District of Columbia/EZ Policies

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EZ Policies for District of Columbia

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Policy Place Policy Type Active Implementing Sector Summary
Climate Action Plan (District of Columbia) District of Columbia Climate Policies Yes State/Province To lead by example, and to capitalize on the many benefits of energy efficiency and climate protection, the District Government is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% (below 2006 levels) by 2012, 30% by 2020, and 80% by 2050.
Community Development Block Grant/Economic Development Infrastructure Financing (United States) United States Grant Program
Loan Program
Yes Federal Community Development Block Grant/Economic Development Infrastructure Financing (CDBG/EDIF) provides public infrastructure financing to help communities grow jobs, enable new business startups and expansions for existing businesses. State programs help achieve the national objective of CDBG by funding projects in which at least 51 percent of the new jobs created are made available to low and moderate income individuals. The maximum amounts awarded under the program are $1 million for new businesses locating to the state and $500,000 for existing businesses expanding in the state.
DC Hazardous Waste Management (District of Columbia) District of Columbia Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province This regulation regulates the generation, storage, transportation, treatment, and disposal of hazardous waste, and wherever feasible, reduces or eliminates waste at the source. It is the policy of the District of Columbia that the generation of hazardous waste and the release of toxic chemicals is to be reduced or eliminated as quickly as possible.
Flood Zone Building Permits (District of Columbia) District of Columbia Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province Building permits are required for new construction and development in the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA). All development projects in SFHA must comply with Title 12 DCMR and Title 20 DCMR Chapter 31. The reviewing agencies review building permit applications and approve permits in accordance with the Floodplain Review Flowchart. Approval from all agencies must be obtained before a building permit can be issued by DCRA.
Forestry Policies (District of Columbia) District of Columbia Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province Forest policy and guidelines in Washington D.C. are focused on urban forestry, and are managed by the District Department of Transportation's Urban Forestry Administration. In 2010 The District completed its Assessment of Urban Forest Resources and Strategy. The Assessment includes discussion of the urban forest canopy's benefit of reduced energy consumption with respect to shade and insulation, as well as its mitigating effects to the impacts of climate change.
Fuel Mix and Emissions Disclosure (District of Columbia) District of Columbia Generation Disclosure Yes State/Territory Under regulations adopted by the D.C. Public Service Commission, all electricity suppliers and electricity companies operating in the District of Columbia must report to the Commission every six months the fuel mix of electricity sold and the emissions produced. The fuel mix report must be in a format similar to the information provided by the PJM Environmental Information Services (PJM EIS). Electricity suppliers and electricity companies must also provide a fuel mix report to customers twice annually, within the June and December billing cycles. Emissions information must be disclosed every six months on a pound per megawatt-hour (MWh) basis.
Industrial Discharge Permits (District of Columbia) District of Columbia Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province All businesses and government agencies discharging process wastewater to the public sewer system must report their activities to DC Water's Pretreatment Center. Wastewater discharge permits are required prior to discharging into the sewer system. This applies to industrial, commercial, or federal entities.
Industrial Revenue Bond Program (District of Columbia) District of Columbia Bond Program Yes State/Province The District provides below market bond financing to lower the costs of borrowing for qualified capital construction and renovation projects. The program is available to non-profits, institutions, charter schools, and private sector companies.
Interconnection Standards (District of Columbia) District of Columbia Interconnection Yes State/Territory In July 2006 the District of Columbia Public Service Commission (PSC) initiated a formal inquiry into the development of uniform interconnection procedures for on-site distributed generation systems. The PSC subsequently concluded that an interconnection standard was feasible and continued with the rule making process, culminating with the adoption of final interconnection regulations in February 2009 (DC PSC Order No. 15182). The rules apply to all distributed generation systems of 10 megawatts (MW) or smaller that are operated in parallel with the electric distribution system and are not subject to the interconnection requirements of the PJM Interconnection.

