Each year, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance tracks and scores states based on how their policies help or hinder local clean energy action. The states that score the highest let individuals and communities take charge and build the energy future that best suits local needs — whether it’s increased access to solar, efficient and affordable buildings, or choosing an electricity supplier who will create local jobs.
In the 2023 Community Power Scorecard, 4 states excelled, 14 states and the District of Columbia saw above average scores, 6 were average, 14 were mediocre, and 13 states received failing grades.
Read about Why ILSR’s Community Power Scorecard Matters.
States are awarded an A, B, C, D, or F letter grade. The 2023 scores are evaluated out of a total of 41 points. The scoring methodology and a breakdown of this year’s scores are available in this document.
Our scoring compiles data from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, DSIRE, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, PACENation, SolarReviews, and Vote Solar, as well as the data we regularly track on community solar, community choice aggregation, and state legislative changes in general. Last year’s scores are available in our 2022 Scorecard.
How Can Your State Get an “A” Community Power Score?
ILSR’s community power scorecard evaluates state policies as they are written, not their implementation. The work of advancing energy democracy requires continued advocacy, vigilance, and effort. An “A” grade does not mean that the work is done. Even in high-scoring states, like Massachusetts or California, advocates are still fighting for community power.
Policy and Regulatory Trends in 2022
States passed eight policies last year that impacted their 2023 community power scores.
California, Illinois, Maryland, and New Mexico each changed their interconnection rules for distributed energy resources. All four states added specific considerations for battery storage, which is something the Interstate Renewable Energy Council advocates for with its BATRIES interconnection reform package. Out of those states, only Maryland had a less-than-perfect interconnection grade, so Maryland’s community power score has increased by one point.
To compare state interconnection environments, among other policies, see our interactive Community Power Map.
The Washington and New Hampshire legislatures each demonstrated their desires to increase solar access with community solar policies that make specific accommodations for low-income subscribers (see Wash. HB1814 and N.H. SB270). California, by our grading criteria, did not receive any additional points for its new community solar policy — even though the policy is worthier than the state’s existing Enhanced Community Renewables program. Several other states explored, but did not implement community solar in 2022, including Arizona (see ILSR’s commentary), Ohio, and West Virginia.
Colorado’s General Assembly passed a law on building energy codes in 2022. The law sets the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code as the minimum requirement, while still allowing communities to set more stringent codes.
Lastly, several states lost points in 2022 for changing their net metering policies. Iowa and New York both added fees to self-generating customers. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission allowed the state’s utilities to switch to “instantaneous netting,” which dramatically reduces the value of customer-owned solar generation. California, which has been embroiled in the net metering debate for years, has finalized its latest net metering policy — a policy that slashes the solar compensation rate by up to 75 percent.
Click here for shareable images related to this year’s scorecard: states that excelled, states that did the worst, and regional comparisons.
This article originally posted at ilsr.org. For timely updates, follow John Farrell on Twitter, our energy work on Facebook, or sign up to get the Energy Democracy weekly update.