Policy

NEM Grandfathering

Final Decision

CALSEIA Comments on Proposed Decision

CALSEIA/SEIA Reply Comments on Proposed Decision

CPUC Proposed Decision on NEM Transition Period

CALSEIA Opening Comments on NEM Transition Period

CALSEIA Reply Comments on NEM Transition Period

CALSEIA Supplemental Reply Comments on NEM Transition Period

Letter from Solar Companies

Letter from Customer Generators

Letter from Agricultural Interests

Press Release on Delivery of Petition

 

Weekly Permitting Update

March 24, 2014


GOVERNOR BROWN'S PERMITTING GUIDEBOOK 2.0

 

Governor Brown has called for a renewed effort to streamline permitting for solar energy systems as a way to cut costs, create more jobs and economic development, and make solar power affordable to more Californians. In 2011, the Governor's Office of Planning and Research issued a "California Solar Permitting Guidebook". That guidebook is now being updated and CALSEIA is working with OPR to ensure the strongest guidebook product possible. 

 

LEGISLATION:

AB 2188 (Muratsuchi) has been introduced. The bill aims to cut soft costs associated with permitting and inspections of solar energy systems.  The bill will be heard in Assembly Local Government Committee sometime this spring. 
CALSEIA's vision for the bill is to require the following:
  • Mandate that all cities and counties adopt an expedited permit process for all small, "cookie cutter," residential solar energy systems (under 10kW or 30 kWth).
  • For those systems that quality for expedited review, the permit process would include a simple checklist that would be published on-line, along with list of other required documents.
  • Submittal of the application would be over-the-counter or on-line, and handled within 24-hours of submission.
  • No plan check or discretionary reviews would be allowed.
  • Admission of electronic submittals would be mandatory and eventually everything would be done on-line through a single statewide website.
  • Inspections would be scheduled within 2-days of request or through a third-party inspection. 
 

Weekly Legislative Update

February 24, 2014


 

 

CALSEIA Weekly Regulatory Update

February 24, 2014

 

Confidential: This regulatory news update is provided as a service for CALSEIA members only. This document is NOT for public use. Please do not share, distribute, replicate, or circulate in any way. 


CPUC ACTIVITY

NEM Grandfathering

The long-awaited proposed decision on the transition period for the new net metering tariff was issued on Thursday, February 20. It sets the period at 20 years, meaning that anyone who interconnects by July 2017 will have net metering with full retail credit for the first 20 years of operation. After that, they will be transferred to a new tariff that is yet to be defined.  

It is important to note that the proposal may change over the next month. The PUC will make a final decision on March 27.

NEM Aggregation

Also on Feb. 20, the PUC approved PG&E’s NEM Aggregation tariff. This will allow property owners to aggregate multiple meters on a contiguous block of properties and net the generation and consumption of the properties as a whole. The tariffs for SCE and SDG&E are delayed because those utilities proposed meter fees far higher than what the PUC requested.

NEM 2.0

The biggest piece of AB 327 with regard to net metering is creating the “successor tariff” to the current net metering rules. The PUC proceeding on this question has not yet begun. CALSEIA is developing positions and analyzing the impacts of likely proposals.

Residential Rate Changes

The biggest piece of AB 327 with regard to rates removes the rate caps on Tiers 1 & 2 that have caused rates in Tiers 3 & 4 to balloon over the past decade.

Rate changes for 2014 will be mild, but the process is now underway to determine residential rate structure for 2015-2018, and those changes are likely to be very significant. The IOUs will file their proposals on February 28. They will probably include a severe flattening of tiers and a fixed charge of $10, as well as default time of use rates with no tiers. 

SCE Option R Rate

A prehearing conference on SCE’s annual rate design amendments was held on February 20. SCE is proposing not to expand the cap on Option R, meaning no new customers would be allowed to use the solar-friendly commercial rate. Parties reached consensus on a schedule that will result in the rate becoming active in January 2015 if we are successful in opening it back up.

PG&E A-6 Rate

In its current general rate case, PG&E has proposed limiting eligibility for the solar-friendly A-6 commercial rate to customers with peak demand lower than 75 kW, down from 500 kW today. Settlement negotiations on the overall rate case are ongoing, but have not begun to address A-6. The rate case is not expected to be concluded until late this year.

SDG&E TOU Periods

In its annual rate design proposal, SDG&E has proposed changing the time periods for time of use rates to move the peak from 11:00-6:00 to 2:00-9:00 during the summer and 5:00-9:00 during the winter. CALSEIA will file a protest on March 7. They also propose making TOU rates the default for all commercial customers.

Solar Water Heating

The pools program continues to operate under a flawed calculator and checklist. We are pressing the program administrators for changes. We have also begun advocating a proposal to change the incentive levels in the non-pools portion of the CSI-Thermal program.

NEM Eligibility for Battery-Backed Systems

Last year, the IOUs stopped approving interconnection under net metering of systems with battery backup. We expect the PUC to direct them resume allowing batteries under NEM. The proposed decision is expected any day.

Community Solar

SB 43 of 2013 required the IOUs to create programs for a green tariff and for shared renewables. In hearings last month, Administrative Law Judge Richard Clark ordered PG&E and SCE to improve their proposal for community-developed projects rather than just having an option for customers to pay more to be supplied by clean energy projects developed by the utility. PG&E filed their amendments on February 21. 

Smart Inverter Working Group

A pre-hearing conference on the recommendations of the Smart Inverter Working Group was held on February 19. All parties seemed to be on board with the Phase 1 functions that will help stabilize the grid at little additional cost for inverters. Nobody was trying to speed the process for adopting the recommendations of Phases 2 & 3 that could impact net metering credits for solar generators. Administrative Law Judge Regina DeAngelis appeared to be persuaded that it is important to consider these phases separately. She will issue a schedule for the proceeding soon.

Solar Statistics Database

Since many systems are being installed without CSI rebates, the CSI database is no longer an accurate representation of what is being installed in the state. The PUC has received comments on what the next generation database should include and how it should be managed. We are expecting a decision any day. We also expect data from 2013 will be backfilled.


 

CEC ACTIVITY

DG RECs in the RPS

The California Energy Commission has begun the process of updating the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Eligibility Guidebook. CALSEIA submitted comments recommending a reduction in costs for DG that could make it possible to sell renewable energy credits from distributed sources in the RPS market.

New Solar Homes Partnership 

The CEC is poised to issue a revised guidebook for the New Solar Homes Partnership, which provides rebates for incorporating solar electric systems into new construction. CALSEIA staff will meet with the CEC this week to better understand the potential changes and weigh in where appropriate.

 


CODES AND STANDARDS ACTIVITY 

State Fire Code UL 1703 Issue 

The California State Fire Marshal recently issued an Informational Bulletin explaining the current problems with compliance with UL 1703 and the need for an emergency rule to stay the regulations for 180 days to give industry time to comply with the new testing requirements. CalFire is expected to vote on staying the regulations on April 22nd.

State Building Code Backfeeding Breaker Issue

There appears to be some confusion within some AHJs (Santa Clarita and Fullerton have been reported to CALSEIA so far) about whether or not state building code is now requiring new fastener requirements for back feeding breakers. The interpretation negatively impacts solar installations and CALSEIA is working to eliminate the confusion in these jurisdictions and prevent it from spreading to others.

 


 

Confidential: This regulatory news update is provided as a service for CALSEIA members only. This document is NOT for public use. Please do not share, distribute, replicate, or circulate in any way. 

 

 
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