Proposed legislation aims to reduce barriers for community solar systems

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A bill sponsored by Delaware House and Senate Democrats aims to reduce barriers to community solar energy systems.

The systems are viewed by many as an efficient way to generate electricity, especially when the sharp drop in prices for solar panels is considered.

The bill would set up a regulatory process that would be put into effect by the state Public Service Commission, with consumer protection from the state Department of Justice.

Critics continue to claim that solar power is too laden with incentives and subsidies and should be allowed to compete with other sources. Also cited are future costs of disposing of solar panels.

Neighboring Maryland has a pilot community solar program in place that includes provisions for low and moderate-income residents and renters.

The bill:

  • Allows for multiple types of ownership models, defined as ‚Äúcommunity-owned energy generating facilities,” to exist and compete in the marketplace
  • Increases the maximum size of these systems to 4 megawatts
  • Eliminates the requirement that all customers of a system must be located on the same distribution feeder.
  • It eliminates the requirement that all system customers must be identified before the system can be built.
  • Provides for regulating these systems by the Delaware Public Service Commission and sets forth the fee and requirements for a Certificate to Operate.
  • Provides compensation to the system owner for 10% or less of unsubscribed energy.
  • Requires each system owner to certify that it serves at least 15% low-income customers.
  • Provides that the Public Service Commission will engage in rule-making in consultation with the Consumer Protection Unit of the Delaware Department of Justice and promulgate rules and regulations by March 11, 2022.
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