District of Columbia Expands Community Solar with 2,337 New Systems

The District of Columbia’s Public Service Commission issued its Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Report (RPS), for compliance year 2021 to the D.C. Council. This year’s report, now available for public review, noted the significant expansion of RPS-certified solar facilities despite challenges stemming from the pandemic and other market fluctuations. The compliance year saw approval of 2,337 new RPS solar energy systems by the commission, including 2,077 districts systems. 82 of these were community renewable energy facilities. 

As of the year-end of 2021, there were 10,013 certified solar energy systems in the district. This translates to 154.7 MW of power. Of these district solar energy systems, 219 were CREFs – an increase of 210 RPS-certified CREFs since 2018. The report lists 12,955 certified solar energy systems for RPS.

The report also shows the commission exceeded the required solar capacity of 182.3MW to meet the 2021 2.5% solar requirement. Total RPS certified solar power was 191.8MW at year-end. They also contributed to the growth of CREFs through finalizing a rulemaking which capped distribution system upgrade costs-sharing at $500,000 per annum. The individual projects were limited to $25,000, or 50%, depending on the availability of funds.

The commission looked at non-CREF distribution system upgrades cost-sharing in a rulemaking. It also required Pepco to set up and maintain a public queue for interconnection to foster transparency and accountability, and improve interconnection process efficiency. This new online feature was launched in February 2022. It allows customers and developers to view information such the facility capacity, fuel type, and status of their application. The commission also observed a continued increase in solar energy facilities that were certified for the RPS Program in the first quarter of 2022 with 720 additional systems (including 42 CREFS).

“We are proud of progress that has occurred over the past year. The commission will continue to work with the leadership of the district and the community to reach our renewable energy goals. We look forward to continuing to support and enhance the district’s aggressive climate goals,” says Interim Chairman Emile C. Thompson. Chairman Thompson recently testified before the Committee on Business and Economic Development where he confirmed the Commission’s focus on reduction of greenhouse gas and other harmful emissions in FY2022 and FY2023.

The full report is available here.