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Renewable Energy Tax Credits News Briefs - May 2016

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition plan, (S.B. 1547-B) into law March. 8. It enacts a new community solar program permitting utilities and third parties to own or operate a community-based renewable energy project. The bill also commits the state to eliminate its use of coal power by 2035 and doubles state mandates on renewable power by increasing the renewable portfolio standard for the state’s two biggest utilities to 50 percent by 2040. The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) is required to adopt rules implementing the community solar program no later than July 1, 2017.

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On March 16, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released the report, “Building Better Energy Efficiency Programs for Low-Income Households.” In the report, ACEEE details practices that program administrators use to overcome challenges associated with running low-income energy-efficiency programs, as well as explores strategies to incorporate underused technologies and measures into programs. The report concludes that energy-efficiency programs can provide critical assistance to households that struggle to keep up with the cost of energy, and can provide greater support to low-income households through energy and cost savings as well as a variety of associated health, safety and quality of life benefits.

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Stoel Rives announced March 11 the addition of Richard P. Bonnifield as a partner to its Washington, D.C., energy development team. Before joining Stoel Rives, Bonnifield was vice president, legal services of Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) Services Corporation. Before that, Bonnifield was the general counsel of the PSE&G Long Island Power Authority. Before his work at PSE&G, he was a partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Hall, Estill, Hardwick, Gable, Golden & Nelson PC.

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Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) announced March 3 the establishment of the PV Mounting System Manufacturers Committee (MSMC). This committee will work with other SEIA members to ensure the industry works together to advance solar products, services and policies. The committee will work closely with SEIA’s Codes and Standards Committee and will solicit input into the development of building and electrical codes and standards specific to PV racking and mounting. The committee will also promote clarity and cost-effective standardization and provide training and education on the best installation practices and procedures consistent with SEIA’s Solar Business Code. Participation in the PV Mounting System Manufacturers Committee will be open only to SEIA members.

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On March 9, SEIA and GTM Research released the report, “U.S. Solar Market Insight Report 2015 Year in Review.” GTM Research found that the solar market is set to grow 119 percent this year, forecasting that 16 gigawatts (GW) of solar will be installed in the United States in 2016, more than doubling the 7.3 GW installed in 2015. The report stated that utility-scale installations will represent 74 percent of the installations for the year, and that the residential and commercial markets will also experience strong growth in 2016. According to the report, however, U.S. solar is expected to drop on an annual basis due to the pull-in of utility photovoltaic (PV) demand in 2016. Cory Honeyman, GTM Research senior analyst, said in a press release that utility solar is expected to experience a reset in 2017, noting that between 2018 and 2020, the extension of the ITC will reboot market growth for utility PV and support continued growth in distributed solar as a growing number of states reach grid parity. By 2021, GTM Research expects the U.S. solar market to surpass 100 cumulative GW, with an annual install rate of 20 GW or more.

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