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HomeRenewablesThe Solar Policy Scoop: May 2024 A guide to recent legislation and...

The Solar Policy Scoop: May 2024 A guide to recent legislation and research throughout the country.

Colorado is working on revamping its community solar program to capture new IRA funds.

California may require licensed electricians for energy storage retrofits and maintenance
Sacramento, California

The California Contractors State License Board approved a new rule that would prohibit licensed solar contractors from installing new battery storage capacity to existing solar systems or from performing maintenance on battery storage systems, including those they installed themselves. The electricians-only rule will now be reviewed by the California Office of Administrative Law before going into effect.

California Supreme Court takes up NEM 3.0 case against the CPUC
Sacramento, California

The California Supreme Court has taken up a lawsuit filed by three nonprofit groups challenging the state’s new NEM 3.0 rooftop solar policy. NEM 3.0 went into effect on April 15, 2023, and cut the compensation homeowners receive for feeding excess solar power to the grid by around 75%.

Bipartisan Colorado legislators introduce bill to revamp community solar program
Denver, Colorado

A bipartisan group of Colorado legislators introduced a bill to revamp the state’s community solar program using funds from the Inflation Reduction Act. The bill would require at least 51% of each community solar project to be reserved for income-qualified residential subscribers.

Virginia expands community solar access with new law
Richmond, Virginia

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed a bill to expand community solar access in Dominion Energy territories and create a new program for Appalachian Power Company customers. The law also requires the utilities to consider the benefits of community solar to the electric grid in calculating the minimum bill for customers.

Virginia now allows third-party rooftop solar leasing
Richmond, Virginia

Virginia passed legislation allowing third-party leases for solar installations for the first time. Advocates say solar leases help reduce upfront costs and make installations more attainable for people of all incomes.

Minnesota legislators propose nation’s first solar-themed license plate
Saint Paul, Minnesota

In 2016, Minnesota passed the Pollinator-Friendly Solar Act, the nation’s first groundcover standard for solar facilities. Now, legislators are proposing a new funding mechanism for the program —the first license plate featuring a solar project.

Maryland legislation would pave way for bidirectional EV charging, VPPs
Annapolis, Maryland

Maryland legislators recently passed the Distributed Renewable Integration and Vehicle Electrification (DRIVE) Act, which would make Maryland the first state to require electric utility companies to allow these “vehicle-to-grid” systems to interconnect to the state’s electric distribution network. The bill is on the governor’s desk now.

Maryland General Assembly passes bill to incentivize local solar development, streamline permitting
Annapolis, Maryland

The Maryland General Assembly has passed the Brighter Tomorrow Act, legislation that would lower the cost of developing Maryland solar projects and increase the value of solar for energy customers across the state. Among other efforts, the bill would facilitate adoption of digital solar permitting software for local governments.

 New AD/CVD petition filed against solar cells and panels from Southeast Asia
Washington, D.C.

A new antidumping/countervailing duty petition has been filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission and the Dept. of Commerce concerning silicon solar cells and panels made in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The petition was filed by the American Alliance for Solar Manufacturing Trade Committee, which includes some U.S. solar manufacturers.

Biden Administration announces first manufacturers to qualify for 48C tax credits
Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Dept. of Energy released details for 35 projects that received a total of $1.93 billion in allocations of the Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Credit. Many of the recipients fall under electric vehicle manufacturing, but a few are directly related to solar PV.

EPA invests $20 billion in national green bank project
Washington, D.C.

The EPA has announced the eight recipients of the National Clean Investment Fund and Clean Communities Investment Accelerator. These eight entities will create a first-of-its-kind national clean financing network that will finance climate and clean energy projects, especially in low-income and disadvantaged communities.

Federal funding allocated for solar projects on irrigation canals
Washington, D.C.

Three projects in California, Oregon and Utah have received $19.5 million in funding from the IRA to study the use of solar panels on top of irrigation canals. These installations have been proven to reduce evaporation losses from the canal as well as cool the panels, increasing efficiency.

DOE releases new solutions to speed clean energy interconnection and clear backlog
Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Dept. of Energy released a new roadmap outlining solutions to speed up the interconnection of clean energy onto the nation’s transmission grid and clear the existing backlog. According to Berkeley Labs, nearly 2,600 GW of generation and storage capacity are actively seeking grid interconnection.

Bureau of Land Management releases final rules for renewable energy projects on public lands
Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management published final rules to govern leasing and rental rates for renewable energy projects on public lands. The final rules closely follow recommendations from SEIA to make it easier to develop clean energy projects on these lands.

Report finds 43 states took solar policy action in Q1 this year
The United States

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center found 43 states took some action on solar policy in its Q1 2024 edition of “The 50 States of Solar.” The bulk of these policy actions involve net-metering and community solar.

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