Enhanced Community Renewables

The community solar program in California is off to a slow start. The reasons for this slow start were discussed at a solar developer’s forum held by the state’s major utilities and policymakers on April 5, 2017.

Background on Community Solar in California

California’s community solar program is formally known as the Enhanced Community Renewables (“ECR”) program. The ECR program is part of the larger Green Tariff Shared Renewables (“GTSR”) program. The GTSR program was signed into law in 2013, and final program rules were adopted in May 2016. Together, these programs require the California investor-owned utilities (“IOUs”) to procure 600 megawatts (“MW”) of new renewable energy.

Under the ECR component of the program, customers can enter into agreements directly with third party project developers to purchase new clean energy generated by a project located in their community. ECR projects are limited to sizes between 500 kW and 20 MW.

As we recently reported, the IOUs held their first request for offer (“RFO”) last fall, which sought to award power purchase agreements (“PPAs”) for 170 MW of new renewable energy from ECR projects. However, very few bids were submitted in the solicitation, and ultimately no PPAs were awarded. The developer forum was intended to discuss some of the reasons for this lackluster performance.
Continue Reading California Community Solar Forum Points to Need for Reforms

Via my colleague Xiaowan Mao:

On August 31, 2016, SDG&E will issue one ECR Request for Offers (“RFO”), seeking contracts with facilities that produce Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)-eligible energy for the purpose of implementing its ECR program. In this solicitation, SDG&E is seeking PPAs for the ECR program only. This solicitation is not requesting bids for feed-in-tariff projects (e.g. Re-MAT, Bio-MAT), GT projects, BioRAM or other RPS procurement activities that currently exist or are being contemplated.

Approved on September 28, 2013, Senate Bill (SB) 43[1] created the Green Tariff Shared Renewables (“GTSR”) program, which consists of a Green Tariff (“GT”) option and an Enhanced Community Renewables (“ECR”) component.[2]  San Diego Gas & Electric Company (“SDG&E”) plays an active role in implementing the GTSR program to: (1) make clean, renewable energy available to bundled utility customers, whether or not they own a home and/or can afford a significant capital investment; (2) increase the overall volume of renewable energy in the area of San Diego and (3) increase options for institutional, commercial and residential customers to meet their renewable energy goals. [3]
Continue Reading SDG&E Seeks Projects for Community Renewables Program