December solar policy snapshots

Portland’s solar industry will get a boost from a new tax on big-box retailers. Pictured: Downtown Portland, Oregon.

A guide to recent legislation and research throughout the country.

SEIA pushes for federal storage tax credit
Washington, D.C.

SEIA and a coalition of clean energy organizations sent a letter to Congress asking it to clarify that the investment tax credit includes energy storage as an eligible technology. The letter urges the passing of the Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act that would effectively clarify that point, saying it would create a level playing field for energy storage and give it the financial certainty it needs to grow.

New analysis of EIA data finds U.S. CO2 emissions have increased 2.81% this year
Washington, D.C.

The SUN DAY Campaign, a nonprofit research organization with a mission to promote sustainable energy, found that October and September EIA reports gave the misleading impression that the U.S. is making consistent and significant progress to reduce CO2 emissions in the energy sector. SUN DAY found the EIA’s more recent reports showed CO2 emissions from energy consumption from January through July of 2018 exceeded the levels reported for those months in 2017 by 2.81%.

Navajo Nation looks to develop more utility-scale solar
Window Rock, Arizona

A report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis found the Navajo Nation is increasingly interested in commercializing solar generation on its land. The tribe has seen the success of the Kayenta Solar Facility and wants to develop new solar revenue streams for the Nation. Its interest in utility-scale solar is driven by large-scale deployment throughout the solar-rich Southwest, along with other factors.

Portland passes Clean Energy Initiative
Portland, Oregon

Voters passed the “Clean Energy Initiative,” a measure that levies a new 1% tax on big-box retailers with sales of over $500,000 and over $1 billion nationally, according to the Willamette Week. The tax money will be used for energy efficiency, green energy and renewable job training for low-income and minority citizens.

Maryland invests in solar+storage “resiliency hubs”
Annapolis, Maryland

The Maryland Energy Administration launched a $5 million program to build solar+storage-powered “resiliency hubs” for economically disadvantaged communities. These hubs are meant to provide low-income residents with basic services like heating, cooling and refrigeration of medicine during power outages. MEA is offering grants to solar+storage providers to develop these systems.

216 mayors say yes to solar
The United States

216 mayors representing cities in every state in the U.S. signed on to the Environment America Research & Policy Center’s “Mayors for Solar Energy” letter. The letter outlines the way local governments are leading the country’s transition to clean energy even though the federal government is far behind. The signees represent a range of city sizes and budgets and include 25 Republicans.

IREC and Vote Solar release guide to utility-led community solar
New York, New York

IREC and Vote Solar created a new checklist to help regulators evaluate and improve utility-led community solar programs nationwide. The guide can help governing bodies create scalable and replicable community solar programs that benefit both the customers and communities. It focuses on key topics like promoting competition and expanding customer access to clean energy.

New plan calls for 10% solar power in Pennsylvania by 2030
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

A new plan called “Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future” sets a goal for Pennsylvania to get 10% of its electricity from solar power by 2030. This is a big leap from its previous AEPS goal of .5% of solar power by 2021 that was set in 2004. The report finds if the new 10% goal was met, Pennsylvania could see an economic benefit of $1.6 billion in that timeframe.

D.C. city council approves 100% renewables by 2032
Washington, D.C.

D.C. city council unanimously passed the “Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act of 2018,” which establishes a 100% RPS by 2032 and limits the areas from which RECs can be purchased to the PJM wholesale market, among other things. The new RPS would double the current 50% target and would be the most ambitious RPS in the country. The bill advances to a second vote in mid-December.

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