Category: Solar

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New BLM Wind and Solar Development Guidelines on Public Lands Expected Soon

With a goal to spur wind and solar development on public lands, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is expected to soon release a new rule that will streamline approval of new renewable energy projects. First proposed for advance notice and comment in 2011, the rule would amend BLM regulations at 43 C.F.R. §§ 2800 … Continue Reading

NARUC Accepting Comments on Draft Distributed Energy Resources Manual that Seeks to Guide Regulators Through Tricky Territory

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) recently issued a draft manual on distributed energy resources (DER) compensation to assist jurisdictions in navigating the challenges and policy considerations associated with this hot button issue. The release of the manual marks the first time NARUC has specifically weighed in on DER compensation issues. DERs are … Continue Reading

Minnesota Power Requests Proposals for Wind; Solar, Demand Response & Customer Self-Generation to Follow

Minnesota Power released a Request for Proposals (RFP) yesterday for up to 300 MW of wind generation, with proposals due by September 7, 2016. A copy of the RFP and additional details are available at Minnesota Power also filed its press release with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC). Minnesota Power will also release … Continue Reading

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Approves Some Changes to Community Solar Program, Declines Other Changes

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) approved several major changes to Xcel Energy’s Community Solar Garden (CSG) program yesterday, while also voting to maintain other aspects of the CSG program. Mike Hughlett of the Star Tribune has this report. The MPUC’s decisions are summarized below: Bill Credit Rate Declined to modify the Applicable Retail Rate at … Continue Reading

MN Court of Appeals Upholds PUC’s Community Solar Order

The Minnesota Court of Appeals filed its decision today affirming the Public Utilities Commission’s August 6, 2015 Order in the community solar garden proceeding, which adopted the partial settlement agreement between certain solar developers and Xcel Energy and decided several crucial aspects of Xcel’s community solar program, including the 5 MW cap on co-located gardens.  … Continue Reading

Stoel Rives Partner Jon Wellinghoff to Join SolarCity as Chief Policy Officer

I just wanted to pass along word to readers that Stoel Rives partner and Renewable + Law blog author Jon Wellinghoff will be leaving us to join SolarCity as their new Chief Policy Officer. Read SolarCity’s  official announcement. We’ve enjoyed working with Jon as a member of the Stoel Rives Energy Team. We’d like to … Continue Reading

Developer Requests Clarification of Minnesota PUC’s Community Solar Garden Order

Minnesota solar developer SolarStone Partners, LLC filed a Motion for Clarification of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s September 2014 Order Approving Solar-Garden Plan with Modifications. Specifically, SolarStone is requesting clarification of the Commission’s interpretation of the requirement in the Community Solar Garden Statute that a project must be located within the utility’s service territory. One … Continue Reading

Oregon legislators pass historic renewable energy bill, with 50% RPS and coal-fired electricity phaseout

Oregon legislators passed Senate Bill (SB) 1547 into law yesterday, creating aggressive timetables for eliminating coal-fired electricity from the State and setting a 50% Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by 2040. A diverse group of utilities, consumer advocacy organizations, and renewable energy advocates support the bill.  Next stop for SB 1547 is Oregon Governor Katherine Brown’s … Continue Reading

All Sides Agree on Maine’s Replacement of Net Energy Metering

Maine appears poised to replace its net-energy metering (NEM) program with new legislation that is projected to increase the state’s solar photovoltaics (PV) penetration by over 12 times the current installed capacity by 2022. The legislation has the support of a broad coalition of consumer advocates, utilities, solar installers and environmental advocates, by contrast to … Continue Reading

California CPUC Votes to Retain Net Metering, With Modifications

The California Public Utilities Commission yesterday adopted – by a 3-2 vote – a proposed decision revising the net energy metering (NEM) tariff for customers of the state’s three largest utilities who install renewable distributed generation (DG) on their properties. To the dismay of the dissenting commissioners, the final decision adopted late proposed changes that exclude … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds FERC Demand Response Rule in Energy Story of the Year

In the biggest consumer energy story of the day, and perhaps the decade, the U.S. Supreme Court today upheld FERC’s jurisdictional authority in FERC Order 745. Read the Decision here (PDF). The so called Demand Response Rule permits consumer energy products and services, such as demand response, to participate in wholesale energy markets, and to … Continue Reading

Utah PSC Compromises, Reduces Maximum PPA Contract Terms under PURPA to 15 Years

The Utah Public Service Commission (PSC) issued its decision today on PacifiCorp’s request to shorten the maximum term of power purchase agreements (PPAs) with qualifying facilities (QFs) from 20 years to three years.  The PSC agreed to reduce the maximum term from 20 to 15 years, concluding:  “We believe a 15-year term strikes the appropriate … Continue Reading

