Florida Senate - 2019 SB 1156 By Senator Berman 31-00764C-19 20191156__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to the community solar program; 3 creating s. 366.0751, F.S.; defining terms; specifying 4 requirements for utilities; requiring utilities to 5 begin crediting the subscriber accounts of each 6 community solar facility in their respective service 7 territories within a specified timeframe; requiring 8 subscriber organizations to provide subscriber lists 9 to utilities; providing that all environmental 10 attributes associated with a community solar facility 11 are the property of the subscriber organization; 12 authorizing utilities to own or operate a community 13 solar facility; requiring the Public Service 14 Commission to adopt rules by a certain date which meet 15 certain requirements; requiring the commission to make 16 certain information relating to community solar 17 facilities available on its website; requiring the 18 commission to seek a third-party administrator for the 19 program; specifying selection criteria for the 20 administrator; requiring utilities to submit to the 21 commission annual status reports that contain 22 specified information; requiring the commission to 23 review the program within a specified timeframe; 24 authorizing the commission to propose certain program 25 adjustments to achieve specified objectives; providing 26 an effective date. 27 28 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 29 30 Section 1. Section 366.0751, Florida Statutes, is created 31 to read: 32 366.0751 Community solar program.— 33 (1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term: 34 (a) “Applicable bill credit rate” means the total aggregate 35 retail rate charged to customers after the rate is reduced by 36 the amount of a commission-approved charge, which is a fixed 37 amount and does not include costs already recovered by the 38 utility from community solar subscribers through other charges, 39 to recover the cost to the utility incurred by integrating the 40 generation from the community solar facility into the utility’s 41 system and administering contracts with community solar facility 42 owners. 43 (b) “Bill credit” means the monetary value of the 44 electricity generated by a community solar facility which is 45 allocated to a subscriber to offset that subscriber’s 46 electricity bill from a utility. 47 (c) “Community solar facility” means a facility that 48 generates electricity through a solar photovoltaic device 49 whereby subscribers receive a bill credit for the electricity 50 generated in proportion to the size of their subscription, and 51 which: 52 1. Is located in the service territory of a utility; 53 2. Is connected to the electric distribution grid serving 54 this state; 55 3. Has a nameplate capacity rating of 10 megawatts or less 56 of alternative current power; 57 4. Has at least 10 subscribers; 58 5. Has at least 50 percent of its capacity subscribed to by 59 residential and small commercial customers with subscriptions of 60 25 kilowatts or less; and 61 6. Is not colocated with another community solar project on 62 a single parcel of land or on a contiguous parcel of land if the 63 nameplate rating of 10 megawatts is exceeded in the aggregate. 64 (d) “Community solar program” or “program” means a program 65 created to allow for the development of community solar 66 facilities, which may include a colocation of a community solar 67 facility or an energy storage facility. 68 (e) “Energy storage” means technology that captures energy 69 produced at one time for use at a later time. 70 (f) “Low-income affordable housing provider” refers to a 71 person or entity who owns, operates, or manages affordable 72 housing units and who may qualify as a participant in a low 73 income community solar project, if the provider passes along 74 specific, identifiable, and quantifiable long-term benefits to 75 tenants or residents. 76 (g) “Low-income customer” means an individual or household 77 with an adjusted gross income of not more than 80 percent of the 78 area median income by county, adjusted for family size and 79 revised every 5 years. 80 (h) “Low-income service organization” means a for-profit or 81 nonprofit organization whose primary function is to provide 82 services or assistance to low-income individuals. 83 (i) “Low-to-moderate income project” means a project in 84 which at least 51 percent of its subscribers are low-income and 85 moderate-income subscribers, which may include low-income 86 households, low-income affordable housing providers, low-income 87 service organizations, and moderate-income households, but must 88 include at least 10 percent low-income households. 89 (j) “Moderate-income customer” means an individual or 90 household with an adjusted gross income of not more than 120 91 percent of the area median income by county, adjusted for family 92 size and revised every 5 years. 93 (k) “Subscriber” means a retail electric customer of a 94 utility who owns one or more subscriptions of a community solar 95 facility that is interconnected with that utility and who is 96 located in the same electric utility service territory where the 97 community solar facility is located. 98 (l) “Subscriber organization” means any for-profit or 99 nonprofit entity that owns or operates one or more community 100 solar facilities. The term may include a public utility. A 101 subscriber organization is not a utility solely as a result of 102 its ownership or operation of a community solar facility. 103 (m) “Subscription” means a contract between a subscriber 104 and the owner of the community solar facility. 