The interconnection rules set four levels of review for interconnection requests. A project must meet all of the requirements of a given classification in order to be eligible for that level of expedited review. The level of review required is generally based on system capacity, whether system components are certified, and the type of distribution circuit to which a facility will be connected. The basic definitions* for each level are as follows:

  • Level 1: Certified, inverter-based systems with a capacity rating of 10 kilowatts (kW) or less.
  • Level 2: Certified systems with a capacity of 2 MW or less, connected to a radial distribution network or a spot network serving one customer. Area network connections are not permitted under Level 2.
  • Level 3: Only applies to systems that will not export power to the grid. For area networks (3A), systems must be certified and have a capacity of 50 kW or less; or for radial distribution networks (3B), systems must have a capacity rating of 10 MW or less.
  • Level 4: Systems with a capacity of 10 MW or less that do not meet the criteria for inclusion in a lower tier, generally including all systems that require additional construction by the utility in order accommodate the facility.

The interconnection regulations generally use IEEE 1547 as a technical standard for evaluation of all levels of interconnection. Systems are considered to be lab-certified if the components have been evaluated by a nationally recognized testing laboratory as compliant with UL 1741 (inverters) and IEEE 1547.1. The rules specify the technical screens which may be applied to applications at each level of review and time limits for different stages of the evaluation process. Generally speaking, higher level applications are subject to more intensive screening and longer time limits.

A lockable external disconnect switch is not required for Level 1 interconnections, but is required for Levels 2 – 4. Facilities larger than 1 MW must carry general liability insurance with coverage of at least $2 million per occurrence and $4 million in aggregate, and the policy must also name the utility as an additional insured party. Standardized interconnection agreements are available for all four levels of review and are available in the February 2009 PSC Notice of Final Rulemaking. The interconnection agreements for all four levels are attached to the final rules. The rules and accompanying standard forms also contain details regarding application fees and avenues for dispute resolution.

History The PSC adopted net-metering rules in February 2005 for residential and commercial electric customers with renewable-energy systems, fuel cells, cogeneration and microturbines up to 100 kilowatts (kW) in capacity. In January 2007 the PSC approved a net-metering tariff filed by Pepco -- the only electric distribution company that serves the District -- which also contained certain technical standards for net metered facilities. Prior to this, in 2003, Pepco had filed an interconnection tariff to address larger qualifying facilities (QFs) under PURPA.

*The definitions here cover several important classification criteria; however, interested parties should consult the actual rule for more precise definitions and additional restrictions.
Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (Multiple States) District of Columbia
Maryland
Pennsylvania
Virginia
West Virginia
Environmental Regulations
Siting and Permitting
Yes Local The Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin's (ICPRB) mission is to enhance, protect, and conserve the water and associated land resources of the Potomac River and its tributaries through regional and interstate cooperation. The IPCRB administers an interstate compact, authorized by Congress in 1940, which aims to help the Potomac basin states and the federal government to enhance, protect, and conserve the water and associated land resources of the Potomac River basin. The Commission is responsible for regulating and controlling pollution impacts and water uses. The Commission provides planning coordination for the development and use of the water and associated land resources through cooperation with, and support and coordination of, the activities of federal, state, local and private agencies, groups, and interests concerned with the development, utilization and conservation of the water and associated land resources.
Major Source Permits (District of Columbia) District of Columbia Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province The District reviews designs for new pollution sources and design modifications for existing sources. Permits are issued to allow sources to emit limited and specified amounts of pollution as allowed by air quality laws and regulations. Major sources include power plants, heating plants, and large printing facilities. Three types of permits are issued: pre-construction review permits; new source review permits; and operating permits. These permits include conditions intended to minimize emissions of air pollutants and ensure proper operation of the regulated source.
Net Metering (District of Columbia) District of Columbia Net Metering Yes State/Territory In the District of Columbia (DC), net metering is currently available to residential and commercial customer-generators with systems powered by renewable-energy sources, combined heat and power (CHP), fuel cells and microturbines, with a maximum capacity of 1 megawatt (MW). The term "renewable energy sources" is defined as solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, biomass, hydroelectric power and digester gas. In October 2008, the Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008 (Council Bill 17-492) expanded the limit on individual system size from 100 kilowatts (kW) to 1 MW . On June 11, 2010, DC PSC issued Order No. 15837 adopting final Net Energy Metering (NEM) Rules and directing Pepco to file a new NEM tariff and standard contract consistent with the Commission’s Notice of Final Rulemaking (NOFR). The NOFR was issued in the D.C. Register on June 18, 2010.

