The D.C. Council voted to pass Community Solar legislation on October 1, 2013. First introduced on January 8, 2013 the Community Renewable Energy Act of 2013 (CREA), promises to lower the barrier for going solar and diversify solar market participants by allowing DC ratepayers to subscribe to power from solar facilities that are not located on their property using Virtual Net Metering. Similar legislation has been passed in states like Maine, California, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Colorado. The bill is expected to be signed by the Mayor later this month and will become effective sometime thereafter.
How this might impact Washington, DC SRECs
DC is currently the only under-supplied SREC market. Approximately 288 MW of solar capacity is required by 2023. The 2013 RPS requirement is approximately 49 MW of which only 28 MW have been registered to date in GATS. Currently DC SREC prices are the highest of any SREC market at $480/SREC in recent transactions. And yet, despite the very rich SREC incentive in the District, build rates have been subdued. By opening up the market to more participants it’s possible that build rates and SREC availability will increase at a faster rate, impacting SREC pricing.
Here’s what’s in the Community Renewable Energy Act of 2013
- Community Energy Generating Facilities cannot be larger than 5 MW in capacity
- There can be as few as 2 subscribers to the power produced from eligible facilities
- Subscriptions cannot be for more than 120% of the subscriber’s 12 month electricity usage
- Subscriber accounts can only be adjusted once a month
- Utilities (Pepco) may be able to require all subscribers to be on the same billing cycle
- The owner(s) of the Community Energy Generating Facility owns the rights to SRECs produced from the power
- Power production will be tracked by a production meter installed by the Community Energy Generating Facility owner
- In months where subscribers receive credit for more power than they consume the excess power will be credited towards the next month’s electric bill
- Excess power credits at the end of the annual cycle (ends in April of each year) will be lost and reallocated to rate payers eligible for the District’s Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Requires adoption of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) interconnection standards within 6 months of the bill’s passage.
- The District Department of Energy and the District Sustainable Energy Utility are required to develop a proposal within 6 months for an equitable and creative program for financing community net metering projects.