105 (n) “Total aggregate retail rate” means the total retail 106 rate that would be charged to a subscriber if all electric rate 107 components of the subscriber’s electric bill, including any 108 riders or other additional tariffs, except for minimum monthly 109 charges, such as meter reading fees or customer charges, were 110 expressed as per-kilowatt-hour charges. 111 (o) “Unsubscribed electricity” means electricity, measured 112 in kilowatt hours, generated by a community solar facility which 113 is not allocated to a subscriber. 114 (p) “Utility” means a public utility that supplies 115 electricity in this state. 116 (2) PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION.— 117 (a) A utility shall do all of the following: 118 1. Provide a bill credit to a subscriber’s subsequent 119 monthly electric bill for the proportional output of a community 120 solar facility which is attributable to that subscriber. The 121 value of the subscriber’s bill credit must be calculated by 122 multiplying the subscriber’s portion of the kilowatt hour 123 electricity production from the community solar facility by the 124 subscriber’s applicable bill credit rate. If the amount of the 125 bill credit exceeds the subscriber’s monthly bill, the overage 126 amount must be carried over and applied to the next month’s bill 127 and to subsequent billings as long as the overage exists. 128 2. Provide the bill credits to a community solar facility’s 129 subscribers for at least 25 years from the date on which the 130 community solar facility is first interconnected. 131 3. On a monthly basis and in a standardized electronic 132 format, provide to a subscriber organization a report indicating 133 the total value of bill credits generated by the community solar 134 facility in the prior month, as well as the amount of the bill 135 credit applied to each subscriber. 136 4. Within 180 days after the rules required under 137 subsection (3) are adopted, begin crediting subscriber accounts 138 of each community solar facility interconnected in its service 139 territory. 140 (b) A subscriber organization shall, on a monthly basis and 141 in a standardized electronic format, provide to the utility a 142 subscriber list that indicates the generation of kilowatt hours 143 attributable to each of the retail customers participating in a 144 community solar facility in accordance with the subscriber’s 145 portion of the facility’s output. Subscriber lists may be 146 updated monthly to reflect canceling subscribers and to add new 147 subscribers. The utility shall apply bill credits to subscriber 148 bills within one billing cycle following the cycle during which 149 the energy was generated by the community solar facility. 150 (c) All environmental attributes associated with a 151 community solar facility, including renewable energy 152 certificates, are the property of the subscriber organization. 153 At the subscriber organization’s discretion, those attributes 154 may be distributed to subscribers, sold, accumulated, or 155 retired. 156 (d) To promote the development of community solar 157 facilities in this state and to prevent the unfair leveraging of 158 customer and electric distribution system information and 159 competition by an investor-owned electric utility in a market, 160 such utilities may own or operate a community solar facility 161 only as provided in subsection (3). 162 (e) Community solar projects or programs by investor-owned 163 electric utilities must be regulated by the commission in 164 accordance with this section to ensure that the interests of 165 customers who subscribe to community solar facilities are 166 protected and that those utilities are allowed to recover the 167 reasonable costs for administering those programs. 168 (3) RULES.—The commission shall adopt rules for the 169 community solar program by November 1, 2020, and require each 170 utility to file any tariffs, agreements, or forms necessary for 171 implementing the program within 120 days after the commission 172 adopts such rules. The rules must: 173 (a) Establish goals for the procurement of electricity from 174 community solar facilities in this state. The goals must include 175 all of the following: 176 1. A goal of, by 2023, at least 500 megawatts of community 177 solar facility generating capacity where 40 percent of that 178 capacity is reserved, on an annual basis, for low-to-moderate 179 income projects; and 180 2. A goal for the number of megawatts of community solar 181 capacity added in each year after 2023, but which must be at 182 least 100 megawatts per year, where 40 percent of that capacity 183 is reserved, on an annual basis, for low-to-moderate income 184 projects. 185 (b) Establish requirements for community solar facilities 186 and subscriber organizations which do all of the following: 187 1. Require a community solar facility to have at least 10 188 subscribers. 189 2. Limit individual subscriptions to 120 percent of 190 historical annual usage, with a deduction for the amount of any 191 existing solar facilities located at the premises. 192 3. Limit a single subscription to 40 percent of the 193 generating capacity of a community solar facility. 194 4. Require each community solar facility to be separately 195 interconnected and metered. 196 (c) Allow a community solar facility to be owned by an 197 unregulated affiliated interest of a utility, if the utility 198 demonstrates to the commission’s satisfaction that the utility 199 has made the same customer-related and distribution system 200 information available to any other for-profit or nonprofit 201 entity requesting such information that the utility has made 202 available to its unregulated affiliated interest. 