Xcel Energy’s Community Solar Garden Tariff Final this Friday

*Update: Xcel has now filed its revised tariff (pdf) The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission published its Order (pdf) Tuesday approving Xcel Energy’s revised tariff for its Community Solar Garden Program contingent on certain changes being made. After Xcel Energy filed its tariff following programmatic changes made by the Commission earlier in the year, several parties objected … Continue Reading

CPUC Proposes to Preserve Retail Rates for Residential Distributed Generation

The California Public Utilities Commission released a proposed decision yesterday in its proceeding concerning the future of net energy metering (NEM) for customers of the state’s three largest utilities who install renewable distributed generation (DG) on their properties. In comments filed in early-August, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SGE), and San Diego … Continue Reading

Solar Electric Power Assoc. Releases Community Solar Report

The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) recently released a Community Solar Program Design Models report as part of a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Market Pathways program. The report is a resource for anyone interested in community solar, but is particularly useful to those involved in developing a community solar program in their community. The report details … Continue Reading

Xcel Energy Reports Few New Community Solar Garden Applications

Xcel Energy filed its December Report on the Community Solar Gardens Program this week, announcing that 13 projects totaling 43 MW have entered into the design and construction phase. Xcel also reports that it has received “few additional applications” since the spike in applications in September. There are currently 801 applications in the interconnection queue and … Continue Reading

Xcel Energy Reports 24 Community Solar Garden Projects are Beginning Construction

Xcel Energy filed its monthly report for the Community Solar Garden program with the Public Utilities Commission last week, revealing that 24 projects are moving to the beginning stages of construction. Xcel also reports that, “after receiving over 600 applications in the surge to submit co-located projects, the pace has slowed considerably.” There are currently … Continue Reading

Citing Costs and Timing, PUC Denies Xcel Energy’s Request for Contested Case

During a public hearing yesterday, the Public Utilities Commission denied Xcel Energy’s request for a contested case hearing for the next stage of developing the Minnesota Community Solar Garden Program (the “CSG Program”). Instead, the PUC decided to proceed with the notice and comment process similar to the previously utilized process for the CSG Program. … Continue Reading

Xcel Delivers Final – For Now – Community Solar Garden Program Rules

Xcel filed its revised tariff for the Community Solar Garden Program yesterday, in compliance with and response to the Minnesota Public Utility Commission’s August 6, 2015 and October 15, 2015 orders. The revised tariff contains numerous changes to Xcel’s September 15, 2015 draft tariff proposal, a few of which are highlighted below.  Xcel clarified that … Continue Reading

MPUC Sets Community Solar Tariff Schedule and Clarifies Previous Order

On Thursday, October 15, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) released an order addressing several issues in the Community Solar Garden Program proceeding. The order requires Xcel to file compliance tariffs for the program within five days, and the MPUC will order that the tariffs become effective seven days after filing, “unless the Department or another … Continue Reading

CPUC Set to Tackle Net Metering Debate with New Distributed Generation Tariff

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) could soon make big changes to how rooftop solar installations function in the state. Under Assembly Bill 327, enacted in 2013, the CPUC has until December 31, 2015 to “develop a standard contract or tariff” that applies to “customer-generators” who own rooftop solar installations or other distributed generation and … Continue Reading

BREAKING NEWS: Xcel Energy Announces Commitment to Cease Coal-Fired Operations at Sherco Units 1 and 2

Xcel Energy announced this afternoon its intent to cease coal-fired generation at Sherco Units 1 and 2 in 2026 and 2023, respectively, while adding 1,200 MW of new renewable sources (800 MW of wind and 400 MW of solar) by 2020.  According to the Xcel Energy website, Sherco Unit 1 has a generating capacity of 680 MW … Continue Reading

Community Solar Update: PV Magazine and Solar Industry Magazine

Community solar (“CSG”) is the topic of two articles we authored in the September editions of PV Magazine and Solar Industry Magazine. Titled “Care in the Community” (PV Magazine) and “Proof of Concept: Community Solar is Ready to Soar Despite Complications” (Solar Industry Mag), the articles consider the launch of The National Community Solar Partnership … Continue Reading

California Legislative Session Wrap-up

Last Friday, September 11, 2015 was the final day for California legislators to pass bills out of the Legislature and on to Governor Jerry Brown for consideration. This year’s crop of bills included something for both sides of the aisle on energy and climate change issues: from the proposed repeal of AB 32, the California … Continue Reading