found that the Net Value Billing Tariff (NVBT) policy these groups support ​“conflicts with federal law and does not meet the requirements” of AB 2316, the 2022 state law that ordered the CPUC to create an affordable and equitable community-solar program

California utilities argued that, unlike rooftop solar, batteries, electric-vehicle chargers and other distributed energy resources connected to the low-voltage distribution grid, which are subject to state jurisdiction, the community-solar and battery projects envisioned for NVBT fall under federal law that governs larger-scale generators operating in wholesale energy markets

nonprofit advocacy group for California utility customers stated that there is ​“no instance of FERC asserting jurisdiction over, or ordering changes to, a virtual net metering tariff or community renewable energy program approved pursuant to state law.”

Hymes appears to dismiss these points in Monday’s proposed decision, stating that ​“the NVBT proposals do not equate to retail rate programs but instead resemble wholesale electricity procurement.”

trade group representing solar developers which created the NVBT in 2021, excoriated the proposed decision in a Monday press release, stating that it ​“manages to both misinterpret federal law and our proposal, and ignores precedent that has been set by states deploying community solar for more than a decade.”

CPUC’s proposed decision also conflicts with the view of 20 California lawmakers involved in passing AB 2316, who in a September letter to the CPUC told the agency that the NVBT ​“most closely aligns with the intentions” of the law

proposed decision would order the state’s utilities to meet AB 2316’s mandate not via the NVBT, but by altering existing community-solar and wholesale-market distributed energy programs

California has less than 600 megawatts of large-scale distributed solar developed to date, compared to a total of 6.2 gigawatts in the 22 states with policies that support community-solar programs

CPUC Administrative Law Judge Kelly A. Hymes — who also crafted the CPUC’s rooftop-solar decision and another decision slashing compensation for shared solar systems for multifamily properties, schools and farms in most of the state — will cut off what may be the last viable avenue for non-utility-scale solar in a state that’s still far off pace to meet its clean-energy goals


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