Florida Senate - 2019                                    SB 1156
       By Senator Berman
       31-00764C-19                                          20191156__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the community solar program;
    3         creating s. 366.0751, F.S.; defining terms; specifying
    4         requirements for utilities; requiring utilities to
    5         begin crediting the subscriber accounts of each
    6         community solar facility in their respective service
    7         territories within a specified timeframe; requiring
    8         subscriber organizations to provide subscriber lists
    9         to utilities; providing that all environmental
   10         attributes associated with a community solar facility
   11         are the property of the subscriber organization;
   12         authorizing utilities to own or operate a community
   13         solar facility; requiring the Public Service
   14         Commission to adopt rules by a certain date which meet
   15         certain requirements; requiring the commission to make
   16         certain information relating to community solar
   17         facilities available on its website; requiring the
   18         commission to seek a third-party administrator for the
   19         program; specifying selection criteria for the
   20         administrator; requiring utilities to submit to the
   21         commission annual status reports that contain
   22         specified information; requiring the commission to
   23         review the program within a specified timeframe;
   24         authorizing the commission to propose certain program
   25         adjustments to achieve specified objectives; providing
   26         an effective date.
   28  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   30         Section 1. Section 366.0751, Florida Statutes, is created
   31  to read:
   32         366.0751 Community solar program.—
   33         (1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   34         (a) “Applicable bill credit rate” means the total aggregate
   35  retail rate charged to customers after the rate is reduced by
   36  the amount of a commission-approved charge, which is a fixed
   37  amount and does not include costs already recovered by the
   38  utility from community solar subscribers through other charges,
   39  to recover the cost to the utility incurred by integrating the
   40  generation from the community solar facility into the utility’s
   41  system and administering contracts with community solar facility
   42  owners.
   43         (b) “Bill credit” means the monetary value of the
   44  electricity generated by a community solar facility which is
   45  allocated to a subscriber to offset that subscriber’s
   46  electricity bill from a utility.
   47         (c) “Community solar facility” means a facility that
   48  generates electricity through a solar photovoltaic device
   49  whereby subscribers receive a bill credit for the electricity
   50  generated in proportion to the size of their subscription, and
   51  which:
   52         1. Is located in the service territory of a utility;
   53         2. Is connected to the electric distribution grid serving
   54  this state;
   55         3. Has a nameplate capacity rating of 10 megawatts or less
   56  of alternative current power;
   57         4. Has at least 10 subscribers;
   58         5. Has at least 50 percent of its capacity subscribed to by
   59  residential and small commercial customers with subscriptions of
   60  25 kilowatts or less; and
   61         6. Is not colocated with another community solar project on
   62  a single parcel of land or on a contiguous parcel of land if the
   63  nameplate rating of 10 megawatts is exceeded in the aggregate.
   64         (d) “Community solar program” or “program” means a program
   65  created to allow for the development of community solar
   66  facilities, which may include a colocation of a community solar
   67  facility or an energy storage facility.
   68         (e) “Energy storage” means technology that captures energy
   69  produced at one time for use at a later time.
   70         (f) “Low-income affordable housing provider” refers to a
   71  person or entity who owns, operates, or manages affordable
   72  housing units and who may qualify as a participant in a low
   73  income community solar project, if the provider passes along
   74  specific, identifiable, and quantifiable long-term benefits to
   75  tenants or residents.
   76         (g) “Low-income customer” means an individual or household
   77  with an adjusted gross income of not more than 80 percent of the
   78  area median income by county, adjusted for family size and
   79  revised every 5 years.
   80         (h) “Low-income service organization” means a for-profit or
   81  nonprofit organization whose primary function is to provide
   82  services or assistance to low-income individuals.
   83         (i) “Low-to-moderate income project” means a project in
   84  which at least 51 percent of its subscribers are low-income and
   85  moderate-income subscribers, which may include low-income
   86  households, low-income affordable housing providers, low-income
   87  service organizations, and moderate-income households, but must
   88  include at least 10 percent low-income households.
   89         (j) “Moderate-income customer” means an individual or
   90  household with an adjusted gross income of not more than 120
   91  percent of the area median income by county, adjusted for family
   92  size and revised every 5 years.
   93         (k) “Subscriber” means a retail electric customer of a
   94  utility who owns one or more subscriptions of a community solar
   95  facility that is interconnected with that utility and who is
   96  located in the same electric utility service territory where the
   97  community solar facility is located.
   98         (l) “Subscriber organization” means any for-profit or
   99  nonprofit entity that owns or operates one or more community
  100  solar facilities. The term may include a public utility. A
  101  subscriber organization is not a utility solely as a result of
  102  its ownership or operation of a community solar facility.
  103         (m) “Subscription” means a contract between a subscriber
  104  and the owner of the community solar facility.
