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S. 2637: Establishment of Community Solar Programs Act of 2021


The text of the bill below is as of Aug 5, 2021 (Introduced).


II

117th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 2637

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

August 5, 2021

introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

A BILL

To amend the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 to require the consideration of a standard requiring electric utilities to offer community solar programs to ratepayers.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Establishment of Community Solar Programs Act of 2021.

2.

Establishment of community solar programs

(a)

In general

Section 111(d) of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2621(d)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(20)

Community solar programs

(A)

Definitions

In this paragraph:

(i)

Community solar facility

The term community solar facility means a solar power generating photovoltaic system (including any related onsite equipment, such as 1 or more energy storage devices) that—

(I)

has multiple subscribers who receive financial benefits directly attributable to the system;

(II)

is connected to a local distribution circuit of the electric utility;

(III)

is located either on or off the property of the applicable electric consumers; and

(IV)

may be owned by an electric utility, an electric consumer, or a third party.

(ii)

Community solar program

The term community solar program means a service provided by an electric utility to an electric consumer served by the electric utility through which the full value of electricity generated by a community solar facility may be used to offset charges billed to the electric consumer by the electric utility.

(B)

Standard

(i)

Non-Tribal utilities

Each electric utility that is not a Tribal utility shall offer a community solar program to which all ratepayers of the electric utility, including low-income ratepayers, have equitable and demonstrable access.

(ii)

Tribal utilities

(I)

In general

A Tribal utility may offer a community solar program.

(II)

Resources

A Tribal utility that offers a community solar program may leverage the resources made available to the Tribal utility under this Act to carry out that community solar program.

.

(b)

Compliance

(1)

Time limitations

Section 112(b) of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2622(b)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(7)
(A)

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this paragraph, each State regulatory authority (with respect to each electric utility for which the State has ratemaking authority) and each nonregulated electric utility shall commence consideration under section 111, or set a hearing date for consideration, with respect to the standard established by paragraph (20) of section 111(d).

(B)

Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this paragraph, each State regulatory authority (with respect to each electric utility for which the State has ratemaking authority), and each nonregulated electric utility shall complete the consideration and make the determination under section 111 with respect to the standard established by paragraph (20) of section 111(d).

.

(2)

Failure to comply

(A)

In general

Section 112(c) of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2622(c)) is amended—

(i)

by striking such paragraph (14) and all that follows through paragraphs (16) and inserting such paragraph (14). In the case of the standard established by paragraph (15) of section 111(d), the reference contained in this subsection to the date of enactment of this Act shall be deemed to be a reference to the date of enactment of that paragraph (15). In the case of the standards established by paragraphs (16); and

(ii)

by adding at the end the following: In the case of the standard established by paragraph (20) of section 111(d), the reference contained in this subsection to the date of enactment of this Act shall be deemed to be a reference to the date of enactment of that paragraph (20)..

(B)

Technical correction

(i)

In general

Section 1254(b) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Public Law 109–58; 119 Stat. 971) is amended—

(I)

by striking paragraph (2); and

(II)

by redesignating paragraph (3) as paragraph (2).

(ii)

Treatment

The amendment made by paragraph (2) of section 1254(b) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Public Law 109–58; 119 Stat. 971) (as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act) is void, and section 112(d) of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2622(d)) shall be in effect as if that amendment had not been enacted.

(3)

Prior State actions

(A)

In general

Section 112 of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2622) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(g)

Prior State actions

Subsections (b) and (c) shall not apply to the standard established by paragraph (20) of section 111(d) in the case of any electric utility in a State if, before the date of enactment of this subsection—

(1)

the State has implemented for the electric utility the standard (or a comparable standard);

(2)

the State regulatory authority for the State or the relevant nonregulated electric utility has conducted a proceeding to consider implementation of the standard (or a comparable standard) for the electric utility; or

(3)

the State legislature has voted on the implementation of the standard (or a comparable standard) for the electric utility.

.

(B)

Cross-reference

Section 124 of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2634) is amended—

(i)

by striking this subsection each place it appears and inserting this section; and

(ii)

by adding at the end the following: In the case of the standard established by paragraph (20) of section 111(d), the reference contained in this section to the date of enactment of this Act shall be deemed to be a reference to the date of enactment of that paragraph (20)..