October solar policy snapshots

California took another step in climate leadership with its commitment to 100% clean energy.

A guide to recent legislation and research throughout the country.

California goes 100% green
Sacramento, California

Governor Brown signed a bill in mid-September to speed up California’s transition to a clean electric grid. The new law requires the state to source 60% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, and for the grid to be fully powered by clean energy–which can include non-renewable energy like nuclear power– by 2045.

Arizona regulators reject fixed solar charges
Phoenix, Arizona

The Arizona Corporation Commission rejected two utilities’ requests to impose monthly fixed charges on new solar customers in the state. Vote Solar said the proposed Grid Access Charge and inflated monthly Meter Fee sought to stifle the growth of rooftop solar, so the decision was a win for the industry. However, the commission also eliminated net metering for new solar customers by implementing the Arizona Value of Solar decision.

SDG&E’s high usage rates affect 81,000 customers
San Diego, California

An exceptionally hot August resulted in residential energy bills of $700 or higher for nearly 81,000 customers in SDG&E territory in San Diego County. Insanely high bills were a combination of record heat, the utility’s higher rates and the new state-mandated high usage charge in California. Customers can opt to switch to a time-of-use plan where rates are highest between 4 and 9 p.m., but the high-usage tier is eliminated.

Massachusetts SMART program is ready to rock
Boston, Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) will soon launch its new Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program. The program is designed to add 1,600 MW of solar capacity to the state’s energy portfolio. Solar supporters say the program will help get the Massachusetts solar market moving again after being stalled for two years.

Community solar pilot program will bring great economic benefit to New Jersey
Trenton, New Jersey

A study by Vote Solar found New Jersey’s 450-MW community solar pilot program will bring $797.9 million in local economic benefits for the state, excepting local tax revenues. The three-year pilot program is part of community solar legislation that requires the establishment of a permanent program after 36 months.

PSE&G proposes increased investment in clean energy
Trenton, New Jersey

PSE&G proposed a Clean Energy Future program (CEF) to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities that would make critical investments in clean energy and advanced technology in the state. The proposal also calls for 35 MW of energy storage capacity over six years and the implementation of an advanced technology platform called the Energy Cloud, which would modernize utility-customer relationships.

New Nevada utility plans will help make the grid solar-friendly
Carson City, Nevada

The Nevada Public Utilities Commission adopted a framework for the investor-owned utilities’ Distribution Resource Plans (DRP) that helps to optimize distributed energy resources like solar and storage into the grid. A representative form Vote Solar said the new regulations put Nevada “on the leading edge in Distribution Resource Planning.”

Report finds solar will lead renewables electricity generation by 2050
The world

A report from DNV GL found that solar PV will help meet almost half the demand of renewable global electricity production over the coming decades. As distributed energy resource use increases, utilities will have to be more flexible and incorporate new technologies like energy storage to help manage the grid.

Most U.S. voters want more solar
Washington, D.C.

The Global Strategy Group released a poll at Solar Power International that found more than three-quarters of voters on both sides of the aisle want to see their electric utilities invest in more solar energy. Solar was the most favored form of electricity among the sample group, and those polled also said they wanted more governmental action to encourage solar deployment.

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