Public Service Commission vacancy.
Illinois–Illinois Commerce Commission kicks off the Fall 2022 indexed REC procurement
Block 6 of the Adjustable Block Program (“ABP”) officially opened on September 1, 2022. At the same time, the Illinois Power Authority (“IPA”) circulated an updated program guidebook which can be found here.
The Procurement Administrator published the final indexed REC contract and RFP documents for the Fall 2022 indexed REC procurement. The RFP is for new utility-scale wind and solar projects over 5 MW along with any-size brownfield-site photovoltaic projects.
On the regulatory side, the industry continues to engage in ongoing proceedings related to the DG rebate and net-metering tariffs with Ameren and ComEd.
Maine – New England Clean Energy Connect on hold until next year
The Governor’s Energy Office has reconvened the distributed generation stakeholder group now that Maine’s legislative session has ended. The next meeting will take place on November 17, 2022. We expect a straw proposal later this fall to contain more successor program design details in advance of a final report due January 2023.
The New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) transmission project, which was the subject of a ballot measure approved by state voters in November, has been put on hold until April of next year when the case goes to trial. The NECEC project planned to carry electricity from Canadian hydropower through Maine and into Massachusetts.
Massachusetts – Finalized Clean Energy Standard amendments published
On August 11, 2022, Governor Baker signed omnibus energy legislation into law (HB 5060). Among other things, the law maintains an offshore wind procurement target of 5,600 MW by 2027 and creates an offshore wind tax credit. The law also addresses grid modernization and directs the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (“DOER”) to study a variety of energy storage programs. Furthermore, it requires that DOER include a pollinator-friendly solar incentive in the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (“SMART”) program or successor program, bans biomass from qualifying for the RPS after January 1, 2022, as an eligible RPS Class I or II technology, relaxes the net-metering cap, and mandates that all new vehicle sales in the state be zero-emission beginning in 2035.
On October 14, 2022, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (“MassDEP”) finalized amendments to the states Clean Energy Standard (“CES”) which include:
- Raising the rate of increase of the CES standard to 6 percent each year from 2026-2030 and lowering the rate of increase from 2031-2050 to 1 percent each year, reaching 80 percent in 2050.
- Increasing the CES-E stringency from 20 percent to 25 percent of 2018 retail sales starting in 2023.
- Setting the CES alternative compliance payment (“ACP”) rate at $35/MWh and the CES-E ACP rate at $10/MWh in 2022 through 2050.
These changes were made to align the CES with the 2030 Interim Clean Energy and Climate Plan (“Interim CECP”) and the Massachusetts 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap Report (“2050 Decarbonization Roadmap”) to accelerate the state towards fully decarbonized electricity.
New Jersey – Senator Smith introduces RPS revision bill
On April 26, 2022, BPU issued a Straw Proposal for the Competitive Solar Incentive (“CSI”). While there have been delays, the CSI program is still expected to launch later this year. The BPU is also expected to review ADI incentive levels as part of the one-year review. Legislation related to interconnection (S431), energy storage incentives (S2185), remote net metering (S2848), and the legacy SREC program (S439) moved through the Senate. On October 17, 2022, S2848 was reported out of Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee and referred to the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee. We expect all these bills to be heard in the fall.
Senator Bob Smith (D-17) introduced S2978 on August 8, 2022. As currently written, the bill would:
- Revise the RPS in New Jersey by applying the Class I standard to electricity sold in the State after subtracting electricity generated by existing nuclear and other zero-carbon sources.
- Require that at least 50 percent of RECs used to comply with the RPS be in New Jersey.
- Mandate that 100 percent of retail electricity delivered to New Jersey be from Class I sources by 2045.
The bill was scheduled for hearing on September 30, 2022, by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee but was pulled from consideration. We expect to see bill amendments from Senator Smith later this year.
Ohio – Public Siting Board proposes procedure revisions
On June 16, 2022, the Ohio Public Siting Board proposed procedure revisions, including one that would require solar setbacks of 150 feet from roads and unaffiliated properties and 300 feet from unaffiliated residences. Other proposals including public disclosure requirements for new facilities, codifying decommissioning requirements included in SB 52, and fencing requirements for solar sites. Initial comments were due on August 12, 2022, and reply comments were due on September 2, 2022.
Pennsylvania – Legislature approves hydrogen and natural gas tax credit bill
On October 26, 2022, HB 1059 passed both the Senate and General Assembly. The bill primarily focuses on state tax credits for hydrogen and natural gas, including $50 million annually for a federally designated regional clean hydrogen hub and $20 million in tax credits for to semiconductor manufacturing. The tax credit for using natural gas to make petrochemicals or fertilizer would also be increased by $30 million annually. Governor Wolf has until November 6, 2022 to sign or veto the bill.
Rhode Island – Department of Environmental Management changing REC accounting methodology
Earlier this month, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (“RIDEM”) published a press release indicating the Department is looking at changing their renewable energy credit (“REC”) accounting methodology, specifically to account for greenhouse gas emissions. The current methodology used by RIDEM was developed from MassDEP. They are now looking to transition towards the model used by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (“CTDEEP”) to ensure all RECs settled in Rhode Island are correctly counted towards the state’s electric sector.
Virginia – SCC requests additional comments related to the revenue-grade meter requirement
In March 2022, DEQ announced that it would define solar panels as impervious surface areas. On April 14, 2022, DEQ released additional guidance that pushed implementation out to January 1, 2025, for all projects that have not received interconnection approval. In July, DEQ released two additional stormwater guidance documents focused on stormwater management and erosion and sediment control. Comments were due August 31, 2022.
On October 3, 2022, Governor Youngkin unveiled his 2022 Virginia Energy Plan. Among other things, the plan calls for the Virginia Clean Economy Act (“VCEA”) to be reevaluated in 2023, and every five years thereafter. It also calls for the repeal of Virginia’s Clean Car Standard and for the state to exit the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (“RGGI”).
On April 14, 2022, the Virginia State Corporation Commission (“SCC”) opened a docket to establish a self-certification process for small distributed generation systems seeking to qualify as low-income projects and consider additional GATS-related questions. On July 26, 2022, the SCC issued an order for additional comments in the docket. Staff issued their report on September 22, 2022. All stakeholder comments were due on October 20, 2022.
- In yet another example of renewable energy’s incredible momentum, a recent report by BloombergNEF found that solar and wind energy accounted for 10 percent of global electricity generation in 2021. Just 10 years ago, the two sources combined for less than one percent of global generation. —Who knows how far we’ll be looking back at 10 percent a decade from now?
- After Hurricane Ian battered the Caribbean and Florida, solar energy proved to be one of the most resilient and important sources of power for many residents in the aftermath of the storm. Particularly in Puerto Rico, where much of the electric infrastructure was brought offline, rooftop solar provided many residents with a lifeline to power.
- Last week, the U.S. Treasury began holding meetings with leaders in the clean energy industry in an effort to streamline new guidance on incentives included in the Inflation Reduction Act. The meetings, which will consist of six roundtable discussions, are focused on expediting the development of guidance while ensuring it is “correct and strikes the right balance”.
- September saw the return of the industry’s largest trade show, RE+ (formerly named Solar Power International), which saw more than 27,000 attendees descend on Anaheim for the conference. This was the first show to include all technologies in the clean energy space and the excitement around the Inflation Reduction Act from the industry at large was evident. For our analysis of the Inflation Reduction Act, read our lead article from the August edition of the Sol SOURCE.