DC local government passed the Local Solar Expansion Amendment Act last month, ensuring the continued growth of solar power in the District. With this renewed local support for the solar industry, in addition to last year’s historic Inflation Reduction Act, switching to solar has never looked better.
The new bill is set to go into effect on March 16 and creates two primary changes to the DC solar market.
Increase the Amount of Required Solar Energy Produced within DC
The Local Solar Expansion Act increased the required amount of solar energy generated within the District from 10% to 15% by 2041. (Prior to this, The Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018 determined that 10% electricity must come from solar by 2041.)
This requirement provides special difficulties for utility companies within the District because of the lack of land for solar farms. If utility companies can’t fulfill this requirement, they must pay or buy Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) from other DC solar owners.
Adjusting Future Alternative Compliance Payments (ACP) Prices
According to the new bill, ACP prices will incrementally decrease by $20 until it reaches $300 in 2033. At that point it will remain at $300 until the end of the determined time period in 2041. The prices were previously set to drop from $500 to $400 next year.
ACP prices play a crucial role in balancing the District’s solar market because the utility company either needs to pay the ACP or buy one SREC for each mWh they fall short of producing. SRECs prices are essentially based on the ACP price: the higher the ACP, the more the utility is willing to pay for SRECs.
Compare the year to year incremental changes between the old bill and the new Local Solar Expansion Act with this chart.
While the ACP price will consistently decline until it reaches $300, the required solar energy produced in the District will steadily increase until it reaches 15% in 2041. Despite lowering the minimum ACP for utility companies, the increase in solar demand will keep the solar market stable for years to come.
All in all, The Local Solar Expansion Act’s updates will continue to incentivize DC residents and business owners to switch to solar. Now is just as good a time as ever to make the switch to solar!