Last month, IREC joined Fresh Energy and the Environmental Law & Policy Center to file a joint motion with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, which includes a proposal that would help the state implement interconnection changes based on a compilation of best practices and lessons learned from other states.
As IREC works on clean energy policy and workforce efforts in states across the country, we keep the consumer focus front and center, bringing an important independent voice to the table. And from this vantage point, we’ve identified some key consumer-oriented trends that we expect to garner heightened attention going forward.
It was a good month for California consumers and for clean energy progress across the U.S., as other states watched a landmark vote by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) that modifies but doesn’t undermine the state’s net energy metering program (NEM), and the value proposition of customer-generated distributed renewable energy.
State policies are creating many laboratories for solar, but some federal leadership is still required. Today, states and local governments are defining the future of the solar sector. It’s not surprising, considering solar represented 32% of all new electric generating capacity in the U.S. in 2014 – second only to natural gas – and considering 20 states are now home to more than 100 MW of installed solar PV capacity.
Under the continued leadership of IREC Regulatory Director Sara Baldwin Auck, IREC will be represented in state and federal regulatory matters by current key regulatory team members Sky Stanfield and Erica McConnell, both of whom moved this week from the law firm of Keyes, Fox and Wiedman, LLP, to the environmental, land use and government law firm Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, LLP.
IREC joins the new U.S. Department of Energy Solar Market Pathways project as a partner with the project’s national coordinator, The Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC), to provide technical assistance to the Pathways’ teams and create an expanded learning network that connects solar stakeholders across the U.S.
This week’s presidential announcement of a new initiative to increase access to solar energy for all Americans, in particular low- and moderate-income communities, is an exciting expansion of IREC’s groundbreaking work in this area, which began in California.
As shared and community renewable arrangements develop, they face an important regulatory question: to securitize or not to securitize? While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, typically the answer lies in the design and structure of the arrangement.
Say you’re thinking about adding another story onto an old house. You probably wouldn’t want to start building without first having a structural engineer make some calculations to ensure the house could support the addition. Now keep that image in mind as you consider interconnection policy as one of the main load-bearing walls in our solar market “house.” If not properly designed to match the growing market conditions, state interconnection policies may cause the house to come crashing down…or at least cause some major cracks to form.
As the percentage of electricity generated from renewable energy sources continues to grow in the U.S., particularly from solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, technologies that can facilitate increased deployment of renewable energy, such as distributed energy storage, are front and center in state and national discussions. A report released today by IREC offers independent insight on how to address these new challenges – and opportunities – in the regulatory arena.