PRINTER'S NO. 1356
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
929
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY COSTA, SANTARSIERO, TARTAGLIONE, STREET, HAYWOOD,
HUGHES, BLAKE, KILLION, SCHWANK, DINNIMAN, YUDICHAK, MUTH,
BARTOLOTTA AND FARNESE, OCTOBER 31, 2019
REFERRED TO CONSUMER PROTECTION AND PROFESSIONAL LICENSURE,
OCTOBER 31, 2019
AN ACT
Providing for the establishment of local solar programs.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Local Solar
Program Act.
Section 2. Findings and declarations.
The General Assembly finds and declares as follows:
(1) Solar energy can provide jobs in communities in this
Commonwealth.
(2) Local solar energy generation within this
Commonwealth can contribute to environmental goals, including
reduction in air pollution.
(3) Local solar energy generation can foster economic
growth in Pennsylvania communities.
(4) Pennsylvania is a deregulated energy State, with
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competitive retail markets, making top-down renewable energy
programs more difficult to implement than in vertically
integrated states.
(5) Many Pennsylvanians are unable to participate in
solar energy generation because they are constrained by the
physical attributes of their home or business, such as roof
space, shading or ownership status.
(6) Low-income customers are generally unable to choose
to purchase renewable electricity through the retail market
due to utility program rules that prohibit shopping for
customer assistance program participants or put limits on
costs, which disqualifies renewable energy with its cost
premium.
(7) The intent of this act is to:
(i) Allow electric customers of this Commonwealth to
use electricity produced by local solar generation within
this Commonwealth.
(ii) Support the growth of solar energy projects
constructed in communities within this Commonwealth.
(iii) Allow low-income customers an opportunity to
participate in the green economy by electing renewable
energy from local solar generation within this
Commonwealth, while maintaining participation in customer
assistance programs.
Section 3. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Commission." The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
"Developer." A third-party entity under contract with the
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electric distribution company to build, own, operate and
maintain a local solar facility.
"Electric distribution company." As defined in 66 Pa.C.S. ยง
2803 (relating to definitions).
"Local solar facility." A facility that meets all of the
following:
(1) Generates electricity through the use of a
photovoltaic solar device.
(2) Is connected to the electric distribution grid
serving this Commonwealth.
(3) Is located in the service territory of an electric
distribution company under the jurisdiction of the
commission.
(4) Delivers electricity to the distribution system
operated by an electric distribution company operating within
this Commonwealth.
(5) Has a nameplate capacity which does not exceed three
megawatts.
(6) Limits single subscription to 10% of the local solar
facility output in kilowatt hours.
"Local solar program." A local solar program established
under section 4(a) offered by an electronic distribution
company.
"Low-income customer." An in-State retail end user of an
electric distribution company that qualifies for the electric
distribution company's customer assistance program.
"Subscriber." A retail customer of an electric distribution
company that elects to purchase electricity produced by a local
solar facility through a local solar program.
Section 4. Local solar programs.
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(a) Establishment.--An electric distribution company under
the jurisdiction of the commission may establish a local solar
program.
(b) Local solar facility construction and operation.--
(1) A local solar facility shall be constructed, owned,
operated and maintained by a developer under contract with
the electric distribution company. The developer may not be
owned or operated by the electric distribution company.
(2) A developer shall be selected by a request for
proposals open to any interested entity.
(3) An electric distribution company shall enter into a
long-term agreement with the developer, with a minimum term
of 15 years and a maximum term of 25 years.
(4) The agreement between developer and electric
distribution company shall clearly define the division of
responsibilities concerning program marketing, customer
service, metering and operation.
(5) The contract between developer and electric
distribution company shall be subject to approval by the
commission to ensure adequate consumer protections.
(c) Customer subscriptions.--
(1) Each customer served by an electric distribution
company that offers a local solar program shall be provided
an opportunity to subscribe to the local solar program of the
customer's electric distribution company.
(2) A subscription under paragraph (1) shall allow a
customer to purchase renewable electricity produced by a
local solar facility interconnected to the electric
distribution company's system.
(3) The cost of the solar energy shall be reflected in
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the per kilowatt hour charge for energy on the customer bill.
Subscription to a local solar program may not impact other
charges on a customer bill, including transmission and
distribution charges and customer fees.
(4) An electric distribution company may not charge a
sign-up fee or other additional charge to subscribers.
(5) A customer shall subscribe for their entire
electricity use per account. Subscriptions for a percentage
of account usage may not be offered.
(6) A customer may cancel their subscription at any
time. An electric distribution company may not apply
cancellation fees.
(7) The maximum size of a subscription shall be 10% of
the output from a local solar program, measured in kilowatt
hour of output.
(8) A subscription may be transferred to another service
address within the electric distribution company's service
territory until the customer cancels the subscription.
(9) A subscription shall be available on a first-come,
first-served basis. If a local solar program is fully
subscribed, the electric distribution company shall maintain
a wait list and allow additional customers to subscribe if
additional subscriptions become available, in the order of
the wait list.
(d) Cost recovery.--
(1) The cost of development of the local solar program
shall be factored into the rate charged to subscribers for
energy usage.
(2) An electric distribution company shall be allowed to
recover costs of program implementation, from each customer,
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subject to commission approval.
(e) Solar renewable energy credits.--Each solar renewable
energy credit generated by a local solar program shall count
toward the electric distribution company's compliance with the
act of November 30, 2004 (P.L.1672, No.213), known as the
Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act.
(f) Low-income customers.--
(1) A portion of a local solar facility's output in
kilowatt hours shall be reserved for subscription by low-
income customers. The amount of output reserved for low-
income participation shall be from a minimum of 5% to a
maximum of 15%.
(2) A low-income customer subscribing to a local solar
program shall remain eligible for an electric distribution
company's customer assistance program and shall remain
eligible to pay the same amount for electricity as the low-
income customer would if not subscribing to the local solar
program.
(g) Implementation and evaluation.--
(1) Within 120 days of the effective date of this
section, the commission shall establish procedures for
reviewing and approving local solar programs.
(2) The commission shall establish regulations for
approving the request for proposal process and results,
including the cost for energy, which shall be fixed over the
life of the contract.
(3) The commission shall establish a process for
evaluating local solar programs within the first year
following activation of the local solar program and not less
than every three years thereafter, to ensure that local solar
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programs are meeting the objectives of this act.
(h) Compensation to electric distribution company.--An
electric distribution company may recover reasonable
administrative costs associated with a local solar program,
subject to approval by the commission.
Section 5. Effective date.
This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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