Substitute Bill No. 336
February Session, 2018
AN ACT CONCERNING COMMUNITY SHARED SOLAR.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:
Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2018) (a) As used in this section:
(1) "Alternative bill credit" means a value-based bill credit equal to the value per kilowatt-hour of the production of energy as established by the authority pursuant to subdivision (4) of subsection (d) of this section;
(2) "Authority" means the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority;
(3) "Bill credit" means the monetary value of the electricity generated by the shared clean energy facility assigned to a subscriber to offset such subscriber's electricity bill;
(4) "Combined public benefits charge" means the combined charges from the systems benefit charge pursuant to section 16-245l of the general statutes, the assessment for the Energy Conservation and Load Management Fund pursuant to section 16-245m of the general statutes, and the assessment for the Clean Energy Fund pursuant to section 16-245n of the general statutes;
(5) "Electric distribution company" has the same meaning as provided in section 16-1 of the general statutes, as amended by this act;
(6) "Environmental justice community" has the same meaning as provided in subsection (a) of section 22a-20a of the general statutes;
(7) "Initial bill credit" means a bill credit equal to the cost per kilowatt-hour, including the transmission and distribution charges, but not including the combined public benefits charge, that the subscriber may have otherwise been charged for each kilowatt-hour produced by a shared clean energy facility that exceeds the total amount of kilowatt-hours used during an electric distribution company's monthly billing period;
(8) "Low-income subscriber" means an in-state retail end user of an electric distribution company (A) whose income does not exceed eighty per cent of the area median income as defined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, adjusted for family size, or (B) that is an affordable housing facility as defined in section 8-39a of the general statutes;
(9) "Low-income service organization" means a for-profit or nonprofit organization that provides service or assistance to low-income individuals;
(10) "Moderate-income subscriber" means an in-state retail end user of an electric distribution company whose income is between eighty per cent and one hundred per cent of the area median income as defined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, adjusted for family size;
(11) "Shared clean energy facility" means a Class I renewable energy source, as defined in section 16-1 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, that (A) is served by an electric distribution company, (B) is within the same electric distribution company service territory as the individual billing meters for subscriptions, (C) has a nameplate capacity rating of five megawatts or less, and (D) has at least two subscribers;
(12) "Small subscription" means a subscription that is equivalent to not more than twenty-five kilowatts of the nameplate capacity rating of a shared clean energy facility;
(13) "Subscriber" means an in-state retail end user of an electric distribution company who (A) has one or more subscriptions to a shared clean energy facility that is interconnected with such electric distribution company, and (B) has identified an individual billing meter that is located in the same electric distribution company service territory where the shared clean energy facility is located to which the subscription shall be assigned;
(14) "Subscriber organization" means any for profit or nonprofit entity that (A) owns or operates one or more shared clean energy facilities, or (B) contracts with a third-party entity to build, own or operate one or more shared clean energy facilities;
(15) "Subscription" means a contract between a subscriber and the subscriber organization for a percentage share of the output of a shared clean energy facility; and
(16) "Unassigned bill credit" means in any given electric distribution company monthly billing period, a bill credit generated by a shared clean energy facility that is not assigned to a subscriber.
(b) On or before December 1, 2018, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, in consultation with the Connecticut Green Bank, shall (1) conduct a public hearing and provide an opportunity for public comment regarding a shared clean energy program, and (2) establish a state-wide shared clean energy program and submit such program to the authority for approval.