The District's net-metering rules specify that metering equipment must be capable of measuring the flow of electricity in two directions. Utilities are not prohibited from installing an additional meter on the facilities of eligible customer-generators, but utilities that choose to do so must pay for the added cost of the second meter and/or other necessary equipment. Compensation for monthly net excess generation (NEG) varies based on the size of the generator. For systems of 100 kW or less, NEG is credited to the customer's next bill at the full retail rate, which includes generation, transmission, and distribution components.* For systems with capacities of, or greater than, 100 kW, NEG is credited to the customer's next bill at the generation rate. Credits for NEG are expressed as a dollar value on the customer's bill and may be carried forward indefinitely.

Utilities (i.e., Pepco) must offer a standard net-metering contract approved by the PSC. The District's net metering rules also contain sections addressing net metering for customers of competitive electricity suppliers. The rules for crediting NEG are essentially the same as those used for customer-generators that receive standard offer service, but it should be noted that competitive suppliers are not required to offer net metering if they do not choose to do so.

*In June 2008, the DC PSC clarified that Pepco (PSC Order No. 14840) must award net-metered customers credit at the utility's full retail rate for the electricity they generate during a billing cycle. This provision remains in the current rules for systems of 100 kW or less.
PJM Interconnection (Multiple States) Delaware
Illinois
Indiana
Kentucky
Maryland
Michigan
New Jersey
North Carolina
Ohio
Pennsylvania
Tennessee
Virginia
West Virginia
District of Columbia
Interconnection Yes Non-Profit PJM (originally Pennsylvania, Jersey, Maryland) Interconnection is a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. The PJM region has an area of 214,000 square miles, a population of about 60 million and a peak demand of 163,848 megawatts.
Qualifying RPS State Export Markets (District of Columbia) District of Columbia Renewables Portfolio Standards and Goals Yes State/Province This entry lists the states with Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) policies that accept generation located in District of Columbia as eligible sources towards their RPS targets or goals. For specific information with regard to eligible technologies or other restrictions which may vary by state, see the RPS policy entries for the individual states, shown below in the Authority listings. Typically energy must be delivered to an in-state utility or Load Serving Entity, and often only a portion of compliance targets may be met by out-of-state generation. In addition to geographic and energy delivery requirements, ownership, registry, and other requirements may apply, such as resource eligibility, generator vintage and capacity limitations, as well as limits on Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) vintage. The listing applies to RPS Main Tiers only, and excludes solar or distributed generation that may require interconnection only within the RPS state. This assessment is based on energy delivery requirements and reasonable transmission availability. Acceptance of unbundled RECs varies. There may be additional sales opportunities in RPS states outside the Eastern Interconnection. REC prices in markets with voluntary goals (Indiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Virginia) may be lower.
Renewable Energy Incentive Program (District of Columbia) District of Columbia State Rebate Program No State/Territory In February 2009, the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) introduced the Renewable Energy Incentive Program (REIP), a rebate for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. In April 2012, solar thermal systems became eligible for the REIP program. The REIP is funded through the Sustainable Energy Trust Fund which is supported by a public benefits charge on utility bills. Funding for the program is available on a first-come, first-served basis until the funds are fully committed.


Eligibility


Most PEPCO customers within the District of Columbia are eligible for incentives under this program; however, the federal government, the D.C. government, and public schools are specifically identified as ineligible. PV systems must be at least 1 kW in order to qualify and should be sized not to exceed on-site energy consumption as measured for the previous 12 months. There is no maximum system size, although incentives are capped at $10,000 per site per fiscal year. Solar thermal systems should be sized tooffset minimum of 10,000kWth (341.2 Therms) of energy per year. Maximum incentives for solar thermal are capped at $2,000 for residential and $6,000 for non-residential projects.


