Councilmember Silverman Introduces Bill to Boost Solar Development

Today, At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman introduced legislation focused on boosting solar energy production across the District. The bill was co-introduced with support from eight Councilmembers and the Office of People’s Counsel.

“Solar energy is becoming a critical part of the District’s energy supply,” said Silverman. “As more solar panels are installed in the District, residents are gaining protection against rate spikes when oil and gas prices fluctuate and reducing the amount of carbon produced in the District.”

Compliance fees for energy producers who fail to hit their solar targets are slated to decrease each year starting in 2017. Further, Federal tax credits for solar installation are set to expire in 2016. “If we do not take action, the District will be at substantial risk of reduced growth in solar energy production and District residents may face energy prices that continue to fluctuate and increase,” Silverman stated.

The Solar Energy Amendment Act of 2015 will maintain existing compliance fees for energy producers which will help increase incentives for additional solar development in the District, as well as increase funds collected and deposited in the Renewable Energy Development Fund. These funds can be used to provide loans, grants, rebates, and other financial incentives to support the creation of new solar energy sources.

This bill will also focus the existing Renewable Energy Development Fund at households earning less than the DC metropolitan Area Median Income and add residential energy efficiency improvements as a permissible use of the fund. Energy efficiency is one of the most economically and environmentally sound ways of lowering utility costs and reducing carbon emissions.