SolarConn Update 190322

  • SolarConn Blocks Apprenticeship Bill Language in Labor Committee

  • Energy Committee OKs SolarConn YR 9/YR 10 ZREC Extension Plan

  • NEM Preserved Through End of 2021; 50 More MW for RSIP

  • Meeting with Gov. Lamont Staff

  • Work Around To Municipalities Receiving NEM Credits

April 3 PURA Hearing on RSIP Tariff Solar Worker Licensing - We were successful in blocking passage of a bill that would have required commercial/residential solar energy system installers be a licensed electrician or a registered electrician's apprentice. Late Wednesday this week, after the Legislature's Senate Chairman of the Labor Committee met with SolarConn, the licensing language in bill we opposed (HB 6630) was dropped. A compromise with bill's author resulted in a plan to study licenses of those working on solar rooftops. This was a big win. Thanks to: [1] SolarConn Board member Noel Lafayette who came to Hartford to meet with the bill sponsor two weeks back, [2] Jason Ross of Ross Solar who came to Hartford late Wednesday to meet with a Labor Committee chairman, [3] Greenskies/Verogy lobbyist Josh Hughes for his insight on Labor Committee protocal and committee history, [3 & 4] James Schwartz (Independence Solar) and Ed Merrick (Trinity Solar) for their thoughtful written testimony opposing 6630 submitted to the Committee, [5] SolarConn members who emailed their lawmakers opposing the bill, and [6] big thanks to State Rep. Michael Winker (D-Vernon) who pointed out the problems with 6630 during private lawmaker meetings on this issue and helped create the compromise. I told the lawmaker who filed the license bill that SolarConn wishes to have input on the study group that will produce the license report. The report will go to the Legislature's Labor and General Law Committees. It's likely the 6630 bill sponsor will attempt to pass a new bill next year based on the report findings. RSIP/ZREC/NEM - On Tuesday this week, lawmakers in the Energy Committee took steps to pause the impact of last year's devastating Senate Bill No. 9 that rushed the transition away from RSIP and ZREC programs that were to conclude this year. An updated House Bill No. 7251 was passed (attached) with several initiatives proposed by SolarConn and our industry/enviro allies. The bill extends NEM out to the end of 2021. The RSIP program will be extended with another 50MW. The ZREC program gets additional solicitations in Year 9 (2020) and a year 10 (2021). A general outline below.

• 7251: net metering and renewable tariffs bill

• Sec. 1: current net metering

• Substitute adds this section

• Changes end date for current net metering program to December 31, 2021.

• Sec. 2: LREC/ZREC

• Previously Sec. 1 of the raised bill

• Changes in substitute: extends current LREC/ZREC program for 2 years

(raised bill extended for 1)

• Sec. 3: renewable energy tariffs

• Substitute adds this section.

• Changes from existing law:

• Allows PURA to consider periods of time up to one month as the

netting period for tariffs for commercial size projects and for

residential projects

• Requires PURA to consider the value of distributed generation study

done pursuant to Section 6 during PURA's proceedings establishing

tariffs for commercial size and residential projects

• Requires EDCs to solicit commercial projects under the new tariff

program starting on July 1, 2022

• Requires PURA to initiate proceeding for residential tariffs on July 1,

2020 and issue a final decision for residential tariffs on July 1, 2021

• Sec. 4: RSIP

• Previously Sec. 2 of the raised bill

• Changes in substitute: expands to 350 MW (raised bill was 400)

• Sec. 5: SHREC

• Substitute adds this section

• Changes from existing law: expands SHREC to 350 MW

• Sec. 6: value of distributed generation

• Previously Sec. 3 of the raised bill

• Changes in substitute:

• DEEP and PURA to jointly study

• Study value of distributed generation

• Proceeding study initiated on July 1, 2019

• Report findings of study on July 1, 2020 We're pleased with the actions taken by two rookie Energy Committee chairman. Talks have already started with Gov. Lamont staff on how to improve the bill approved by the Energy Committee. Outstanding issues include an increase in virtual net metering and community programs, pushing RSIP to 100MWs, rewriting the post-RSIP NEM description (instant netting, Buy all, Sell all).

Municipality NEM Credit Issue - Several ZREC projects were apparently clustered in a small eastern CT town with all power VNMed outside the town. Ordinarily it wouldn't be an issue. Except that town is represented in the state Legislature by the Senate Chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee who was irked enough to file a bill that would somehow allow municipalities to get NEM credit value from similar commercial projects. Doesn't help that this lawmaker, Sen. Cathy Osten, doubles as a first selectman. Several board members met with Sen. Osten in a meeting arranged by Josh Hughes. It's clear to us that Sen. Osten's history with solar means she's going to find a way for municipalities to earn a piece of the pie on VNM jobs when power is exported out of the town. She's familiar with SolarConn.  She presumed (correctly) in our meeting that it was SolarConn that killed her bill last year that would have retired the local property tax exemption for Class I renewables bill before her bill got out of committee. We've suggested a policy to Sen. Osten that's in place in RI that generates a modest revenue stream for VNM project hosts and provides predictability for developers who often are hit with municipal revenue demands late in the contract process. See below:

  • Rate = $5/kW-AC/yr in personal property taxes (same as RI)

  • Term = shorter of 25 years or operational lifetime of solar equipment

  • Applicability = only to projects that produce more than 125% of the onsite annual load (roof or ground) & exemption for all systems that produce less than 125% of annual onsite load (up from current 100% of annual load exemption)

  • Town and Project Owner may waive the tax in lieu of the Town purchasing energy/credits from the project, by mutual agreement.

  • No additional real estate taxes can be accessed on property (due to presence of equipment, change of land use, etc..) may be accessed on land for systems covered under this statue

We've asked, and Sen. Osten has agreed, that in exchange for our offer Sen. Osten will press her colleagues to support the expansion of the current VNM program (10MW cap). PURA April 3 Hearing - The above package of bills we're pursuing in the Legislature would put some pieces of Senate Bill 9 on hold. Still, PURA is obligated to create rules around SB9 including the post-RSIP/ZREC tariffs. If we're not successful in getting our Legislative package passed before June, SB9's problematic policies (instant netting, flawed tariff rate match, etc.) will go into effect this fall. On April 3 PURA will conduct a public hearing to consider issues related to the implementation of Section 7 of Public Act 18-50 (SB9), specifically a post-RSIP tariff, including the appropriate netting interval, whether pricing should be simple or dynamic, if payments should be made to third parties under the tariffs and the model(s) to be used to determine tariff pricing. The April 3, 2019 hearing starts at 11:00 a.m., at PURA offices in New Britain. I'm asking for a residential contractor to attend this hearing with our attorney Brad Mondschein. I'm unable to attend. That's it for now.

Michael Trahan Executive Director SolarConnecticut "Connecticut's Solar Industry Group Since 2007" P.O. Box 515 Higganum, CT 06441 860-256-1698

10 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

SolarConn Update Week Ahead 190408

1. Understanding 2019's Major Solar Bill HB 7251 2. VMN Update ____________________________________ House Bill 7251 - HB 7251 started in the Legislature's Energy Committee, one of 23 committees in the

SolarConn Update 190403 (bill tracker; VNM, VoltVar)

CT Bill Tracker Update Commercial Update: Virtual Net Metering SolarConn To PURA: "EDC's Misread PURA's Voltage Variation Order" PURA SB9 Action continues SolarConn Member Opinion Pieces Runs on CTMir