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


Born for your Drinking Healthy

Utility-scale solar developers in Arizona finally get the certainty they need to develop big projects thanks to extended PURPA contract terms.

ITC extension removed from House spending package
Washington, D.C.

Despite the solar industry’s efforts, an extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) was not included in the final version of the House spending package. The tax credit will be reduced from 30 to 26% in 2020, 22% in 2021 and then it will decrease indefinitely to 10% for commercial and utility solar projects, and zero for residential.

U.S. senators repeat call for ban on Huawei solar inverters
Washington, D.C.

A group of 10 bipartisan senators sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), calling on it to take steps to combat the national security threat posed by Huawei’s entry into the U.S. solar market. Huawei reportedly shut down its U.S. solar inverter operations in June 2019 after facing criticism from the Trump administration and Congress.

Suniva defends business plan at midterm hearing on Section 201 solar tariffs
Washington, D.C.

The International Trade Commission held its midterm hearing about Section 201 tariffs on crystalline solar panels on December 5. Commissioners grilled Suniva on its plan to restart business and manufacture solar cells only, not panels. A report on the midterm tariff review will be given to the President in February.

Georgia PSC approves net metering for up to 5,000 solar customers
Atlanta, Georgia

The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) issued a final order in Georgia Power’s 2019 rate case that establishes net metering in the state for up to 5,000 rooftop solar customers. Georgia Power’s rooftop solar program has approximately 1,000 participants today.

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DNV GL report finds transition to clean energy driven by cities, states, corporations

DNV GL found in its latest “Energy Transition Outlook” report that cities, states and corporations are driving the transition to clean energy in the absence of supportive federal regulations. The report found the way the energy transition is unfolding in the United States is the result of market forces and technological developments and costs — not government mandates.

New Jersey launches interim solar incentive program to replace SRECs
Trenton, New Jersey

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) approved a new solar incentive program that will act as a bridge between the current SREC program and the to-be-determined successor incentive program. The Transition Incentive will consist of factorized, fixed-price 15-year Transition Renewable Energy Certificates (TREC).

LADWP simplifies requirements for small solar projects
Los Angeles, California

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) removed the need for open blade switches and performance meters on 95% of the solar systems homeowners typically install. This change is estimated to reduce the cost of installing rooftop solar in Los Angeles by $500 to $10,000.

Arizona commission extends PURPA solar contract terms to 18 years
Phoenix, Arizona

The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) handed the solar industry a victory by extending the state’s PURPA contract terms from two years to 18. Commissioners voted unanimously to give solar developers the certainty needed to develop utility-scale solar in Arizona.

Organizations form $4.5 million program for Puerto Rican solar workforce training
San Juan, Puerto Rico

A group of organizations including NYSERDA and The Solar Foundation launched a $4.5 million Puerto Rican Solar Business Accelerator, Workforce and Small Business Development Program to help the island build solar and construction companies. The coalition aims to support Puerto Rico’s reconstruction and recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

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New York reaches 2 GW of installed solar capacity
Albany, New York

The New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced New York reached 2 GW of solar capacity installed across the state in December. This milestone represents one-third of the solar capacity needed to achieve the statewide target to install 6 GW of solar by 2025.

New York state will consolidate billing for community solar customers
Albany, New York

The New York Public Service Commission adopted a measure to consolidate billing for community solar customers to help lower costs and improve consumer experience. Instead of receiving two bills, one from the utility and one from the solar developer, the subscription charges will now be automatically deducted from the renewable energy credits by the utility and sent to the customer.

California celebrates 1 million solar roofs
Sacramento, California

The California solar industry celebrated reaching a goal of 1 million solar roofs in December. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration set the goal in 2006, and he spoke at the 2019 celebration in Clovis. The California Solar and Storage Association has now set a new goal for 1 million solar-charged batteries by 2025.

Idaho PUC preserves net metering for existing solar customers
Boise, Idaho

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission unanimously rejected Idaho Power’s proposal to end net metering and compensate rooftop solar owners 50% less for the power they feed back to the grid. The PUC ordered the utility to preserve net metering for existing solar customers and conduct a cost-benefit analysis of customer-owned rooftop solar to determine a compensation plan for future customers.

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New St. Louis builds required to be “solar-ready”
St. Louis, Missouri

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a bill requiring all new commercial and residential construction in the city to be “solar-ready” to facilitate easy solar PV installation. Building new homes and businesses to be “solar-ready” saves typical homeowners around $4,000 compared to a traditional retrofit project, and can save commercial building owners around $25,000.