D.C. sets solar standard for others to follow

By Zach Schalk on December 19, 2018

On Tuesday, the D.C. Council unanimously passed the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018. The legislation’s passage means Washington, D.C. will be powered with 100% renewable energy sources by 2032. This gives D.C. the most ambitious renewable energy standard in the country.

What’s in the bill

The bill includes several important measures to support the adoption of energy efficiency efforts—especially targeted for low- and moderate-income District residents—and electric vehicles. It requires the local utility to procure 80% of its electricity through agreements that will ensure new sources of renewable energy come onto the electric grid.

But we’re especially excited about the measures in this bill that will support local solar. The new law raises the solar carveout from the existing 5% by 2032 to 10% by 2041. This will boost demand for rooftop solar produced in the District itself. It also will stabilize the District’s SREC market by increasing bankability from three to five years and holding the alternative compliance payment (ACP) that the utility must pay if the solar carveout isn’t met steady at $300 through 2041. Stabilizing the SREC payments will ensure continued funding for the District’s Solar for All program.

Solar for All, a program of the District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and Environment, seeks to provide the benefits of solar electricity to 100,000 low-income households and reduce their energy bills by 50% by 2032. The program, which was established by the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Expansion Amendment Act of 2016, is funded by the Renewable Energy Development Fund (REDF). For more information about Solar for All visit: http://doee.dc.gov/solarforall.

Fighting for solar rights

We’re proud to have played a part in passing this historic legislation. Our solar co-ops have been organizing solar supporters across the District for more than a decade. Our solar army was on the front lines of the fights for improving solar access—including creating the community solar and Solar for All programs—and ratcheting up the renewable portfolio standard in the District to the nation leading level enshrined in law today.

We supported this bill since the beginning, and continue to be inspired by the passion demonstrated by solar supporters like you along the way. This is an exciting step forward for renewables and solar in the District. We hope D.C. can serve as a model for the rest of the country by putting rooftop solar at the cornerstone of its energy system and demonstrating the power of the strong community of solar supporters that helped get it there.