September solar policy snapshots

With a new law in place, Massachusetts solar installers can now sell larger residential projects that still qualify for net metering.

Instant, online residential solar permitting soon to be required in California
Sacramento, California

California Sen. Scott Wiener’s bill to require instant, online residential solar permitting was passed by the state legislature and is on its way to the Governor’s desk. The Solar Access Act requires counties with more than 150,000 residents, and all cities within those counties, to implement instant permitting via programs like SolarAPP+.

California extends property tax exclusion for two years
Sacramento, California

The California state legislature in late August approved a two-year solar project property tax exemption. SEIA says the exclusion will give installers the certainty needed to keep building solar + storage projects that will help California meet its climate goals.

New CPUC proposed decision on NEM 3.0 expected by September 29
Sacramento, California

After many months of solar industry protests, the California Solar & Storage Association is expecting the CPUC to release its proposed decision on net metering in the state on or before September 29. The CPUC issued an initial proposed decision in December 2021 that would have added new grid-use charges and shifted to a net billing structure.

California bill requiring utilities to create community solar programs reaches governor’s desk
Sacramento, California

The California State Legislature passed AB 2316, a bill meant to expand solar access to low-income communities by requiring large utilities to create renewable energy programs like community solar + storage subscriptions. The legislation now awaits Gov. Newsom’s signature.

Solar decommissioning policy guide aims to help cities minimize long-term risks, community concerns
Charlottesville, Virginia

Researchers from the University of Virginia published a new guide to help localities develop legal, regulatory and financial guidelines for decommissioning solar facilities. Proactively creating a decommissioning plan and requirements can help cities streamline the approval process for large-scale solar projects.

Massachusetts doubles size of residential solar projects eligible for net metering
Boston, Massachusetts

gov. Charlie Baker signed climate legislation in Massachusetts that included significant investments in solar power. Most notably, the law doubles the size of residential solar projects eligible for net metering to 25 kW and establishes incentives for pollinator-friendly commercial-scale projects.

Consumers Energy adjusts community solar rules to expand access
Jackson, Michigan

Michigan utility Consumers Energy reached a settlement with stakeholders to expand opportunities for residential and business customers to purchase renewable energy. The new provisions include an “anchor tenant” option that allows a central tenant, like a school or business, to host community solar projects.

Xcel Energy can now cap the amount of clean energy on sections of grid
St. Paul, Minnesota

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved changes to the state’s interconnection rules allowing Xcel Energy to cap the amount of clean energy installed on a section of the grid. The Interstate Renewable Energy Council found this change increased the number of sections of the grid closed to new renewables by 4%.

Missouri strikes down property tax exemption for certain solar systems
Jefferson City, Missouri

Missouri’s Supreme Court struck down a 2013 state law exempting large solar projects from property taxes, according to the Associated Press. The court said the tax break was not allowed under the state’s constitution, so now some solar project owners could owe back taxes.

Biden signs Inflation Reduction Act with many solar + storage provisions
Washington, DC

President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act after climate provisions were revived by Senators Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin. The bill includes a long-term extension of the solar ITC, standalone storage credits, direct pay for nonprofit entities and much more.

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