  105         (n) “Total aggregate retail rate” means the total retail
  106  rate that would be charged to a subscriber if all electric rate
  107  components of the subscriber’s electric bill, including any
  108  riders or other additional tariffs, except for minimum monthly
  109  charges, such as meter reading fees or customer charges, were
  110  expressed as per-kilowatt-hour charges.
  111         (o) “Unsubscribed electricity” means electricity, measured
  112  in kilowatt hours, generated by a community solar facility which
  113  is not allocated to a subscriber.
  114         (p) “Utility” means a public utility that supplies
  115  electricity in this state.
  116         (2) PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION.—
  117         (a) A utility shall do all of the following:
  118         1. Provide a bill credit to a subscriber’s subsequent
  119  monthly electric bill for the proportional output of a community
  120  solar facility which is attributable to that subscriber. The
  121  value of the subscriber’s bill credit must be calculated by
  122  multiplying the subscriber’s portion of the kilowatt hour
  123  electricity production from the community solar facility by the
  124  subscriber’s applicable bill credit rate. If the amount of the
  125  bill credit exceeds the subscriber’s monthly bill, the overage
  126  amount must be carried over and applied to the next month’s bill
  127  and to subsequent billings as long as the overage exists.
  128         2.Provide the bill credits to a community solar facility’s
  129  subscribers for at least 25 years from the date on which the
  130  community solar facility is first interconnected.
  131         3.On a monthly basis and in a standardized electronic
  132  format, provide to a subscriber organization a report indicating
  133  the total value of bill credits generated by the community solar
  134  facility in the prior month, as well as the amount of the bill
  135  credit applied to each subscriber.
  136         4. Within 180 days after the rules required under
  137  subsection (3) are adopted, begin crediting subscriber accounts
  138  of each community solar facility interconnected in its service
  139  territory.
  140         (b) A subscriber organization shall, on a monthly basis and
  141  in a standardized electronic format, provide to the utility a
  142  subscriber list that indicates the generation of kilowatt hours
  143  attributable to each of the retail customers participating in a
  144  community solar facility in accordance with the subscriber’s
  145  portion of the facility’s output. Subscriber lists may be
  146  updated monthly to reflect canceling subscribers and to add new
  147  subscribers. The utility shall apply bill credits to subscriber
  148  bills within one billing cycle following the cycle during which
  149  the energy was generated by the community solar facility.
  150         (c) All environmental attributes associated with a
  151  community solar facility, including renewable energy
  152  certificates, are the property of the subscriber organization.
  153  At the subscriber organization’s discretion, those attributes
  154  may be distributed to subscribers, sold, accumulated, or
  155  retired.
  156         (d) To promote the development of community solar
  157  facilities in this state and to prevent the unfair leveraging of
  158  customer and electric distribution system information and
  159  competition by an investor-owned electric utility in a market,
  160  such utilities may own or operate a community solar facility
  161  only as provided in subsection (3).
  162         (e) Community solar projects or programs by investor-owned
  163  electric utilities must be regulated by the commission in
  164  accordance with this section to ensure that the interests of
  165  customers who subscribe to community solar facilities are
  166  protected and that those utilities are allowed to recover the
  167  reasonable costs for administering those programs.
  168         (3) RULES.—The commission shall adopt rules for the
  169  community solar program by November 1, 2020, and require each
  170  utility to file any tariffs, agreements, or forms necessary for
  171  implementing the program within 120 days after the commission
  172  adopts such rules. The rules must:
  173         (a) Establish goals for the procurement of electricity from
  174  community solar facilities in this state. The goals must include
  175  all of the following:
  176         1. A goal of, by 2023, at least 500 megawatts of community
  177  solar facility generating capacity where 40 percent of that
  178  capacity is reserved, on an annual basis, for low-to-moderate
  179  income projects; and
  180         2. A goal for the number of megawatts of community solar
  181  capacity added in each year after 2023, but which must be at
  182  least 100 megawatts per year, where 40 percent of that capacity
  183  is reserved, on an annual basis, for low-to-moderate income
  184  projects.
  185         (b) Establish requirements for community solar facilities
  186  and subscriber organizations which do all of the following:
  187         1. Require a community solar facility to have at least 10
  188  subscribers.
  189         2. Limit individual subscriptions to 120 percent of
  190  historical annual usage, with a deduction for the amount of any
  191  existing solar facilities located at the premises.
  192         3. Limit a single subscription to 40 percent of the
  193  generating capacity of a community solar facility.
  194         4. Require each community solar facility to be separately
  195  interconnected and metered.
  196         (c) Allow a community solar facility to be owned by an
  197  unregulated affiliated interest of a utility, if the utility
  198  demonstrates to the commission’s satisfaction that the utility
  199  has made the same customer-related and distribution system
  200  information available to any other for-profit or nonprofit
  201  entity requesting such information that the utility has made
  202  available to its unregulated affiliated interest.