(c) The shared clean energy program established pursuant to subsection (b) of this section shall:
(1) Be implemented by all electric distribution companies pursuant to tariffs approved by the authority;
(2) Permit a shared clean energy facility to be built, owned or operated by a subscriber organization or a third-party entity under contract with a subscriber organization;
(3) Permit the participation of shared clean energy facilities with a capacity of not less than three hundred megawatts in the aggregate;
(4) Set a program implementation schedule and identify the means by which the program will be promoted;
(5) Permit a shared clean energy facility to access (A) all available federal and state incentives, financing, tax credits and deductions, (B) Connecticut ratepayer-funded incentives, including, but not limited to, funds collected pursuant to section 16-245n of the general statutes, the zero-emission renewable energy credit program pursuant to section 16-244r of the general statutes and the low-emission renewable energy credit program pursuant to section 16-244t of the general statutes, and any successor programs, and (C) direct incentives from the Connecticut Green Bank or the conservation and load management program, provided any such access shall be pursuant to any applicable program requirements and limits, as amended from time to time;
(6) Permit the creation, financing and accessibility to retail electric customers of shared clean energy facilities;
(7) Permit all rate classes to participate in the program, including, but not limited to, customers on competitive supply service and promote accessibility of shared clean energy facilities to all customer classes, including, but not limited to, the consideration of incentives to encourage participation of small subscribers and low-income subscribers;
(8) Prohibit the removal of customers from their customer class as a condition of participation in the program;
(9) Identify all rules, fees and charges of subscriber organizations;
(10) Require nondiscriminatory and efficient rules for electric distribution companies for the interconnection of shared clean energy facilities;
(11) Include guidelines regarding the colocation of two or more shared clean energy facilities on a single parcel of land;
(12) Require that not less than fifty per cent of the total capacity of any individual shared clean energy facility with a nameplate capacity of more than five hundred kilowatts be sold to subscribers who purchase small subscriptions;
(13) On or before January 1, 2022, require that (A) not less than ten per cent of the total capacity of all shared clean energy facilities, in the aggregate, be sold to low-income subscribers, and (B) in addition to the requirement of subparagraph (A) of this subdivision, not less than ten per cent of the total capacity of all shared clean energy facilities, in the aggregate, be sold to low-income subscribers, moderate-income subscribers or low-income service organizations;
(14) Require a subscriber organization to (A) provide to the electric distribution company, on a monthly basis, a subscriber list indicating the percentage share of the shared clean energy facility's energy output that is attributable to each subscriber, (B) provide to the electric distribution company, on a monthly basis, subscription changes, if any, including, but not limited to, subscriber information updates to reflect new and cancelling subscribers, and (C) report to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Connecticut Green Bank, on January first and July first of each year, the number of subscribers and the income level and zip code of such subscribers;
(15) Permit a subscriber organization to accumulate bill credits and unassigned bill credits and require that such subscriber organization, at the end of each fiscal year, provide a list to the electric distribution company that assigns such bill credits to subscribers;
(16) Permit a subscriber organization for a shared clean energy facility that signed an interconnection service agreement prior to December 1, 2020, to use the initial bill credit or the alternative bill credit, once established pursuant to subdivision (4) of subsection (d) of this section;
(17) Require a subscriber organization for a shared clean energy facility that signed an interconnection service agreement on or after the date the alternative bill credit is approved to use the alternative bill credit, pursuant to subdivision (4) of subsection (d) of this section;
(18) Permit a subscriber to retain their subscription if such subscriber relocates to an electric meter within the same electric distribution company service territory;
(19) Require an electric distribution company to (A) apply bill credits to subscriber bills not later than one billing cycle following the billing cycle during which such credit was generated, provided if the value of the bill credit exceeds the amount owed by the subscriber the remaining value of such credit shall carry over from one monthly billing period to the next until the end of the fiscal year. At the end of each fiscal year, the electric distribution company shall compensate the subscriber at the avoided cost of energy, (B) on a monthly basis, in a standardized electronic format that is approved by the authority, provide to the subscriber organization a report stating the total value of bill credits generated by the shared clean energy facility in the prior month and the bill credit applied to each subscriber, and (C) upon receipt of written notice from a subscriber organization, bill a subscriber on behalf of such subscriber organization, provided (i) the subscriber has a small subscription, and (ii) such subscriber organization pays the electric distribution company's costs associated with billing and collection from such subscriber, as determined by the authority;