Projects must be located within the District of Columbia and applicants must be customers of PEPCO. Projects receiving incentives must be grid-connected and must follow the interconnection, operation, and metering guidelines set by Pepco and the DC Public Service Commission. Large systems must have remote communication capabilities for monitoring of the performance meter. Third party ownership by Certified Business Enterprise is allowed.


Program Description


The incentives for Solar Thermal residential systems are 20% of the installed cost up to a maximum of $2,000. The incentives for solar thermal non-residential systems are 20% of installed cost up to a maximum of $6,000. The current incentive for PV systems is $0.50/watt. The project must be completed within 6 months after the date the incentive request is approved.


Applicants must get a site assessment and conduct a pre-qualification application to get a reservation number. Once the pre-qualification application is approved, the applicant must complete a final application. If funds run out for a given year, applicants hold their place in line for one year with their reservation number and may receive funding the next year. The system must be completed within six months of the award date. If the system is not completed, the applicant may apply for a six month extension. If the system is not completed at the end of the extension, then the rebate must be returned to DDOE.


For more information, additional requirements and program history please view the Solar PV Program Guidelines or Solar Thermal Program Guidelines.

* While the this level of funding remains memorialized in the D.C. Code, funding for the program has been diverted to other uses at least twice in the recent past. The authorized amount of $ 1.1 million for Fiscal Year 2011, $2 million in Fiscal Year 2012, and $1 million for Fiscal Year 2013.
Renewables Portfolio Standard (District of Columbia) District of Columbia Renewables Portfolio Standard Yes State/Territory In January 2005, the District of Columbia Council enacted a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that applies to all retail electricity sales in the District. In October 2008 the RPS was amended by the Clean and Affordable Energy Act (CAEA) of 2008. Significantly, this legislation increased the percentage and number of benchmarks that utilities must meet, included solar water heating as an eligible technology, increased the alternative compliance payment and amended reporting requirements. In August of 2011, the RPS was further amended by passage of both the Emergency Distribution Generation Amendment Act(B19-0384) and the Distributed Generation Amendment Act (B19-10), which increased the solar carve out from .4% to 2.50% by 2023. Following a Congressional Review Period, The Distributed Generation Amendment Act became D.C. Law 19-36 on October 20,2011.

Subsequent to these major changes, more minor amendments clarifying the eligibility of solar thermal facilities located within the District, and geographic eligibility of renewable resources in general were made by D.C. Law 18-0223 in 2010. These changes are not yet reflected in the associated administrative regulations although the law states that the provisions of the law apply as of October 1, 2010. Further amendments were made by D.C. Law 18-0303 in March 2011 to clarify the certification requirements for non-residential solar thermal systems.

District energy suppliers must meet the RPS by obtaining renewable energy credits (RECs) that equal the percentage requirement for electricity sold or by paying specified compliance fees. DC's RPS involves a two-tiered system. “Tier 1” renewable resources include solar (electric or thermal), wind, biomass, landfill gas, wastewater-treatment gas, geothermal, ocean (mechanical and thermal) and fuel cells fueled by "Tier 1" resources. Solar thermal installations must generally use Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC) certified components in order to qualify as an eligible resource. “Tier 2” renewable resources include hydropower (other than pumped-storage generation) and municipal solid waste. Although it is currently an eligible Tier 2 resource, municipal solid waste incineration may not be used to meet more than 20% of Tier 2 requirement during a given year and beginning in 2013 municipal solid waste will no longer be eligible to generate Tier 2 RECs. After 2019, Tier 2 renewable resources will not be allowed to be applied toward meeting annual RPS requirements.


