March solar policy snapshots A guide to recent legislation and research throughout the country.

California legislators are considering a bill to automate permitting in most cities using tools like NREL’s SolarAPP.

Solar and environmental justice orgs team up for new ’30 million solar homes’ campaign
The United States

A national coalition of energy and environment organizations released a list of federal policy recommendations to achieve a new goal of 30 million solar homes within the next five years. The centerpiece of the group’s action plan is rapidly scaling programs that expand access to solar for low-income communities.

SEIA begins campaigning new administration to repeal Trump solar tariffs
Washington, D.C.

SEIA is leading a new effort to urge the Biden administration to repeal former President Donald Trump’s October 2020 solar proclamation that increased solar panel tariffs and rescinded the exclusion of bifacial solar panels from tariffs. Sixteen other renewable energy companies, including Swinerton and Pine Gate Renewables, joined SEIA in writing a letter to President Joe Biden asking to rescind the proclamation.

Experts recommend automatic enrollment in community solar programs for LMI groups
The United States

Vote Solar’s Access & Equity Advisory Committee released a policy brief recommending that low- and moderate-income (LMI) households, which statistically face the highest energy cost burdens, be automatically enrolled in community solar programs if they qualify for other certain income-based assistance. The group says this method would help LMI households pass the largest hurdles for community solar enrollment — income verification and program qualification.

New Solar Access Act aims to implement automated solar permitting in most California cities
Sacramento, California

California state Sen. Scott Wiener introduced a new bill that would implement automated solar permitting in local jurisdictions with over 10,000 residents. The Solar Access Bill would also allocate $20 million to help AHJs switch over to automated permitting, according to SEIA.

Missouri legislature considers taxing solar-powered households and businesses
Jefferson City, Missouri

Two bills in the Missouri statehouse seek to modify the state’s net-metering program and create a discriminatory tax on solar homeowners. The state’s electric cooperatives, which supply electricity to the majority of the state, claim the penalty is necessary to cover costs incurred from interconnecting solar projects to the grid.

DOE announces $100 million in funding for new clean energy solutions
Washington, D.C.

The Department of Energy released a new $100 million funding opportunity for clean energy solutions that help support the Biden administration’s agenda to reach net-zero emissions by 2035. The funds will support technologies near commercialization as well as those that can build clean energy supply chains domestically.

Biden administration restores amendments to Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan
Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Department of Interior decided to revoke Trump-era amendments to the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) that would have opened more public lands to energy development. Environmental advocates praised the move, saying it will ensure public lands will continue to be protected while renewable energy projects are responsibly developed.

Virginia bill would expand consumer choice in renewable energy provider
Richmond, Virginia

The Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that would let electric customers purchase renewable energy from companies other than their utility in early February, according to the Virginia Mercury. The bill is expected to face strong opposition in the Senate.

Midwest Renewable Energy Association files lawsuit for third-party solar financing access in Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) filed a lawsuit against the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin for discouraging third-party financing for solar projects. MREA says the policy limits rooftop solar access to only those who can afford to purchase solar panels outright.

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