Oregon Solar News

Policy Update - 6.30.17


Policy Update: Lots Happening; Lots Still to Do

As this update is being written, there is a big effort going on in the legislature to create a new residential solar incentive. A big effort around community solar rulemaking just finished but there’s still a lot of work to do to implement a community solar program.

Legislative Update: The Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) will expire at year’s end, but we have the chance to create a new tax credit to help residential customers install solar on their rooftops. The new credit, known as the Residential Incentive for Solar Energy (RISE), will make it easier for residential customer to go solar. We are currently pushing hard to make sure that the new tax credit will be included in the final tax credit bill that the legislature will consider before the session ends.

Take Action Now: There is currently an ACTION ALERT asking OSEIA members and solar supporters to contact their legislators. You can go (here) to look at the alert and find out how you can help. Time is running short in the legislative session so contact your legislator today!

Community Solar Update: The legislature approved a community solar policy in February 2016 and the Public Utility Commission (PUC) started its rulemaking process last summer. Just yesterday, on June 29, 2017, the PUC adopted the final rules. You can read the rules and the Commission’s order adopting the rules here.

OSEIA worked very closely with the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA), a national trade group of companies that develop community solar projects. You can read the statement OSEIA and CCSA released as the rules were released (here).

Overall, the rules are good. OSEIA is concerned that a bill credit rate has not been adopted to help community solar developers determine how to build a project. That will be among the first order of business as stakeholders start the implementation process for Oregon’s new community solar program.

We also have some concerns about the requirement that community solar projects need to be located in the service territory of a subscribing customer. Although a community solar project can be up to 3 megawatts, that will be difficult to do in Portland General Electric service territory because of farmland restrictions. But we’ll see what kind of projects are developed and work to make adjustments as needed.

Adopting the community solar rules is a big step and a lot of people worked very hard to make it happen. But there is still a lot of work to do to make the community solar framework envisioned in the rules a reality. That work will start right away. Stay tuned!

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