Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vt., has signed into law Act 125, which doubles the size of PV projects – from 5 kW to 10 kW – that are allowed under the state's solar project registration program.
The statewide registration program was expanded by lawmakers after a successful initial implementation and to better cover the capacity required of larger residential and small commercial installations, according to Vermont-based renewable energy firm AllEarth Renewables.
With the expanded law, solar installations have a simple pre-determined process that reduces paperwork and uncertainty, and the law prescribes that they can be installed after 10 days. The new process replaces all permitting for ground- or roof-mounted solar systems 10 kW and smaller with a single basic registration form outlining the system components, configuration and compliance with interconnection requirements.
The local utility has 10 days to raise any interconnection issues; otherwise, a permit known as a Certificate of Public Good is granted and the project may be installed.
‘We need to continue advancing policies that cut unnecessary red tape and costs for small-scale renewables,’ says David Blittersdorf, president and CEO of AllEarth Renewables. ‘Doing so will drive down the barriers to solar, making it more competitive and leading to widespread adoption.’
Additionally, Act 125 expands Vermont's statewide CLEAN Program, known locally as the Standard Offer program, from 50 MW to 127.5 MW. The capacity of any distributed generation facility that provides ‘sufficient benefits to the operation and management of the electric grid’ as a result of its location or other characteristics will not count toward the overall program cap of 127.5 MW, notes advocacy group Clean Coalition.
‘This bill shows a viable pathway for states across the country to procure clean local energy and illuminates the significant locational benefits associated with generating wholesale energy close to where energy is used,’ says Craig Lewis, executive director of the Clean Coalition.