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Pennsylvania Utility Seeking To Offer Community Solar, Legislation Filed

October 24, 2019

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Copyright 2010-19
Reporting by Paul Ring •

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Legislation (House Bill 1970) has been filed in Pennsylvania to allow the electric distribution companies to offer community solar (local solar) to their customers under a subscription program

Under the bill, the EDC would contract with a third party developer to build, own, operate and maintain a local solar facility.

The developer may not be owned or operated by the electric distribution company, under the bill

A developer shall be selected by a request for proposals open to any interested entity.

The contract between developer and electric distribution company shall be subject to approval by the PUC to ensure adequate consumer protections, the bill says

Duquesne Light is supporting the bill

"Duquesne Light is proud to support the PA Local Solar Program, which will provide our customers with the option to choose 100% localized renewable energy, even if they do not have access to rooftop solar," said Steve Malnight, Duquesne Light Company President and CEO. "The program will allow us to better serve the growing number of customers who want solar energy and expand the reach of renewable energy in the Greater Pittsburgh area."

Each customer served by an electric distribution company that offers a local solar program shall be provided an opportunity to subscribe to the local solar program of the customer's electric distribution company, the bill provides

The cost of the solar energy shall be reflected in the per kilowatt hour charge for energy on the customer bill. "Subscription to a local solar program may not impact other charges on a customer bill, including transmission and distribution charges and customer fees," the bill provides

An electric distribution company may not charge a sign-up fee or other additional charge to subscribers.

A customer shall subscribe for the customer's entire electricity use per account. Subscriptions for a percentage of account usage may not be offered.

The bill provides that a customer may cancel the customer's subscription at any time. An electric distribution company may not apply cancellation fees

The maximum size of a subscription shall be 10% of the output from a local solar program, measured in kilowatt- hours of output

A portion of a local solar facility's output in kilowatt hours shall be reserved for subscription by low-income customers. The amount of output reserved for low-income participation shall be from a minimum of 5% to a maximum of 15%. A low-income customer subscribing to a local solar program shall remain eligible for an electric distribution company's customer assistance program and shall remain eligible to pay the same amount for electricity as the low-income customer would if not subscribing to the local solar program, the bill provides

The cost of development of the local solar program shall be factored into the rate charged to subscribers for energy usage

"An electric distribution company shall be allowed to recover costs of program implementation, from each customer, subject to commission [PUC] approval," the bill provides

"An electric distribution company may recover reasonable administrative costs associated with a local solar program, subject to approval by the commission," the bill provides

Each solar renewable energy credit generated by a local solar program shall count toward the electric distribution company's compliance with the act of November 30, 2004 (P.L.1672, No.213), known as the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act.

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