Interstate Renewable Energy Council

Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways

 
  1. Of the 14 active shared renewables programs in place today:
    • Two received A grades (14%)—Maryland and Washington, DC. These states have incorporated the majority of shared renewables best practices identified by IREC.
    • Six received B grades (43%)—Colorado, Delaware, Massachusetts (Virtual Net Metering), Minnesota, New Hampshire, and New York. Although these states have some room for improvement, their programs reflect many best practices and offer solid foundations for shared renewable energy development.
    • Five received C grades (36%)—California (Virtual Net Metering), Connecticut (Virtual Net Metering), Massachusetts (Neighborhood Net Metering), Maine, and Vermont. These programs may facilitate some shared renewables development. Their rules are typically restrictive in ways that undermine their success, however, especially with respect to bill credit valuation and/or project siting requirements, which are key elements of a robust program.
    • One received a D grade (7%)—California (Enhanced Community Renewables component of Green Tariff Shared Renewables). This program does not comport with many best practices, in particular with respect to bill credit valuation.
  2. Five more states have passed shared renewables legislation or are in the process of implementing rules for their programs—Connecticut (Shared Clean Energy Facilities), Hawaii, Illinois, Oregon, and Rhode Island. The rules for all state programs, whether they are graded on our Scorecard or not, are captured in IREC’s State Shared Renewable Energy Program Catalog.
  3. In scoring the programs, the bill credit valuation criteria where weighted the most heavily to reflect the foundational importance of a clearly and fairly valued bill credit to the success of a program. Ensuring that a program offers a fair value proposition to participants and tangible economic benefits on their utility bills is the second of IREC’s Five Guiding Principles for Shared Renewable Energy Programs.
  4. Criteria related to project siting requirements were also heavily weighted. Giving providers flexibility with respect to where they locate facilities—especially whether facilities are on-site, with some or all participants, or off-site—can maximize the options available to customers and help to drive down costs for customers, as well.
  5. Strong interconnection procedures are essential to supporting a successful shared renewable energy program. Only about a third of states received an ‘A’ grade from Freeing the Grid, indicating strong interconnection processes, and got credit accordingly. As the clogged queues in states like New York and Minnesota have demonstrated, inadequate interconnection procedures can undermine ambitious shared renewables efforts. (Fortunately, both states are now making strides to improve their processes.)
  6. About half of states include some kind of component to promote low- to moderate-income customer participation, such as a capacity carve-out or target. However only three states have in some way addressed financing barriers faced by low- to-moderate income participants, which tend to be the most significant obstacles to participation for these customers, as discussed in IREC’s Shared Renewable Energy for Low- to Moderate-Income Consumers: Policy Guidelines and Model Provisions. These states are California, Massachusetts, and New York; they receive additional credit in the Scorecard for doing so.
  7. To date, all state programs allow for third-party providers to own shared renewables facilities, as well as manage them with respect to program participation, including subscriber outreach and management. Allowing for third-party provider participation is an important way to promote fair market competition, in line with the fourth of IREC’s Five Guiding Principles, and all programs received credit accordingly.
  8. As the Catalog indicates, all state programs are relatively new, with the oldest programs having launched in 2008. Although the majority of states have some data tracking and reporting requirements (and receive Scorecard points accordingly), they vary widely in reporting frequency and granularity of data tracked. Therefore, although the Scorecard demonstrates how a given program scores as compared to best practices, it remains difficult to compare program success on an apples-to-apples basis.