The PSC decisions on the few remaining points of contention were mostly favorable to our view on how the program should be designed. A few highlights:
- Jurisdictions that impose an energy tax on a kwh basis will NOT be allowed to charge that tax to consumers of community solar. In making this incredibly positive ruling, the PSC cited the case of Montgomery County, but it applies to all jurisdictions. The PSC said that community solar should have the exact same net metering benefit as behind the meter (or rooftop) solar (not their exact words). This is a huge win for consumers and businesses who will be able to avoid these taxes simply by switching to community solar.
- The program queue will not be fully allocated for all three years immediately. Instead, we will now apply to be in the program for year one, and then next year there will be another queue. This is good for ensuring small and community based projects still have a chance to get in.
- Bonding requirements for Subscriber Organizations like Neighborhood Sun are still a little too high from our perspective, but we think they will be manageable.
- The PSC struck down an idea from their staff that would have added yet another layer of review to projects, which could have delayed projects from starting for another couple of months.
- The PSC ruled in favor of greater transparency on knowing about available program capacity.
- The PSC also ruled in favor of finding more ways to make this program fair for low income residents.
The PSC has given the utilities and staff 15 days from today to file the final clean copies of the tariffs. If all goes to plan, we believe the program will open in March!