January 2021 solar coverage snapshots

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The fate of Illinois solar growth rests in the hands of lawmakers after the state ran out of incentives for renewable energy.

Solar ITC extended by 26% for two more years
Washington, DC

The solar investment tax credit (ITC) was extended under the $ 1.4 trillion federal spending package signed by President Donald Trump on Dec. 27. The ITC should decrease from 26% to 22% in 2021 and will stay at 26% for two more years. All markets will drop to a 22% tax credit in 2023 and the residential property market to 0%, while the commercial and utility market will receive a permanent 10% tax credit from 2024.

Michigan PSC Approves Lower Net Metering Rate for Consumers Energy’s Solar Customers
Lansing, Michigan

The Michigan Public Service Commission ruled that Consumers Energy can now pay solar customers less for net metering. Instead of receiving the full retail price for excess electricity sent to the grid, CE can pay you the electricity supply price minus transmission. As good news for the solar industry, CE has raised the cap on its distributed generation program from 1% to 2% and needs to conduct a third-party study to examine the costs and benefits of distributed energy resources such as solar.

Honolulu Mayor signs an ordinance to make sun exposure easier
Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed Bill 58, an ordinance to develop expedited approval procedures for solar and storage projects of 20 kW or less. An online approval process is set up with the invoice, allowing solar projects to be approved within 14 days of submission.

President-elect Biden elects the team to combat climate change
Washington, DC

President-elect Joe Biden has announced his selection for key climate and energy positions in his administration. He elected former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm to head the Department of Energy and former EPA chief Gina McCarthy to work with international climate commissioner John Kerry to advance domestic climate policy. The Biden-Harris Transition Team said in a statement: “This brilliant, tested and groundbreaking team will be ready on day one to meet the existential threat of climate change with a unified national response based on science and justice.”

New guide describes the potential for large solar projects in southwest Virginia
Southwest Virginia

The Solar Foundation and Solar Workgroup in Southwest Virginia have released a guide to help communities in Southwest Virginia develop large solar projects. The region has a long history of coal mining, and TSF says it has great potential for new solar energy development. The group wants to ensure that Southwest Virginia gets its share of solar projects kicked off by the Virginia Clean Economy Act.

The Illinois Power Agency officially closes all state incentives for renewable energy
Springfield, Illinois

The Illinois Power Agency announced the completion of all state renewable energy incentives, which the Path to 100 coalition says will effectively end its renewable energy program. The group says this move will prevent Illinois from meeting its policy requirement of 25% renewable energy by 2025, unless new laws are passed.

According to SEIA, the Dominion Energy Rate fall would undermine South Carolina’s Energy Freedom Act
Columbia, South Carolina

Dominion Energy filed a tariff case which, according to SEIA, ignores the intent of the Energy Freedom Act of 2019 in South Carolina. The law requires utility companies to submit net metering succession plans that avoid cost shifts and provide stability for solar customers. However, according to SEIA, Dominion’s plan is doing the opposite by adding network access fees and lowering the net metering rate.

DOE announces up to $ 45 million in research to advance solar hardware and systems integration
Washington, DC

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced a major investment in preparing the grid for a future inflow of solar energy. DOE is investing up to $ 45 million in solutions that will reliably inject large amounts of solar energy into the grid and ensure that American-made hardware in these installations takes precedence.

According to the Massachusetts State Auditor, tax laws for solar operators are out of date
Boston, Massachusetts

A report issued by the Massachusetts State Chartered Accountant found that state laws on taxes paid by solar energy producers to cities and towns are out of date, confusing, and could slow the adoption of solar energy. The auditor found that large commercial solar systems were able to avoid paying personal property taxes on their devices by taking advantage of a solar system exemption designed to support residential and small commercial solar systems.

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