Specific minimum percentages of retail electricity sales must come from eligible renewables according to the following schedule:


Year Tier I Tier II Solar
2007 1.5% 2.5% 0.005%
2008 2.0% 2.5% 0.011%
2009 2.5% 2.5% 0.019%
2010 3.0% 2.5% 0.028%
2011 4.0% 2.5% 0.40%
2012 5.0% 2.5% 0.50%
2013 6.5% 2.5% 0.50%
2014 8.0% 2.5% 0.60%
2015 9.5% 2.5% 0.70%
2016 11.5% 2.0% 0.825%
2017 13.5% 1.5% 0.98%
2018 15.5% 1.0% 1.15%
2019 17.5% 0.5% 1.35%
2020 20.0% 0.0% 1.58%
2021 20.0% 0.0% 1.85%
2022 20.0% 0.0% 2.175%
2023 20.0% 0.0% 2.50%


Based on the final rulemaking issued by the PSC in case 945-E-2581, it appears that the solar requirement is contained within the Tier 1 requirement, meaning that a solar REC used to comply with the solar requirement may also be used to meet the Tier 1 requirement. Energy from Tier 1 resources is eligible for inclusion in meeting the RPS regardless of when the generating system or facility was activated. Per 945-E-2581, to become a certified solar energy system the system capacity must not be larger than 5MW and must either be located within the District or in locations served by a distribution feeder serving the District. Solar energy systems larger than 5MW or not located within the District and not approved prior to February 1, 2011 were decertified by the Commission. Tier 1 energy may be applied to the percentage requirements of the standard for either Tier 1 or Tier 2 renewable resources. RECs have a three-year lifetime from the date of generation during which they are valid for compliance under the standard. The PSC RPS working group will identify any renewable energy resource that has been both certified by another PJM state and is eligible for participation within the D.C. RPS. Annual filings on Tier 1 and Tier 2 eligibility matrices will include this information and will be made available by February 1 of each year.

Certain renewable resources have in the past received preferential treatment through the use of compliance multipliers. Before January 1, 2007, electricity suppliers received 120% credit toward meeting the RPS for energy generated by wind or solar. Between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2009, electricity suppliers received 110% credit for energy generated by wind or solar. Before January 1, 2010, electricity suppliers received 110% credit for energy generated by landfill methane or wastewater-treatment methane. Suppliers that fail to comply with the requirements must pay $0.05 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of shortfall from required Tier 1 resources, $0.01 for each kWh of shortfall from Tier 2 resources. Solar energy sources have an unique set of shortfall payment requirements, from 2011 through 2016 at $.50 per kWh, $0.35 in 2017, $0.30 in 2018, $0.20 in 2019 and 2020, $0.15 in 2021 and 2022, and $0.05 in 2023 and thereafter. Alternative compliance fees are deposited into the D.C. Renewable Energy Development Fund and may be used to provide support to renewable energy projects. Energy supply contracts entered into prior to August 1, 2011 will not be subject to the increased solar requirements.

In December 2005 the DC Public Service Commission (PSC) adopted interim regulations governing the implementation of the RPS, including the application and transfer of RECs.* The PSC issued final regulations in January 2008 which require that each electricity supplier submit an annual compliance report detailing the quantities and types of renewable energy purchased and any compliance fees owed. Under these regulations, renewable energy generators must be certified as eligible by the PSC, but system owners may complete an expedited certification process if the generator has been previously certified by an eligible state with similar resource requirements. Further proposed rule changes were issued by the PSC in April 2009 to address the legislative changes made by the CAEA of 2008 with final revised rules adopted in September 2009. In March 2012, the PSC issued Order 16738 and formal rules 945-E-2581 to address to legislative changes outlined in the Distributed Generation Act of 2011 (D.C. Law 19-36).

The RPS program website contains a detailed summary of legislative and regulatory actions since the inception of the program.

