Legislation passed in September removed barriers to program, allowing Delawareans to take advantage of fast-growing industry
Dover, DE — In response to a new law (SB2) that removes barriers to participation in Delaware’s community solar program, the Delaware Public Service Commission (PSC) has recently published final rules and regulations for the updated program, paving the way for Delmarva Power customers to begin applying for participation.
“This rulemaking is the final step to connecting Delmarva Power customers with community solar projects. The updates to our community solar program help spur further investment in this innovative industry and push us closer to our renewable energy goals,” said Senator Stephanie Hansen (D-10), the bill’s sponsor. She continued, “Community solar is an integral part of Delaware’s clean energy future and these program improvements put us on track for a robust program.”
Community solar projects are mid-size solar installations typically located on underutilized land such as brownfields, landfills, farms or large rooftops. The property owner can earn income by leasing space for the solar panels, and community members can choose to subscribe to the project, earning a credit on their electricity bill for their portion of the power produced each month. Subscriber benefits include supporting the clean energy economy while also getting predictable savings on their electricity bills. Cheaper than installing solar panels on your own home, community solar expands optionality and access to solar-generated power for all customers, including renters, residents of multi-unit buildings, homeowners with roof shading issues and low-income customers.
In addition to removing legal barriers such as requiring community solar project owners to identify its customers before the project is built, SB2 also expands community solar capacity to four megawatts and requires that at least 15 percent of its customers are low income. With the Delaware PSC’s final rulemaking, Delmarva Power customers will be soon able to apply to get credit on their electric bills by subscribing to a community solar project.
Dustyn Thompson, Advocacy and Outreach Organizer for Sierra Club Delaware Chapter said, “The Sierra Club Delaware Chapter is proud to have fought alongside CCSA for the strongest and most equitable community solar program possible for Delaware. We will continue to work together to expand access to local, clean, renewable energy that can finally help provide some relief to so many Delawareans struggling to pay their electric bills.”
Dale Davis, President of the Delaware Solar Energy Coalition said, “Now Delmarva Power ratepayers at all income levels will realize the benefits of solar power. Good, high-skilled jobs are already being created because of this program. Farmers are benefiting from additional sources of reliable income, and brownfield sites are being transformed from a liability to an environmentally positive future.”
“This rulemaking is such a valuable step forward for clean energy access, resilience and economic opportunity across the state,” said Laurel Passera, Senior Director for Policy and Regulatory Affairs at the Coalition for Community Solar Access. She continued, “We are incredibly grateful for the hard work of all collaborators, including Senator Stephanie Hansen, Delaware Public Service Commission Staff, Delmarva Power and Light, Delaware’s Public Advocate, Sierra Club’s Delaware chapter and the Delaware Solar Energy Coalition. We look forward to seeing more Delawareans gain access to community solar.”
Delaware’s Public Service Commission will begin accepting applications for developers of community solar projects on April 11, 2022. Applicants will be able to view the application beginning April 4, 2022 at https://depsc.delaware.gov/community-energy-facilities/. As applications are approved, Delmarva Power residents will receive more information on how they can participate.
The Coalition for Community Solar Access is a national coalition of businesses and non-profits working to expand customer choice and access to solar for all American households and businesses through community solar. Our mission is to empower every American energy consumer with the option to choose local, clean and affordable community solar. We work with customers, utilities, local stakeholders and policymakers to develop and implement policies and best practices that ensure community solar programs provide a win, win, win for all, starting with the customer. For more information, visit https://www.communitysolaraccess.org and follow the group on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.