Posts Tagged ‘Public Utilities Commission’

PA PUC Enters Final Implementation Order of Act 40

Posted May 10th, 2018 by SRECTrade.

On Thursday, May 3rd, the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PUC) entered its Final Implementation Order of Act 40 of 2017, clarifying some questions that remained from its adoption of the Final Implementation Order. Notably, the entry confirmed that PA-certified but out-of-state facilities would not be grandfathered with solar renewable energy credit (SREC) eligibility (i.e. Tier I solar), since the PUC found that grandfathering these facilities would result in minimal improvement for state SREC prices and fail to effectuate the intentions of the PA General Assembly.

The entry also clarified that PA SRECs associated with energy generated after October 30, 2017 would be re-certified to non-solar RECs (i.e. Tier I non-solar). The PA REC Program Administrator and PJM GATS have already worked together to modify the Tier I certification numbers attributed to all out-of-state facilities and SRECs that no longer qualify for Tier I solar eligibility. This means that SRECs with a Month of Generation of November 2017 and later have now been re-certified as Tier I non-solar RECs.

Some facilities that were re-certified with Tier I non-solar eligibility will be permitted to temporarily maintain SREC certification if under an SREC contract with an electric distribution company (EDC) or electric generation supplier (EGS) serving PA customers. EDCs and EGSs seeking to qualify contracted RECs as Tier I solar-eligible under the Final Implementation Order’s ruling must file a petition within 60 days of the entry date of the Order (May 3rd). Please note that such facilities will only be permitted to maintain certification until the expiration of the SREC contract.

Moving forward, it appears that the PA REC Program Administrator will be responsible for working with PJM GATS to re-certify SREC-contracted facilities for Tier I non-solar REC generation once their contract term expires.

Additionally, the entry clarified that:

  • Solar facilities interconnected in PJM service territory are permitted to continue generating RECs eligible to be used toward Tier I non-solar requirements in the AEPS.
  • Out-of-state grid-supply solar facilities must be serving end-use electricity load in PA to continue to generate energy and SRECs eligible for compliance under the Tier I solar requirement. Specifically, solar facilities must meet one of the following criteria:
    • Physical connection to a PA EDC customer’s internal electrical system
    • Physical interconnection to an EDC’s distribution system
    • Physical connection to a PA electric cooperative’s or municipal electric system’s distribution network
    • Physical connection to any PA-located transmission system, including utility-scale solar facilities that are within a PA EDC’s service territory and operating under PJM wholesale generator rules
  • SRECs generated by out-of-state facilities prior to October 30, 2017 will maintain their Tier I solar certification

PA PUC Adopts Final Implementation Order of Act 40 – Impacts Out-of-State PA-Certified Solar Projects

Posted April 19th, 2018 by SRECTrade.

On Thursday, April 19th, the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PUC) adopted its Final Implementation Order of Act 40 of 2017. The Order amends the qualifications to certify Tier I solar photovoltaic facilities under Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) Act. As summarized in our previous blog post, ambiguous language in Section 2804(2)(i) and Section 2804(2)(ii) of Act 40 made it unclear whether certified but out-of-state facilities would retain their certifications under the AEPS. The Order clarified the PUC’s interpretations of Section 2804(2)(i) and Section 2804(2)(ii) which are as follows:

  • Section 2804(2)(i) – “[a] certification originating within the geographical boundaries of this Commonwealth…” shall mean a facility located within PA having received an AEPS Tier I solar photovoltaic certification.
  • Section 2804(2)(ii) – shall only permit out-of-state facilities that are 1) already certified as AEPS Tier I Solar Photovoltaic and 2) entered into an SREC contract with a PA electric distribution company (EDC) or electric generation supplier (EGS) serving PA customers to maintain certification until the expiration of the contract.

Solar facilities that meet the two Section 2804(2)(ii) criteria listed above are limited to maintaining certification only for the applicable amount of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) contractually committed to an EDC or EGS. EDCs and EGSs seeking to qualify SRECs under this interpretation must file a Petition with 60 days of the entry date of the Order.

In addition, the Order clarified that SRECs generated by certified but out-of-state facilities prior to October 30, 2017 will retain their Tier I solar qualification for their standard banking lifetime (current reporting year and following two). The Order did not clarify whether SRECs generated by such facilities after October 30, 2017 will also be able to retain their Tier I solar qualification.

At this time, it is unclear how implementation of these interpretations will be administered. SRECTrade will continue to monitor the proceedings and provide updates as they become available.