203 (d) Allow a community solar facility to be owned and 204 operated by a utility as part of the community solar program 205 capacity goals provided in subparagraph (a)1. if the utility 206 submits a plan to the commission for approval which demonstrates 207 that: 208 1. Nonutility affiliated entities participating in the 209 community solar program have not reasonably delivered community 210 solar subscriptions to low-income customers, moderate-income 211 customers, low-income affordable housing providers, and low 212 income service organizations in a manner that achieves 213 significant customer bill savings in the utility’s service 214 territory; 215 2. A low-income customer, low-income affordable housing 216 provider, or low-income service organization will receive 217 meaningful savings as a result of participating in the utility’s 218 community solar facility; 219 3. The utility intends to facilitate the participation of 220 low-income customers, low-income affordable housing providers, 221 or low-income service organizations by doing all of the 222 following: 223 a. Working with and compensating community-based 224 organizations to facilitate subscriber enrollment, education, 225 and management. 226 b. Providing on-bill payment or financing for an ongoing 227 subscription fee to increase access to solar for low-income 228 households and other underserved customers. 229 c. Providing favorable subscription terms, such as minimal 230 contract lengths, no upfront fees, and no termination fees. 231 d. Incorporating complementary programs, such as energy 232 efficiency improvements, weatherization, and job training. 233 e. Facilitating the siting of solar facilities in such a 234 way that communities’ environmental justice concerns are 235 addressed and the communities are meaningfully involved in the 236 decisionmaking process. 237 f. Ensuring the utility’s community solar facilities meet 238 the definition of a low-to-moderate income project under 239 subsection (1). 240 g. Incorporating opportunities for periodic evaluation, 241 public comment, and adjustment; 242 4. Except for low-income customers, low-income affordable 243 housing providers, and low-income service organizations, the 244 cost of a solar facility and subscriptions for its capacity will 245 not be subsidized by customers that do not subscribe for its 246 capacity; and 247 5. It is in the public interest to allow the utility to own 248 a community solar facility. 249 (e) Allow energy storage to be colocated with a community 250 solar facility. 251 (f) Reasonably allow for the creation and financing of 252 community solar facilities. 253 (g) Allow all customer classes to participate in the 254 program, and ensure participation opportunities for all customer 255 classes. 256 (h) Prohibit the removal of a customer from his or her 257 otherwise applicable customer class in order to participate in a 258 community solar facility. 259 (i) Not apply different requirements to utility and 260 nonutility community solar facilities. 261 (j) Reasonably allow for the transferability and 262 portability of subscriptions, including allowing a subscriber to 263 retain a subscription to a community solar facility if the 264 subscriber moves within the same utility’s territory. 265 (k) Require an owner of a community solar facility to 266 provide real-time production data to the utility to facilitate 267 incorporation of the community solar facility into the utility’s 268 operation of its electric distribution system and to facilitate 269 crediting individual subscribers with community solar bill 270 credits. 271 (l) Establish reasonable, uniform, efficient, and 272 nondiscriminatory standards, fees, and processes for the 273 interconnection of community solar facilities which will allow 274 the utility to recover reasonable interconnection costs for each 275 community solar facility. 276 (m) Allow the utility to recover reasonable costs for 277 administering the program. 278 (n) Provide for consumer protection in accordance with 279 existing laws. 280 (o) Create a uniform disclosure form that identifies the 281 information a subscriber organization must provide to potential 282 subscribers, in both English and Spanish languages, to ensure 283 fair disclosure of future costs and benefits of subscriptions, 284 key contract terms, and other relevant, reasonable information 285 pertaining to the subscription. 286 (p) Guarantee significant savings for low-income customers, 287 low-income affordable housing providers, and low-income service 288 organizations participating in the program. In determining these 289 mechanisms, the commission must ensure that: 290 1. At least one of the mechanisms the commission adopts is 291 structured to reduce the energy burden for participating low 292 income customers at no cost to them and integrate with 293 complementary programs, such as energy efficiency improvements, 294 energy assistance, and others, in order to maximize benefits for 295 participating low-income customers; 296 2. The commission creates a stakeholder process with 297 electric utilities, low-income and environmental justice 298 stakeholders, the appropriate state agencies, and other 299 interested persons to create and submit a plan to the commission 300 by November 1, 2019, which identifies strategies to meet program 301 goals for low-income customers, moderate-income customers, low 302 income service organizations, and low-income affordable housing 303 participation; 304 3. A municipal customer, nonprofit customer, public