Solar for All is the District of Columbia’s new solar energy initiative, established by the Renewable Portfolio Standard Expansion Amendment Act of 2016. The Act, which went into effect on October 8, 2016, is intended to increase the amount of solar energy generated in the District and to provide the benefits from locally generated solar power to small businesses, nonprofits, seniors, and low-income households.
Section 3(b) of the Act requires DOEE to develop and implement a Solar for All program to reach the specified solar access goals by December 31, 2032. The Act also requires the Department DOEE to develop an implementation plan for Solar for All.
To help guide the development of the implementation plan, DOEE established the Solar for All Task Force, which comprised 13 solar professionals in the private and nonprofit sectors, including solar development, affordable housing, and green workforce. The Task Force recommended ideas on effectively designing and implementing Solar for All. DOEE also released two Requests for Information to solicit ideas from the public and solar energy professionals on developing a long-term solar program in the District. The feedback and recommendations received through these efforts informed the findings, recommendations, and implementation strategies presented in the Solar for All Implementation Plan.
The Solar for All Implementation Plan, which has been submitted to the Council of the District of Columbia, includes the following elements:
- Background on solar energy and the District’s solar market;
- Findings and recommendations to address the challenges to increasing solar energy in the District and meeting the Solar for All goals set forth in the Act (e.g., number of low-income households that must be served, real estate barriers, grid capacity, customer education and acquisition, and regulatory concerns);
- Short-term actions to help achieve Solar for All goals through grants, strategic partnerships, zoning and building code improvements, real estate mapping, public engagement and education, enrollment in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and community solar project, and establishment of a District green bank; and
- Strategies to reach broader program goals through power purchase agreements, Solar Renewable Energy Credit risk management, and public-private partnerships.
DOEE has begun implementing the plan and recently released the Solar for All DC Innovation and Expansion Request for Applications; these solicitations seek to provide up to $13 million for local solar energy projects.