November 2020 solar policy snapshots A guide to recent legislation and research throughout the country. – Solar Power World


Philadelphia is the latest major city to make solar permitting easier for small projects.

Report finds only one-fifth of U.S. cities are on track to meet carbon reduction goals
United States

A report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy found only one-fifth of U.S. cities have community-wide greenhouse gas reduction goals and are on track to meet them. ACEEE ranked Washington, D.C., as the leading city for adopting several clean energy goals in partnership with the community.

DOE taps sustainable technology group to make national plan for solar on multifamily affordable housing
Denver, Colorado

The International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology completed the first phase of its Department of Energy-funded project to implement a national initiative to bring solar energy to low-income populations living in multifamily affordable housing. ICAST started the three-year project by conducting feasibility studies for low-income community solar projects in different utility markets.

Duke Energy doubles renewable portfolio goal to 16 GW by 2025
Charlotte, North Carolina

Duke Energy announced plans to double its renewable portfolio from 8 to 16 GW by 2025. The utility also plans to add more than 11 GW of energy storage across its territory by 2050, and retire all coal-only plants in the Carolinas by 2030.

Arkansas Advanced Energy Association now official SEIA state affiliate
Little Rock, Arkansas

The Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA) has become the 19th SEIA state affiliate. “The Southeast is becoming a hotbed for solar development, and we are thrilled to work with the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association to build a more robust market in Arkansas that competes with other states in the region,” said SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper.

Solar executives launch initiative to increase industry diversity and inclusion
The United States

A group of solar executives from Cypress Creek Renewables, Nextracker, Sol Systems and other national companies have joined forces to identify ways CEOs can implement meaningful changes to increase diversity and inclusion. The group will work on creating a more diverse pipeline of candidates in the renewables industry and developing inclusive corporate policies companies can adopt.

New York Power Authority to explore ways to transition natural gas peaker plants to cleaner energy
Albany, New York

The New York Power Authority and environmental justice group PEAK Coalition agreed to jointly assess how the utility can transition its seven natural gas peaker plants to cleaner energy. The groups will be evaluating replacement resources like energy storage and other low- or zero-carbon technologies.

Penn State study finds opening community solar market could generate $1.8 billion for Pennsylvania
State College, Pennsylvania

Penn State researchers found that opening Pennsylvania’s community solar market could bring about an estimated $1.8 billion in economic impact and support over 11,000 jobs across the state. The researchers studied 235 planned community solar projects in Pennsylvania that could move ahead if enabling legislation passes at the statehouse. Currently, utility rules prevent such projects.

Alliant Energy releases plan to add 400 MW of solar to Iowa’s grid by 2023
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Iowa utility Alliant Energy has released a Clean Energy Blueprint plan to add 400 MW of solar power to the grid by 2023, as well as 100 MW of distributed energy resources (such as community solar and energy storage systems) by 2026. “We are exploring battery storage as a cost-effective alternative that meets our customer’s energy needs while also creating a connected energy network that fully realizes the value of combining these resources,” said Terry Kouba, president of Alliant Energy’s Iowa energy company.

Illinois legislators call for passing Path to 100 legislation and increasing diversity in renewables
Springfield, Illinois

Members of Illinois’s legislative Black Caucus announced a diversity plan for renewable energy and urged the governor to remedy the state’s solar funding shortfall by passing the Path to 100 Act this fall. The group’s Diversity and Equity principles would require every business participating in the state’s RPS to meet mandated diverse hiring or contractor goals, along with other inclusive strategies.

Orlando Utilities Commission sets date to end use of coal
Orlando, Florida

The Orlando Utilities Commission announced it would stop burning coal for power by 2027 and reach 92% renewable energy by 2050. The move was likely prompted by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s goal for the city to be powered by 100% renewables by 2050.

Siting report finds Baltimore can meet state solar goals with available brownfields and roof space
Baltimore, Maryland

The Chesapeake Conservancy’s Conservation Innovation Center (CIC) released a report that found Baltimore County and City have ample site options for solar projects to meet the region’s share of Maryland’s RPS goal. The analysis identified optimal solar sites on existing rooftops, parking canopies and degraded lands with the goal to avoid development on prime farm and forest land.

Center for Biological Diversity sues DOE for grid resilience study records
Washington, D.C.

The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Department of Energy for failing to release records about the department’s collaboration with utilities and the fossil fuel industry on a study about the reliability and resiliency of the country’s electric grid. The center says it’s seeking the records to see how corporate interests may be shaping the model that could impact a transition to renewables on the power grid.

DOE partners with national labs to transform energy systems in remote communities
Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Department of Energy launched the Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Program (ETIPP) with the country’s major national labs to provide resources and support for remote communities seeking to transform their energy systems and increase resilience. The DOE emphasizes the program will provide “technology-neutral” assistance to communities.

New York mandates 70% renewable energy by 2030
Albany, New York

New York’s Public Service Commission formally adopted the goal of powering the state with 70% renewable energy by 2030. The mandate also includes a directive for NYSERDA to enter into contracts for 4,500 MWh of renewables each year.

Ameren Illinois makes net-metering concession to allow new rooftop solar customers to maintain full benefit
Springfield, Illinois

Ameren has reversed course after planning to end net metering in September. The utility filed a special permission tariff to allow new rooftop solar customers to maintain full compensation for the excess power they produce if the Illinois Commerce Commission determines a key net-metering calculation should be changed. Solar advocates have maintained that Ameren is using flawed justification to end net metering ahead of schedule.

Philadelphia launches EZ Permit for 10-kW and smaller solar projects
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia’s Department of Licenses and Inspections moved to make the city more solar-friendly by streamlining the permitting process for 10-kW and smaller projects. Contractors can now submit a new online EZ Permit for qualified installations, which doesn’t require plans and will be reviewed within three business days.

Trump plans to increase tariff on imported solar panels and revoke bifacial’s exemption
Washington, D.C.

President Trump announced that the tariff on imported solar cells and panels will increase in 2021 and bifacial solar panels will lose their exemption status. Trump based this proclamation on his assertion that domestic PV panel manufacturing is increasing, yet Solar Power World found the U.S. solar panel manufacturing industry actually lost 100 MW of production capacity in 2020.


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