  203         (d) Allow a community solar facility to be owned and
  204  operated by a utility as part of the community solar program
  205  capacity goals provided in subparagraph (a)1. if the utility
  206  submits a plan to the commission for approval which demonstrates
  207  that:
  208         1. Nonutility affiliated entities participating in the
  209  community solar program have not reasonably delivered community
  210  solar subscriptions to low-income customers, moderate-income
  211  customers, low-income affordable housing providers, and low
  212  income service organizations in a manner that achieves
  213  significant customer bill savings in the utility’s service
  214  territory;
  215         2. A low-income customer, low-income affordable housing
  216  provider, or low-income service organization will receive
  217  meaningful savings as a result of participating in the utility’s
  218  community solar facility;
  219         3. The utility intends to facilitate the participation of
  220  low-income customers, low-income affordable housing providers,
  221  or low-income service organizations by doing all of the
  222  following:
  223         a. Working with and compensating community-based
  224  organizations to facilitate subscriber enrollment, education,
  225  and management.
  226         b. Providing on-bill payment or financing for an ongoing
  227  subscription fee to increase access to solar for low-income
  228  households and other underserved customers.
  229         c. Providing favorable subscription terms, such as minimal
  230  contract lengths, no upfront fees, and no termination fees.
  231         d. Incorporating complementary programs, such as energy
  232  efficiency improvements, weatherization, and job training.
  233         e. Facilitating the siting of solar facilities in such a
  234  way that communities’ environmental justice concerns are
  235  addressed and the communities are meaningfully involved in the
  236  decisionmaking process.
  237         f. Ensuring the utility’s community solar facilities meet
  238  the definition of a low-to-moderate income project under
  239  subsection (1).
  240         g. Incorporating opportunities for periodic evaluation,
  241  public comment, and adjustment;
  242         4. Except for low-income customers, low-income affordable
  243  housing providers, and low-income service organizations, the
  244  cost of a solar facility and subscriptions for its capacity will
  245  not be subsidized by customers that do not subscribe for its
  246  capacity; and
  247         5. It is in the public interest to allow the utility to own
  248  a community solar facility.
  249         (e) Allow energy storage to be colocated with a community
  250  solar facility.
  251         (f) Reasonably allow for the creation and financing of
  252  community solar facilities.
  253         (g) Allow all customer classes to participate in the
  254  program, and ensure participation opportunities for all customer
  255  classes.
  256         (h) Prohibit the removal of a customer from his or her
  257  otherwise applicable customer class in order to participate in a
  258  community solar facility.
  259         (i) Not apply different requirements to utility and
  260  nonutility community solar facilities.
  261         (j) Reasonably allow for the transferability and
  262  portability of subscriptions, including allowing a subscriber to
  263  retain a subscription to a community solar facility if the
  264  subscriber moves within the same utility’s territory.
  265         (k) Require an owner of a community solar facility to
  266  provide real-time production data to the utility to facilitate
  267  incorporation of the community solar facility into the utility’s
  268  operation of its electric distribution system and to facilitate
  269  crediting individual subscribers with community solar bill
  270  credits.
  271         (l) Establish reasonable, uniform, efficient, and
  272  nondiscriminatory standards, fees, and processes for the
  273  interconnection of community solar facilities which will allow
  274  the utility to recover reasonable interconnection costs for each
  275  community solar facility.
  276         (m) Allow the utility to recover reasonable costs for
  277  administering the program.
  278         (n) Provide for consumer protection in accordance with
  279  existing laws.
  280         (o) Create a uniform disclosure form that identifies the
  281  information a subscriber organization must provide to potential
  282  subscribers, in both English and Spanish languages, to ensure
  283  fair disclosure of future costs and benefits of subscriptions,
  284  key contract terms, and other relevant, reasonable information
  285  pertaining to the subscription.
  286         (p) Guarantee significant savings for low-income customers,
  287  low-income affordable housing providers, and low-income service
  288  organizations participating in the program. In determining these
  289  mechanisms, the commission must ensure that:
  290         1. At least one of the mechanisms the commission adopts is
  291  structured to reduce the energy burden for participating low
  292  income customers at no cost to them and integrate with
  293  complementary programs, such as energy efficiency improvements,
  294  energy assistance, and others, in order to maximize benefits for
  295  participating low-income customers;
  296         2. The commission creates a stakeholder process with
  297  electric utilities, low-income and environmental justice
  298  stakeholders, the appropriate state agencies, and other
  299  interested persons to create and submit a plan to the commission
  300  by November 1, 2019, which identifies strategies to meet program
  301  goals for low-income customers, moderate-income customers, low
  302  income service organizations, and low-income affordable housing
  303  participation;
  304         3. A municipal customer, nonprofit customer, public entity,
  305  or institutional entity may exceed the 120 percent limit and 40
  306  percent subscription limit under paragraph (b) in order to
  307  assume the obligation for low-income customers of the community
  308  solar facility who default. In the event of a default, this
  309  allowance may be used for only 3 months per defaulting low
  310  income customer; and
  311         4. Among the measures adopted under this subsection, the
  312  commission and other state agencies adopt measures to
  313  facilitate:
  314         a. The acquisition and management of subscriptions for low
  315  income customers by subscriber organizations; and
  316         b. Any required payment for participation in a community
  317  solar facility by low-income customers via the electric utility
  318  bill.
