Minnesota, Oregon, New York case studies
Andrew P. Moratzka and Sara E. Bergan are attorneys at Stoel Rives LLP. Moratzka is a partner and the chair of the firm’s energy development practice group and focuses on litigation of various utility- and energy-related issues. Bergan is an energy law attorney who works primarily with renewable energy and cleantech clients on project development, project finance and energy and environmental regulatory matters.
Community solar began with a promise of vastly increasing access to solar. Today more than a dozen states have "shared solar" policies. The federal government has made it a priority (through the National Community Solar Partnership). And various stakeholders are claiming community solar has hit a critical tipping point, and is here to stay as an essential component of our energy future.
This spring, states across the country are testing the practical implementation of community solar and the promise of its broad reach. This article limits its review to three states that span the country east to west, and represent varying stages of community solar development.
In the east, New York launched a program recently, which is drawing heavily from the state's larger Reforming the Energy Vision proceeding, REV, that aims to redefine the future energy system. In the middle is Minnesota, with arguably the largest program, which is continuing to undergo significant program redesign. To the west is a largely yet-to-be-formed community solar program that was signed into law earlier this year as part of Oregon's Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Act.
Each of these states is actively attempting to address key challenges of shared solar. And each should be carefully monitored this spring.