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S. 1108 (112th): 10 Million Solar Roofs Act of 2011

The text of the bill below is as of Feb 7, 2012 (Reported by Senate Committee).


II

Calendar No. 313

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 1108

[Report No. 112–144]

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 26, 2011

(for himself, Mr. Boozman, Mr. Bingaman, Mr. Coons, Mrs. Shaheen, Mr. Whitehouse, Mr. Lautenberg, and Mrs. Feinstein) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

February 7, 2012

Reported by , with an amendment

Omit the part struck through and insert the part printed in italic

A BILL

To provide local communities with tools to make solar permitting more efficient, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the 10 Million Solar Roofs Act of 2011.

2.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Best practices for solar permitting

The term best practices for solar permitting means 1 or more practices—

(A)

defined by the Secretary by regulation as—

(i)

promoting standardization and uniformity for local permitting requirements for solar energy across jurisdictions; and

(ii)
(I)

lowering the solar energy system installation costs associated with local permitting; or

(II)

expediting the local permitting process for solar energy; and

(B)

identified by the Secretary through consultation with—

(i)

local governments, including each local government that participates in the Rooftop Solar Challenge or other appropriate solar energy program of the Department of Energy; and

(ii)

members of the solar energy industry.

(2)

Challenge grant

The term challenge grant means a grant awarded under a competitive program to 1 or more applicants that achieve implementation of best practices for solar permitting.

(3)

Commitment to adopt best practices for solar permitting

The term commitment to adopt best practices for solar permitting means an agreement or memorandum of understanding between the head of a local government and the Secretary that contains—

(A)

an outline of steps that the local government commits to take to adopt best practices for solar permitting; and

(B)

a timeline for implementation of the steps described in subparagraph (A).

(4)

Installed nameplate capacity

The term installed nameplate capacity means the maximum output of a solar electric system under specific conditions designated by the manufacturer of the solar electric system.

(5)

Secretary

The term Secretary means the Secretary of Energy.

(6)

Solar energy system

The term solar energy system means rooftop or ground-mounted solar equipment—

(A)

that is used to generate electricity or heat water in the United States; and

(B)

with an installed nameplate capacity not exceeding 1 megawatt or the thermal equivalent of 1 megawatt.

3.

Tools for efficient installation of solar energy systems

(a)

In General

As soon as practicable after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall establish a program under which the Secretary shall provide competitive grants or challenge grants, or both, to local governments or consortia of local governments that have adopted or offer a commitment to adopt best practices for solar permitting for properties located in the United States.

(b)

Implementation

(1)

Solar certifications

The Secretary shall provide voluntary certification and recognition for local governments (including local governments that receive grants under paragraph (2)) that indicate that the local government has adopted best practices for solar permitting.

(2)

Competitive grants and challenge grants

(A)

In general

For each fiscal year, the Secretary shall award competitive grants or challenge grants, or both, to local governments and consortia of local governments to be used in accordance with this section.

(B)

Requirements

The Secretary shall adopt and implement criteria for awarding competitive grants or challenge grants, or both, under subparagraph (A) to local governments and consortia of local governments—

(i)

to promote greater standardization, efficiency, and uniformity for solar energy permitting across jurisdictions; and

(ii)

that would—

(I)

require that grant awards are provided only to local governments or consortia of local governments that have—

(aa)

adopted or offer a commitment to adopt best practices for solar permitting; and

(bb)

provided quantitative metrics to measure success;

(II)

ensure that grants are awarded to a diversity of geographic locations and recipients with different population sizes; and

(III)

provide a preference for grant applicants that have partnered with States, public utility commissions, or other stakeholders to adopt or enhance standards and policies to overcome other barriers to distributed generation (including interconnection and net metering).

(3)

Authorized use of funds for competitive grants

Subject to subsection (c), competitive grants provided under this section may be used for—

(A)

training for making, to the maximum extent practicable, the local permitting process for solar energy systems more standardized, efficient, and less expensive;

(B)

the development of materials, Internet-based tools and application processes, and other tools or information to make, to the maximum extent practicable, the local permitting process for solar energy systems more standardized, efficient, and less expensive;

(C)

solar energy system deployment projects or programs to pilot new permitting strategies or processes; and

(D)

other programs or projects to achieve the objectives described in subparagraphs (A) through (C), as determined by the Secretary.

(4)

Authorized use of funds for challenge grants

Subject to subsection (c), challenge grants provided under this section may be used for—

(A)

solar energy system deployment projects; and

(B)

programs to pilot new permitting strategies or processes.

(c)

Rescission for noncompliance

The Secretary shall rescind any amount of grant funds that the Secretary considers to be appropriate that is provided to any grant recipient that—

(1)

receives funds based on a commitment to adopt best practices for solar permitting; but

(2)

is unable to implement the steps necessary to adopt the best practices for solar permitting.

(d)

Non-Federal Share

The Secretary shall require that each entity that receives grant funds under this section shall be responsible for a matching amount (including in-kind services)—

(1)

established by the Secretary for each fiscal year for which funds are authorized; and

(2)

not to exceed 50 percent of the amount of the provided funds.

(e)

Administrative Expenses

(1)

In general

Not more than 5 percent of the amounts made available for each fiscal year under this section may be used to pay the administrative expenses of the Department of Energy that the Secretary determines to be necessary to carry out this Act (including expenses arising from monitoring and evaluation).

(2)

Grant recipients

Grant recipients may use not more than 5 percent of the amounts made available for each fiscal year under this section to pay for administrative expenses.

(f)

Coordination; consultation

To the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary shall consult with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Chief Executive of each grant recipient that receives funds under this section to ensure that each program or project carried out by each grant recipient through the use of the funds is coordinated with each other applicable incentive or financing program of the Federal Government or any other applicable program.

(g)

Goals

The goals of the United States, through this Act and any additional or existing incentive or research and development program, are—

(1)

to install distributed solar energy systems on not less than 10,000,000 properties located in the United States by December 31, 2020; and

(2)

to achieve cost reductions in the price of solar energy by December 31, 2020, consistent with the SunShot Initiative of the Department of Energy.

(h)

Reports

(1)

Report Regarding Additional Recommendations

Not later than 270 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate and the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives a report that contains additional recommendations that the Secretary determines to be necessary to achieve each goal described in subsection (g).

(2)

Report regarding progress of grant recipients

Not later than 2 years after the date on which funds are first made available under this section, the Secretary shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report that contains a description of the progress of grant recipients under this section in implementing and maintaining best practices for solar permitting.

(i)

Funding

(1)

In general

Of the amounts authorized to be appropriated under section 641(p)(3) of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (42 U.S.C. 17231(p)(3))section 399A(i)(1) of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (42 U.S.C. 6371h–1(i)(1)), the Secretary may use to carry out this section $50,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2012 through 2016.

(2)

Termination

Paragraph (1) shall terminate on October 1, 2016.

February 7, 2012

Reported with an amendment