  319         (q) Allow preference for low-income customers and projects
  320  under the program, including through bill credits, tariffs,
  321  incentives, or financial mechanisms associated with the program.
  322         (r) Include a list of programs and services that
  323  automatically qualify customers as low-income under the program.
  324         (s) Not limit the ability of a customer who has an existing
  325  solar energy system on his or her premises to subscribe to a
  326  community solar facility.
  327         (t) Provide that if the electricity output of a community
  328  solar facility is not fully subscribed in a given month, a
  329  subscriber organization may accumulate bill credits for the
  330  electricity generated by the community solar facility. Annually,
  331  the subscriber organization may elect to distribute excess bill
  332  credits to subscribers or the utility shall purchase the
  333  unsubscribed electricity at the utility’s applicable avoided
  334  energy costs approved by the commission plus a reasonable
  335  capacity value associated with the energy.
  336         (u) Allow utilities to develop a standard offer to purchase
  337  renewable energy credits from community solar facilities.
  338         (v) Unless a community solar project is owned by a utility,
  339  provide that the owners of or subscribers to a community solar
  340  facility are not public utilities subject to regulation by the
  341  commission solely as a result of their interest in a community
  342  solar facility.
  343         (w) Unless a community solar project is owned by a utility,
  344  provide that prices paid for subscriptions to capacity from
  345  community solar facilities are not subject to regulation by the
  346  commission.
  348  SUBSCRIBERS.—The commission shall make available on its website
  349  information regarding community solar facilities whose owners
  350  are seeking subscribers and any additional relevant information.
  351         (5) THIRD-PARTY PROGRAM ADMINISTRATOR.—The commission shall
  352  issue a request for proposals for a third-party program
  353  administrator to administer all or a portion of the community
  354  solar program. The third-party program administrator must be
  355  chosen through a competitive bid process that is based on
  356  selection criteria and requirements developed by the commission.
  357  The selection criteria must include, at a minimum, experience in
  358  administering low-income energy programs and overseeing
  359  statewide clean energy or energy efficiency services.
  360         (6) ANNUAL STATUS REPORTS.—Beginning within 2 years after
  361  the date the commission adopts rules required under subsection
  362  (3), each utility shall submit to the commission a publicly
  363  available annual status report that includes all of the
  364  following:
  365         1. The total number of participating customers by customer
  366  class.
  367         2. The total number of community solar facilities and the
  368  associated project capacity.
  369         3. The number of participating low-income customers,
  370  moderate-income customers, low-income affordable housing
  371  providers, and low-income service organizations.
  372         4. The total program capacity subscribed to by low-income
  373  customers, moderate-income customers, low-income affordable
  374  housing providers, and low-income service organizations.
  375         5. The number of colocated energy storage projects.
  376         6. Interconnection costs that are paid by owners or
  377  operators of community solar facilities.
  378         (7) COMMISSION REVIEW.—Within 5 years after adopting the
  379  rules required under this section, the commission shall:
  380         (a) Review the program and its rules to gauge their
  381  effectiveness in meeting the objectives of this section and make
  382  any adjustments necessary.
  383         (b) Include in the review an inclusive and transparent
  384  process to solicit feedback, including in-person meetings with
  385  groups that may not have the ability to participate in a formal
  386  process, and for interested persons to submit comments to the
  387  commission concerning the effectiveness of its rules to
  388  accomplish the objectives of this section.
  389         1. Considerations for measuring the effectiveness of the
  390  program must include all of the following:
  391         a. Information submitted as part of annual status reports.
  392         b. Mechanisms to support the participation by a diversity
  393  of subscriber types.
  394         c. Mechanisms to support successful creation, financing,
  395  and accessibility of community solar facilities in a way that
  396  encourages robust consumer participation.
  397         d. Siting and interconnection challenges.
  398         e. Consumer protection measures.
  399         2. Within 180 days after receiving comments and feedback,
  400  the commission may propose adjustments to the program which are
  401  designed to ensure that the development of community solar
  402  facilities accomplishes the objectives of this section.
  403         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.