The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a declaratory order stating that sales by a developer of on-site solar generating projects to end-use customers do not constitute the sale or transmission of electric energy. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) says this decision marks a ‘major victory’ for the solar industry.
‘Recognizing that FERC does not have jurisdiction over on-site solar generating projects removes a great cloud of uncertainty about the role of third-party solar system owners and paves the way for greater, more cost-effective, solar deployments,’ states Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA.
‘In short, this decision allows solar companies to be just that – companies creating jobs and deploying more solar – and not have to be under the same regulatory system as utilities,’ he continues.
The declaratory order centers on a petition from solar energy services provider SunEdison LLC to confirm that ‘certain of its subsidiaries' sales to end-use customers do not constitute the sale of electric energy at wholesale in interstate commerce or the transmission of electric energy in interstate commerce for purposes of the Federal Power Act (FPA), nor involve jurisdictional rates for purposes of the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 2005 (PUHCA 2005).’ SunEdison also requested waivers regarding PUCHA 2005 implementation.
In its petition, SunEdison said its retail operations ‘are drowning in Commission-related paperwork,’ as the company is required to file a qualifying-facility self-certification for each operation wholesale operation and each retail operation. FERC's ruling, which provided SunEdison's requested confirmation regarding electric sales, concerns only the company's retail operations.
The additional PUCHA 2005 waivers were not granted. ‘Because qualifying facilities (QF) are already exempt from those provisions of our regulations for which SunEdison seeks waiver, and because QF status for facilities like those at issue here is easy to establish, we see no need to grant the waiver requested,’ FERC explained.