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

New Jersey installers may soon be busy with many large-scale solar installations on warehouse roofs if Gov. Phil Murphy signs new solar-ready building legislation.

California assembly bill attempting to alter net-metering credits fails to move forward
Sacramento, California

California legislators rejected a bill that would have allowed utilities to charge rooftop solar customers a monthly fee and alter net-metering benefits. The future of rooftop solar policy in the state is still uncertain as the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) continues to consider net-metering adjustments.

CPUC votes in favor of utility-developed solar despite rooftop market’s opposition
Sacramento, California

The CPUC voted unanimously to approve major changes to the state’s “Avoided Cost Calculator” that helps the state determine the value of solar. Solar advocates opposed the modifications that they said were swayed by utility interests.

Pending New Jersey legislation would require new warehouses to be built solar-ready
Trenton, New Jersey

New Jersey legislators passed a bill that would require all new warehouses — buildings defined as 100,000 sq. ft or more and primarily used to store goods for resale — to be built ready for solar installations. The design legislation is now on Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk.

Virginia solar advocates successfully lobby to open net metering and PPAs to schools, municipalities in APCO territory
Richmond, Virginia

Virginia schools and localities in Appalachian Power Co. territory are now permitted to use net-metering and solar financing programs thanks to the work of solar advocates in the state. The former contract between the utilities and local entities effectively blocked all solar projects.

Connecticut governor signs solar prevailing-wage bill
Hartford, Connecticut

Connecticut’s solar developers must now pay state-ordered prevailing wage labor rates to all site workers on projects 2 MW and larger. A state solar advocacy group spoke out against the bill, saying it will add costs to commercial solar.

Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition endorses governor’s updated clean energy plan
Springfield, Illinois

Clean energy advocates in Illinois are backing Gov. J. B. Pritzker’s new energy proposal that sets the state on a path to carbon-free energy by 2045. The plan also sets aside more than $80 million for clean energy job creation in communities of color.

Texas governor signs pro-solar bills on interconnection, consumer protection
Austin, Texas

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed multiple bills in June that SEIA says will benefit the solar industry by clarifying rules around decommissioning solar sites and taking steps to strengthen solar consumer protection.

Environment America report finds utilities coordinate efforts to stall rooftop solar growth
Washington, D.C.

Environment America issued a report detailing the ways utilities and special interest groups collaborate to stall the growth of rooftop solar. The main tactics used by the groups are restricting or eliminating net-metering programs and establishing new fixed charges for solar owners.

Newly introduced Efficient Grid Interconnection Act aims to equitably allocate costs of transmission system upgrades
Washington, D.C.

House Democrats introduced a bill that would direct the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to allocate interconnection costs across all beneficiaries rather than stick them on those trying to interconnect solar projects. Solar advocates hope the bill’s passage would free up clogged interconnection queues.

Consumers Energy plans to cut coal in four years
Lansing, Michigan

Michigan utility Consumers Energy announced it would end coal use by 2025, 15 years faster than originally planned. If approved, the plan would make the utility one of the first in the nation to go coal-free.

Oregon state legislature passes 100% clean power bill
Salem, Oregon

A bill that would set Oregon on a path to 100% clean power by 2040 passed both legislative chambers and now awaits Gov. Kate Brown’s signature. Oregon will have the fastest carbon-free timeline in the country if it becomes law.

Oregon allocates $10 million to solar + storage rebate program
Salem, Oregon

Oregon lawmakers approved an omnibus spending bill that allocates $10 million to the Oregon Department of Energy for solar + storage rebates for residential and low- and moderate-income customers. This allocation is five-times more money than the program included in 2019.

Maine and Connecticut set energy storage targets
Augusta, Maine and Hartford, Connecticut

The governors of Maine and Connecticut both signed legislation to set state energy storage goals in June. Maine’s Gov. Janet Mills established a goal of 300 MW of energy storage by 2025 and 400 MW by 2030, while Connecticut’s Gov. Ned Lamont is aiming for 1 GW of energy storage by 2030.

Non-residential solar projects now have more time to secure ITC with latest safe harbor extensions
Washington, D.C.

The Treasury Department and IRS issued guidance that extends safe harbor provisions for non-residential solar projects under Section 48 of the investment tax credit (ITC). The new guidance extends the safe harbor from four to six years for projects that began construction from 2016 to 2019, and from four to five years for projects that began construction in 2020.

South Carolina PSC rejects Duke Energy resource plan after SEIA testimony
Columbia, South Carolina

The South Carolina Public Service Commission rejected Duke Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and directed it to modify it in response to input from SEIA and the solar industry. SEIA testified that the plan included excessive Duke-owned natural gas generation instead of more competitive solar + storage resources.

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