ALBANY, N.Y.: A national scorecard released today by the independent Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) grades the nearly 20 state shared renewable energy programs (aka community solar). IREC’s National Shared Renewables Scorecard uses specific criteria to evaluate how each program stacks up against national best practices.
“More states are adopting shared renewable energy programs so more consumers can benefit from clean, renewable energy – including lower income households, multi-family dwellers and underserved communities,” says IREC President/CEO Larry Sherwood. “And they are realizing the economic and environmental benefits of these programs.”
“States play an important role in scaling successful shared renewables programs that benefit customers and increase the amount of clean energy on the electric grid,” says IREC Regulatory Director Sara Baldwin Auck. “IREC’s National Scorecard offers a glimpse into how states are performing relative to best practices and each other, shedding light on strengths and opportunities for improvement.”
The scorecard grades the 17 active shared renewables programs in 13 states plus Washington, D.C. (IL, NJ and OR are in the process of implementing new programs and are not yet graded.) Details of all state programs are in IREC’s Shared Renewables Policy Catalog. In addition to mandatory statewide programs, utilities in more than half of U.S. states are voluntarily creating shared solar programs.
“IREC’s scoring criteria reflect how shared renewable energy programs are performing — not just in terms of what policies and rules are in place, but also whether the programs are resulting in projects getting built and customers participating,” says Mari Hernandez, program manager with IREC.
GRADE SUMMARY (percentage of active programs)
A (12%)—Minnesota and New York. These states have incorporated majority of identified shared renewables best practices.
B (29%)—California (Virtual Net Metering), Colorado, Washington, D.C., Massachusetts (Virtual Net Metering) and Maryland. Have some room for improvement, but their programs reflect many best practices and offer solid foundations for shared renewable energy development.
C (47%)—Connecticut (Virtual Net Metering), Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts (Neighborhood Net Metering), Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. These programs lack key program components necessary for successful market development.
D (12%)—California (Enhanced Community Renewables component of Green Tariff Shared Renewables) and Connecticut (Shared Clean Energy Facility Pilot Program). These programs do not comport with many identified best practices, which could impede program effectiveness and market development.