entity, 305 or institutional entity may exceed the 120 percent limit and 40 306 percent subscription limit under paragraph (b) in order to 307 assume the obligation for low-income customers of the community 308 solar facility who default. In the event of a default, this 309 allowance may be used for only 3 months per defaulting low 310 income customer; and 311 4. Among the measures adopted under this subsection, the 312 commission and other state agencies adopt measures to 313 facilitate: 314 a. The acquisition and management of subscriptions for low 315 income customers by subscriber organizations; and 316 b. Any required payment for participation in a community 317 solar facility by low-income customers via the electric utility 318 bill. 319 (q) Allow preference for low-income customers and projects 320 under the program, including through bill credits, tariffs, 321 incentives, or financial mechanisms associated with the program. 322 (r) Include a list of programs and services that 323 automatically qualify customers as low-income under the program. 324 (s) Not limit the ability of a customer who has an existing 325 solar energy system on his or her premises to subscribe to a 326 community solar facility. 327 (t) Provide that if the electricity output of a community 328 solar facility is not fully subscribed in a given month, a 329 subscriber organization may accumulate bill credits for the 330 electricity generated by the community solar facility. Annually, 331 the subscriber organization may elect to distribute excess bill 332 credits to subscribers or the utility shall purchase the 333 unsubscribed electricity at the utility’s applicable avoided 334 energy costs approved by the commission plus a reasonable 335 capacity value associated with the energy. 336 (u) Allow utilities to develop a standard offer to purchase 337 renewable energy credits from community solar facilities. 338 (v) Unless a community solar project is owned by a utility, 339 provide that the owners of or subscribers to a community solar 340 facility are not public utilities subject to regulation by the 341 commission solely as a result of their interest in a community 342 solar facility. 343 (w) Unless a community solar project is owned by a utility, 344 provide that prices paid for subscriptions to capacity from 345 community solar facilities are not subject to regulation by the 346 commission. 347 (4) INFORMATION FOR COMMUNITY SOLAR FACILITIES SEEKING 348 SUBSCRIBERS.—The commission shall make available on its website 349 information regarding community solar facilities whose owners 350 are seeking subscribers and any additional relevant information. 351 (5) THIRD-PARTY PROGRAM ADMINISTRATOR.—The commission shall 352 issue a request for proposals for a third-party program 353 administrator to administer all or a portion of the community 354 solar program. The third-party program administrator must be 355 chosen through a competitive bid process that is based on 356 selection criteria and requirements developed by the commission. 357 The selection criteria must include, at a minimum, experience in 358 administering low-income energy programs and overseeing 359 statewide clean energy or energy efficiency services. 360 (6) ANNUAL STATUS REPORTS.—Beginning within 2 years after 361 the date the commission adopts rules required under subsection 362 (3), each utility shall submit to the commission a publicly 363 available annual status report that includes all of the 364 following: 365 1. The total number of participating customers by customer 366 class. 367 2. The total number of community solar facilities and the 368 associated project capacity. 369 3. The number of participating low-income customers, 370 moderate-income customers, low-income affordable housing 371 providers, and low-income service organizations. 372 4. The total program capacity subscribed to by low-income 373 customers, moderate-income customers, low-income affordable 374 housing providers, and low-income service organizations. 375 5. The number of colocated energy storage projects. 376 6. Interconnection costs that are paid by owners or 377 operators of community solar facilities. 378 (7) COMMISSION REVIEW.—Within 5 years after adopting the 379 rules required under this section, the commission shall: 380 (a) Review the program and its rules to gauge their 381 effectiveness in meeting the objectives of this section and make 382 any adjustments necessary. 383 (b) Include in the review an inclusive and transparent 384 process to solicit feedback, including in-person meetings with 385 groups that may not have the ability to participate in a formal 386 process, and for interested persons to submit comments to the 387 commission concerning the effectiveness of its rules to 388 accomplish the objectives of this section. 389 1. Considerations for measuring the effectiveness of the 390 program must include all of the following: 391 a. Information submitted as part of annual status reports. 392 b. Mechanisms to support the participation by a diversity 393 of subscriber types. 394 c. Mechanisms to support successful creation, financing, 395 and accessibility of community solar facilities in a way that 396 encourages robust consumer participation. 397 d. Siting and interconnection challenges. 398 e. Consumer protection measures. 399 2. Within 180 days after receiving comments and feedback, 400 the commission may propose adjustments to the program which are 401 designed to ensure that the development of community solar 402 facilities accomplishes the objectives of this section. 403 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.