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

New Mexico may soon open up for community solar business if the governor signs a new bill.

Biden infrastructure plan includes 10-year extension and phase down of direct-pay ITC
Washington, D.C. 

President Joe Biden rolled out his highly anticipated infrastructure package, the American Jobs Plan, at the end of March. The plan includes a 10-year extension and phase down of a direct-pay solar ITC, as well as initiatives to make unionized clean energy jobs accessible to many Americans.

House Committee on Energy & Commerce introduces bill to set federal clean energy standard
Washington, D.C.

Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill in the House Committee on Energy & Commerce to establish a federal clean energy standard to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas pollution by 2050, with an interim target of reducing pollution by 50% from 2005 levels by 2030. The bill also strives to make environmental justice part of the mission of all federal agencies.

New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting releases standard permitting guidelines for large-scale renewables
Albany, New York

The newly established New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting released a standard set of permitting guidelines for large-scale renewable construction projects in the state. The new rules aim to streamline codes and standards and speed up development of new projects.

Stand-alone energy storage tax credit legislation introduced in both the House and Senate
Washington, D.C.

Bipartisan lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced companion legislation to create a stand-alone federal tax credit for energy storage. The current tax code allows energy storage to take advantage of the ITC only when installed in conjunction with solar power, but this bill would extend credits to other storage applications.

Ohio legislators introduce bill to allow for public referendum on new renewable energy projects
Columbus, Ohio

Ohio representatives introduced a bill that would allow a public referendum for wind and solar projects, which gives voters the ability to petition against them. The Utility Scale Solar Energy Coalition of Ohio (USSEC) opposes the bill, saying the current power siting process is already one of the most rigorous and extensive permitting processes in the state.

California joint agencies find reaching carbon-free goal will require up to 6 GW of new renewable resources annually
Sacramento, California

The California Energy Commission, along with two other state agencies, released a report detailing how the state could reach a carbon-free electric system by 2045. The report found reaching the goal will require the state to procure up to 6 GW of new renewable resources annually.

Net-metering battle between utilities and solar industry heats up in California
Sacramento, California

The California Public Utilities Commission is starting to reconsider net-metering rules in the state, highlighting the rift between the solar industry and utility interests. California’s three utilities want to add a new monthly grid charge for solar customers, while the solar industry is seeking to instead expand net-metering incentives and switch to net billing.

Maine solar advocates release report responding to negative PUC net-energy billing findings
Augusta, Maine

After Maine’s PUC released a study showing net billing hurt utility revenues, the solar industry commissioned its own study showing the economic benefits of the state’s program. The report by Daymark Energy Advisors found NEB solar projects already stimulated $60 million in economic activity in Maine.

Massachusetts governor signs omnibus clean energy legislation
Boston, Massachusetts

Gov. Charlie Baker signed the omnibus clean energy bill, “An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy,” at the end of March. The act contains multiple provisions to increase solar access to low-income communities, including requiring utility companies to allow alternative financing mechanisms for community solar programs.

New Mexico community solar market on the verge of opening
Albuquerque, New Mexico

A bill that would open New Mexico’s community solar market is awaiting a signature from Gov. Lujan Grisham. If signed, it would direct New Mexico’s Public Regulation Commission to develop rules for the state’s new community solar market by April 1, 2022.

Illinois House of Representatives considers energy bill that would spur large-scale solar growth downstate
Springfield, Illinois

The Illinois House of Representatives is working on a bill supported by Ameren that would accelerate large-scale solar growth in the Southern portion of the state. Solar advocates, including the Path to 100 coalition, oppose the bill, saying it would put renewable development at the mercy of monopoly utilities.

Pennsylvania Senate considers bipartisan community solar legislation
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Bipartisan legislators in Pennsylvania’s Senate have introduced new legislation to allow community solar development in the state. The latest bill incorporates new provisions that reflect feedback from stakeholders, including requiring developers to cover the cost of decommissioning the projects at the ends of their lifetime.

New Senate legislation would create temporary direct pay option for solar ITC
Washington, D.C.

Democratic senators on the Environment and Public Works Committee introduced legislation that would enable clean energy companies to bypass frozen tax equity markets and access the solar ITC through direct pay. Securing a direct pay option was one of SEIA’s top goals to help the industry recover from the pandemic.

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