Fast-improving technology and growing consumer interest continue to put momentum behind the clean energy transition. Unlike utilities and other industry players that have largely ignored growth opportunities as market dynamics shift, a coalition of independent solar companies is harnessing its combined power to command more influence in the marketplace. Amicus Solar Cooperative formed in Colorado in … Read More
Better technology and falling costs for years have buoyed the clean energy economy, steadily putting rooftop solar, energy efficiency, and other distributed energy resources within reach of more U.S. households and businesses. Still, many utilities remain averse to accommodating these amenities despite significant — and rising — demand in the marketplace. The disconnect between what customers … Read More
New Hampshire, home to some of the highest utility costs in the nation, could be fertile ground for community energy projects that promote lower-cost, renewable generation — especially after investors in one shared solar array pioneered a strategy to promote greater local ownership. Regulatory and legal roadblocks forced solar advocates in Keene to develop a comprehensive … Read More
In this 2017 episode of Local Energy Rules, John Farrell, director of ILSR’s Energy Democracy initiative spoke with Glenn Weinberg, who helped launch Westchester Power, a community choice aggregation program for 20 communities just north of New York City. … Read More
Determining exactly how much local renewable generation can reach Xcel Energy customers in Minnesota hinges in part on how many of these projects the existing grid can accommodate. To that end, the state’s Public Utilities Commission compelled the utility last year to report on more than 1,000 “feeders” delivering electricity to homes and businesses across its … Read More
In its filing on providing community solar incentives for residential subscribers, the Department outlined a loose framework for the “adder,” designed to encourage community solar developers to pursue projects accessible that target residential subscribers. The agency pitched an incentive worth $0.025 per kilowatt-hour, to be phased out over time. The residential adder discussion is part of … Read More
A federal policy enacted nearly 40 years ago has breathed life into an ongoing argument at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission over utility opposition to a wind-solar hybrid project proposed in the rural city of Red Lake Falls. The law, known as PURPA, was designed to promote local renewable generation by requiring utilities — even monopolies … Read More
Minnesota’s governor recently vetoed anti-renewables legislation that threatens rural solar development, but the bill’s likely resurgence means the state remains among a growing crop of Midwestern states facing the prospect of heavy-handed limitations on solar growth. The Minnesota legislation would have exempted rural electric cooperatives from all oversight of distributed generation policy by state regulators, putting … Read More
As more community solar is brought to market, however, important questions loom about access and the distribution of benefits.
Finding answers requires an intentional approach from regulators, developers, and utilities alike to ensure that low-income households, and others traditionally shut out of owning renewable generation, have a chance to opt in.
This month, ILSR submitted the following comments to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to inform its discussion of universal access to community solar. They are included below, lightly edited for clarity.… Read More