February 3, 2020 - A Guide to Recent Legislation and Research Throughout the Country ...
SACE applauds South Carolina solar rate reversal, but says more changes required
Columbia, South Carolina
The South Carolina PSC raised the solar rates utilities must pay independent solar producers after initially approving the lowest rates in the nation. The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) lobbied for the new, higher rates so solar developers could make a profit on projects. The group wants to see PPA contract terms extended too.
Study shows Virginia Clean Economy Act could create 29,500 local solar jobs
The Virginia Clean Economy Act working through the state legislature aims to create a minimum of 2,000 MW of distributed solar by 2030. A study by a coalition of solar advocates found those thousands of new megawatts would create 29,500 solar jobs in the state and generate over $1 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues.
Kresge Foundation commits $3.3 million to advancing underserved solar + storage
The Kresge Foundation, Clean Energy Group (CEG) and New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC) committed $3.3 million to grow solar + storage in underserved communities. Most of the grant money will be distributed via loan guarantees that reduce the risk of a payment default to lenders who provided capital for solar + storage loans, allowing low-income citizens to get clean power.
The Center for Biological Diversity sues Trump administration for suppressing clean energy grid study results
The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Trump administration for failing to release documents about a $1.5 million study that examined how grid improvements can bolster renewable energy access. The study reportedly found strengthening connections among the nation’s three electricity grids would allow solar and wind power to be moved to high-population areas, resulting in major economic benefits.
U.S. and China sign Phase 1 trade agreement
China and the United States signed a Phase 1 trade deal that signals a rollback in the back-and-forth tariffs between the countries, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Solar inverters are part of the $200 billion of Chinese imported goods tariffed at 10% that started in September 2018. CNBC reported the United States agreed to cancel or reduce some tariffs as part of the deal.
APS plans to reach 100% clean energy by 2050
Arizona Public Service’s new management has changed the IOU’s course on renewables and committed to 100% clean energy by 2050. APS also plans to retire coal generation by 2031. The Arizona Solar Energy Industry Association said it’s happy about the announcement, but hopes APS will include solar industry stakeholders in the process in a more meaningful way.
Vote Solar asks Massachusetts governor to prioritize solar policy
Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker made a commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 in his 2020 State of the Commonwealth speech. Vote Solar responded by calling on the governor to immediately accelerate the growth of local solar power by expanding the SMART program and low-income solar opportunities.
Kentucky lawmaker proposes 10-year delay in new net-metering rules
A Republican Kentucky lawmaker proposed a bill that would allow residential solar customers who install solar by December 31, 2024, to receive one-to-one solar net metering rates until the end of 2029, according to the Lexington Herald Leader. The certainty of 10 years at one-to-one net metering would help the solar industry more than the new rates that would be set by the state’s Public Service Commission.
Minnesota GOP making plan to require utilities to choose clean energy
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Minnesota Senate Republicans are working on a new plan to make utilities build clean energy power sources instead of fossil fuel, according to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press. The new law would tighten up a current loophole and only allow exemptions if utilities show a renewable energy source alone or in conjunction with other renewable sources can’t meet its expected need.
Environment America calls on 15 more states to go 100% renewable
Environment America has already helped a number of states make clean energy commitments, and now it has called on 15 more to take the pledge. In conjunction with state-level advocacy groups, Environment America is calling on states from Arizona to Maryland to set 100% clean energy goals.
Massachusetts Senate passes ‘Next-Generation Climate Policy’ act
The Massachusetts state senate passed “An Act Setting Next Generation Climate Policy,” which sets a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 and establishes a Climate Policy Commission to oversee the government’s handling of the climate crisis, according to the Framingham Source. Vote Solar applauded the legislation but asked for more immediate action on solar policy.
Source: By Kelsey Misbrener
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