(20) Permit an electric distribution company to recover all reasonable costs and expenses prudently incurred for the implementation and operation of the shared clean energy program through a reconciling component of electric rates, as determined by the authority;
(21) Include provisions for consumer protection, including, but not limited to, identification of information that shall be provided to potential subscribers to ensure fair disclosure of future costs and benefits of subscriptions and disclaimers regarding the decoupling and sale of renewable energy credits;
(22) Include mechanisms to encourage participation in the program by residential, small commercial, low-income residential, nonprofit, and low-income service organization customers. In determining such mechanisms, the commissioner shall consult with the authority, electric distribution companies, stakeholders, the Connecticut Green Bank and the Department of Economic and Community Development and consider the development of financing options, financial incentives, education and outreach programs, program participation goals or requirements to encourage access for the customers described in this subdivision and identification of long-term funding sources to support the successful program adoption by low-income customers;
(23) Offer additional preferences, including tariffs, incentives and financing, to low-income subscribers and shared clean energy facilities that benefit subscribers who reside in environmental justice communities, as well as shared clean energy facilities with a nameplate capacity rating of five hundred kilowatts or less that meet programmatic goals including, but not limited to:
(A) The maximization of the benefits for low-income customers, development of at least one mechanism for low-income subscriber adoption, including low-income residential subscribers and low-income service organization subscribers, that is structured as an assistance program model to reduce the energy burden for such subscribers and integrates with complementary agencies, as identified by the commissioner and the Connecticut Green Bank, and programs, including, but not limited to, low-income energy assistance and efficiency services;
(B) Inclusion of workforce development opportunities for various communities, including, but not limited to, low-income and environmental justice communities; and
(C) Development of a process for regular program evaluation and adjustments to encourage participation by low-income and moderate-income residential customers, low-income affordable housing and low-income service organizations.
(d) After receipt of the program pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, the authority shall, on or before June 1, 2019:
(1) Establish a rule, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 of the general statutes;
(2) Establish a schedule to implement the program;
(3) Require each electric distribution company to file, on or before August 1, 2019, all tariffs, agreements and forms necessary to implement the program, as required by the authority; and
(4) Establish the rate of an alternative bill credit per kilowatt-hour for the energy produced by a shared clean energy facility. Such rate shall (A) be determined after a hearing that is conducted as a contested case, in accordance with chapter 54 of the general statutes, (B) account for the full costs and benefits of behind-the-meter distributed generation, including, but not limited to, avoided transmission and distribution costs, reliability, resiliency, market price suppression, avoided costs of compliance with environmental and public health requirements, benefits for low-income customers and other cobenefits, and (C) be simple and easily understood by customers, subscribers and subscriber organizations and shall ensure that the program meets the policy goals of this section, including project development and access to shared clean energy by all customer classes.
(e) Not later than one hundred eighty days after the finalization of the rule established pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (d) of this section, an electric distribution company shall (1) file with the authority a description of its crediting system, and (2) begin to credit subscribers.
Sec. 2. Section 16-1 of the 2018 supplement to the general statutes is amended by adding subsection (d) as follows (Effective October 1, 2018):
(NEW) (d) A subscriber organization, as defined in section 1 of this act, shall not be deemed to be a utility, public utility or public service company solely by virtue of the fact that such subscriber organization owns or operates or contracts with a third-party entity to build, own or operate a clean energy facility.
This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:
October 1, 2018
October 1, 2018
Statement of Legislative Commissioners:
In Section 1(a)(13)(A), "of" was changed to "to" for accuracy, in Section 1(a)(16) "company" was added after "electric distribution" for clarity, in Section (1)(c)(12), "is" was changed to "be" for internal consistency, in Section (1)(c)(13), "is" was changed to "be" twice for internal consistency, in Section (1)(c)(15), the comma after "bill credits" was deleted "and" was inserted for clarity, and in Section (1)(c)(23)(A), "To maximize" was changed to "The maximization of" for internal consistency.
Joint Favorable Subst. -LCO