Community Solar, Increasing RPS and the End of Coal-Fired Electricity – SB 1547 and SB 1572
Another major piece of legislation was SB 1547, moving electricity generation in Oregon away from coal by 2035 and doubles the Renewable Portfolio Standard for large utilities to 50% by. With its passage Oregon will become the first U.S. state to quit coal, eliminating the use of coal-fired power by 2035. SB1547 also establishes a program for small scale community renewable projects, and incentivizes development of electric vehicle infrastructure throughout the state. This is particularly important as we strive to address the threat of climate change. I believe that after much work in the session this bill strikes a good balance between phasing in clean energy sources for Oregon’s electricity supply while taking into account the needs of rate-payers.
Community Solar – SB 1572 Incorporated within the Coal to Clean/RPS increase was SB 1572, a bill that allows Oregonians to participate in the development and proportionately own part of a community solar project. This is an endeavor that I have been working on with Senator Beyer and solar advocates for several sessions. Now retail customers are able to subscribe to electricity generated by a community solar facility as an alternative to a private on-site solar installation program or purchasing utility scale solar energy. The renewable electricity is purchased by the utility and the subscriber then receives a credit on their’ electricity bill based on that generation, (minus some costs and other potential adjustments) just as if it were on their own roof.
Community solar gardens provide customers who otherwise can’t afford, rent their homes or don’t have the desire/ability to maintain solar panels on their roof access to renewable solar energy. Community solar represents fair access to Oregon ratepayers interested in participating in the costs and benefits of solar power, in addition to a smart and economically efficient means to enabling renewable energy development and generation in the state. Unlike the rest of SB1547 all community solar projects must be built in Oregon, strengthening our local economies, creating jobs and putting us on a path to meet renewable goals.