Solar power purchase agreements bill moves closer to passage after Senate Judiciary approval

The West Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee has introduced a bill to the full Senate that is designed to encourage consumers to invest in solar energy by excluding solar energy contracts from the Public Service Commission.

The committee signed on Monday Bill House 3310, which stipulates that solar-powered energy sources and are designed to meet the electrical needs only of the premises of a customer company that sells electricity is not a government job. , nor is production under the power of purchasing electricity. agreement with an electronic retailer.

Under the power purchase agreement, the presenter plans, authorizes, finances and implements solar energy systems on consumer property at little or no cost.

The customer buys the electricity system from the solar service provider for a specified period of time at a fixed price, usually less than the local consumer price, while the solar service provider receives a tax return and money from electronic advertising.

The Judiciary Committee moved the bill together after making an amendment to further provide that the agreements must be written in font-font font or uppercase so that there is no proper printing.

Charlotte Lane, chairwoman of the Public Service Commission, told the committee that her board supported the bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives in a vote of 83 to 16 on Wednesday.

The exclusion of the contract for the procurement of electricity from the Public Service Commission shall be conditional, with one condition being to consolidate all the procurement contracts and the balance sheet for each consumer shall not exceed 3%. % of customer demand. in the state in the last year.

That cover already exists for the net meter, which allows customers who generate their own electricity from solar energy to sell unused electricity in the line.

“The customer never returns the money,” Lane said. “This is to avoid cheese and the other customers who use electricity have no sense of harm as the customers spill out of the group of consumers using solar and outsourcing. from the line. “

One mode limits each generator so that solar power stations can only meet the electricity needs of a group of electricity vendors, not exceeding 25 kilowatts of residential customers, 500 kilowatts of commercial customers and 2,000 kilowatts of industrial customers.

“With [those boundaries], that’s a good balance,” Lane said.

John Scalzo, vice president of constitution and finance for Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power, has argued before the judicial committee that HB 3310 addresses the fixed price challenge of switching from one group of customers to another as those with power purchase agreements lead to the difference between paying consumers for electricity and non-payment depending on whether their electricity supply generates electricity at some point.

“There’s a little bit [of change], but it’s smart,” Scalzo said. “When the staff is looking at this, we try to create it so that we can continue to do it.”

Members of the Judiciary Committee Sen. Randy Smith, R-Tucker, and Sen. Rupie Phillips, R-Logan, who is also president and vice president of the Senate of Energy, Industry and Mines, expressed concern about the bill before giving evidence. Smith fears the law will invite consumers to “find” their energy sources by paying customers who do not follow suit, while Phillips expressed skepticism about the possibility that federal subsidies could go into effect. the development of solar energy that can be allowed. fire purchase agreement.

The bill has no tax credit and does not provide any state subsidies – something that Delegate Moore Capito, R-Kanawha, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee whose bill originated last week, emphasized in the House of Commons on Wednesday as he demanded that the bill be passed.

Autumn Long, regional director of Solar United Neighbors, an independent dedicated to solar education and consulting, approved HB 3310 to the committee.

“We’re excited to see this law continue,” Long said. “It’s something we support, and we’re excited to see that the relevant stakeholders in this discussion are in agreement about it.”