Sharing in the Clean Energy Revolution

www.greentechmedia.com - Clean energy is the next frontier in America’s sharing economy. With solar costs low and consumer demand high, the number of potential renewable energy customers could quadruple overnight if providers can find a way to serve those who can’t put renewable energy on their own property. Shared renewables arrangements offer these customers a pathway to clean energy. Continue reading

With Community Solar, Rates That Never Rise

www.earthtechling.com - Strictly looking at it in money terms, here’s the gamble that Orlando, Fla., residents can make: They can continue to pay around 10 to 12 cents per kilowatt-hour for their electricity and hope the price doesn’t go up too much in the coming years. Or they can back a community solar project, and pay 13 cents/kWh – for the next 25 years. Factor in the environmental benefits of solar power, and this one seems like a no-brainer. Continue reading

Community Shared Solar Legislation Moving Forward Across America

blog.solargardens.org -
     2013 could be the year for shared solar in the United States! Subscription model solar projects using virtual net metering (VNM) are becoming a new industry sector. Thousands of homes and businesses otherwise constrained by shade or limited space can now receive credit on their electric bills for solar power through the grid.

 After the rapid growth of solar gardens in Colorado with XCEL Energy's Solar*Rewards Community program, the idea has started to catch on with utilities and citizens groups across the country, and new legislation is being introduced.  I had a chance to have a conversation with Hannah Masterjohn at the Vote Solar Initiative - we cobbled together a list of active legislation in different states. For most of these states (California, DC, Maryland, and Hawaii) this is the second attempt at community solar / VNM legislation - there is a steep learning curve for legislators and advocates alike. Some fine tuning has happened as well, as more experience is gained with the model.

California - Shared Renewable Energy Self-Generation Program, SB43 - Introduced in 2012 as SB843, this bill died in the last hours of the legislative session. The new version of the bill includes provisions for low-income individuals, requires a percentage of the subscribers to be in the same county as the solar garden, and has a carve-out for solar gardens less than 1MW in size.

Connecticut - Comprehensive Energy Strategy, Governor's Bill 6360 - This bill allows for limited virtual net metering (say, between multiple meters of a property), and covers many different renewable technologies.

District of Columbia - Community Renewables Energy Act, B20-0057 - Establishes virtual net metering in the District. Projects up to 5 Megawatts with at least two subscribers are allowed. Unsubscribed energy credits will be distributed to users of the Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This bill explicitly adopts the Interstate Renewable Energy Council's (IREC's) Community Renewables Model Program Rules, which are currently being updated.

Maryland - Community Energy-Generating Facilities Pilot Program HB1128 and SB699 - Allows for biomass, solar, wind, fuel cell, or small hydropower. A three-year, 75 MW pilot program is proposed, with facilities up to 2 MW and a minimum of two subscribers.

Hawaii - Community Based Renewable Energy Act SB1330 - This offsite solar / virtual net metering bill was recently tabled in committee, likely needing further study.

Nebraska - Community Solar Gardens LB557 - Expands net metering to include community solar gardens up to 2 MW. Similar to the 2010 Colorado Community Solar Gardens Act in many ways, significant authority is handed to the Public Utilities Commission.

Washington - Renewable Energy Incentives HB1301 - This bill would make changes to the existing community solar program in Washington state. The maximum size of 75 kilowatts remains unchanged. A clean energy fund with competitive process for incentives is established, and performance standards promulgated.

     If you know of community solar legislation in states besides these, please contact joy@solargardens.org and I will add this state to the list.

Many thanks,

Joy


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How Mosaic Brings Solar to the 75%

blog.solargardens.org - From the roof of my condo complex in a sunny part of San Francisco, I can see solar panels on at least a few houses on each surrounding block. Yet solar for our condo has eluded us. When it comes to solar, condos -- with multiple owners and HOA regulations -- are a tough nut to crack. My condo is just one example of the many barriers to going solar for the 75%.

That’s where Mosaic comes in. Continue reading