Pennsylvania SREC Market in 2010

Posted February 19th, 2010 by SRECTrade.

Despite a robust RPS and the threat of non-compliance fines above $550, the Pennsylvania SREC market has been slow to develop. We take a quick look at some of the factors that influence this market and hopefully provide some insight as to why the Pennsylvania SREC demand has been low.

Demand Issues: For starters, the PA RPS is expected to ramp up as described on our Pennsylvania Page. Based on current electricity sales into Pennsylvania, we project the demand for SRECs to be as follows:

Pennsylvania SREC ProjectionsAccording to this projection, approximately 20,000 SRECs need to be purchased in Pennsylvania for generation through May 31, 2010. However, the reality is a bit more complex. Electricity markets are composed of three types of companies: electricity generators who supply the power, electricity transmitters responsible for transmission and electricity distributors responsible for the delivery of the retail electricity. It is important to know that although the distribution companies (EDCs) or retail utilities are most commonly associated with state RPS goals, it is actually the numerous electricity suppliers who are responsible for purchasing the SRECs to meet the RPS. The Pennsylvania electricity market is comprised of 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (EDCs).  Behind each EDC are the many suppliers providing power to them.  When the PA RPS was passed, the suppliers for several EDCs were exempted for the first few years. According to the DSIRE website, these EDCs were exempted because they were under rate freezes or still recovering from costs associated with restructuring. In all, 5 of the 11 EDCs are exempt. The exemption ended this January of 2010 for one of the EDCs and the exemption for the other 4 will expire in January of 2011.  More significantly, these EDCs represent over 85% of the total electricity market exempt through January of 2010 and 70% exempt through January of 2011!  With that said, this changes the outlook for SREC demand in Pennsylvania substantially in 2010 and 2011:

Pennsylvania EDC SREC BreakdownAs a result, the actual demand for PA SRECs in the 2009-10 Energy Year drops from nearly 20,000 SRECs to under 5,000 SRECs – 25% of what was initially projected. In 2010-11, the demand drops from an initial projection of 33,000 SRECs down to 21,000 SRECs – about 60% of initial projections!

Procurement Issues: In addition to a decreased demand in the early years of the PA market, the state also has some constraints in place that have created challenges for buyers and sellers to connect in this market. For the first time in history, home and business owners are entering electricity markets as generators. These markets are geared towards large corporations that produce significant amounts of power, and as a result, the approach many companies have taken to procuring SRECs is geared towards large companies (as an aside, this is why GATS is such a cumbersome platform for solar owners). In addition, since most of these companies are heavily regulated, protections are put in place to ensure a competitive process. Unfortunately, these protections are also geared towards large companies.  The end result is that the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PUC) requires buyers to use a competitive RFP process.

Well, the problem is that most solar owners don’t even know what an RFP is, let alone have the requirements in place to be eligible. This explains why most RFPs for SRECs are severely under-prescribed and why in late 2009, PPL successfully petitioned the PUC to lessen the credit requirements necessary to bid in their RFP. Instead of being required to have a credit rating and listing with an accredited credit agency, you now only needed to put up a letter of credit to bid on the opportunity to sell SRECs in minimum bundles of 500!

Fortunately, it seems that the PUC continues to re-evaluate this process and the constraints they have placed on the suppliers.  Most recently, they have proposed a change to their policy to allow suppliers to enter into a restricted volume of bi-lateral contracts that are also restricted in value by the average value of SRECs procured in the adjacent RFPs. You can read the proposal and we encourage you to submit your comments. While this is a step forward, we still believe that this will likely incentivize the same companies bidding on RFPs to just enter into the bi-lateral contracts, squeezing out the rest of the market.  We setup our auction to ensure a competitive process that is accessible to all market participants and hope that future iterations of PUC policy changes will better address the entire SREC market and allow more compliance buyers to enter into auctions like SRECTrade without having to jump through legal hoops in order to do so.

Conclusion: The Pennsylvania SREC market has an extremely promising future and all signs are pointing in the right direction. We believe that this is an iterative process. Looking back at the lead taken by New Jersey, their SREC program has been amended several times and it is now inspiring a prolific SREC market. Pennsylvania will continue to tweak its program until the market truly is more efficient and effective in promoting solar. Until then, we at SRECTrade are doing everything we can to bring buyers to the market, as well as set up other means for selling SRECs for our clients. The great news is that most facilities eligible in Pennsylvania are also likely to be eligible in DC and Ohio where in the short-term, SREC prices will be better. If you have any questions, as always, feel free to contact us.