*Electricity suppliers were permitted by statute to begin receiving and accumulating RECs on January 1, 2006. Effective October 1, 2010, RECs must be purchased from resources located within the PJM Interconnection region or within a state adjacent to the PJM Interconnection region. This portion of the law was amended by D.C. Law 18-0223 in July 2010 to remove confusing language pertaining to RECs associated with electricity delivered into the PJM Interconnection region from an adjacent control area. These terms are defined in greater detail in the rules adopted by the PSC.
Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (District of Columbia) District of Columbia Performance-Based Incentive Yes State/Territory In January 2005, the District of Columbia (D.C.) Council enacted a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) with a solar carve-out that applies to all retail electricity sales in the District. In October 2008 the RPS was amended by the Clean and Affordable Energy Act (CAEA) of 2008. Significantly, this legislation increased the percentage and number of benchmarks that utilities must meet, included solar water heating as an eligible technology, increased the alternative compliance payment and amended reporting requirements. The solar requirements began in 2007 at 0.005% of retail electricity sales and increase annually towards an ultimate target of 2.50% solar by 2023. Notably, both solar-electric and solar thermal resources are eligible for the solar carve-out.

Amendments made in 2010 by D.C. Law 18-0223 have clarified the eligibility of solar thermal facilities located within the District, and geographic eligibility of renewable (including solar) resources in general. Further amendments were made by D.C. Law 18-0303 in March 2011 to clarify the certification requirements for non-residential solar thermal systems. In August of 2011, the RPS was further amended by both the Emergency Distributed Generation Amendment Act of 2011 (B19-0384), and the Distributed Generation Amendment Act (B19-10), which increased the solar carve out from 0.4% to 2.50% by 2023. Following a Congressional Review Period, The Distributed Generation Amendment Act became D.C. Law 19-36 on October 20, 2011. The changes resulting from before mentioned legislation are reflected in the D.C. Code § 34-1432.

Under D.C. law, a solar renewable energy credit (SREC), is equivalent to one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity derived from an eligible solar resource. Electricity suppliers must purchase SRECs in order to meet their compliance obligations under the law, or pay a Solar Alternative Compliance Payment (SACP) for any shortfalls in SREC purchases. The SACP operates as a ceiling on the price that a supplier would pay for SRECs used for compliance with the D.C. RPS. The SACP is set at a flat rate of $500 per MWh. The value of an SREC varies based on market conditions, but as of December 2012 sales of D.C.-sourced SRECs tracked on SREC Trade averaged $310 per MWh. Individual trades have taken place at both lower and higher prices and it should be noted that these prices reflect SRECs generated in D.C. which may have been sold into other state SREC markets.

Under this system SRECs represent a potentially significant source of revenue for owners of qualifying solar facilities with a value determined by demand in the trading market. In D.C., net metering customers retain ownership of SRECs (or RECs) unless they agree to transfer them. A generator remains eligible to generate SRECs for as long as the facility remains certified as an eligible generator. SRECs have a three-year lifetime from the date they are created. In other words, an SREC may generally be used (i.e., retired) for compliance by an obligated electricity supplier for up to three years after the date it is created. An obligated entity may use an SREC to comply with the solar carve-out of the RPS or with the general renewables requirement.

In order to begin producing D.C.-eligible SRECs, generators must be certified by the D.C. Public Service Commission (PSC) as an eligible generator. In order to qualify as an eligible generator, solar facilities must be located within the District of Columbia or in locations served by a distribution feeder serving the District of Columbia. SRECs generated by solar energy facilities that were certified by the PSC prior to February 1, 2011, are excluded from this requirement and are allowed to be used to meet the RPS solar requirement.*

When the generator has been issued a certification number, they may create an account with the PJM GATS. The PJM GATS is used to track the generation and transfer of SRECs from an eligible facility. SRECs are created in the GATS based on energy production meter readings uploaded to the system by the generator. Solar PV facilities of 10 kilowatts (kW) or less and solar thermal facilities which produce or displace less than 10,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year are permitted to use an engineering estimate to generate SRECs rather metered generation data. Solar thermal systems or collectors must be certified by the SRCC in order to qualify for the standard.**


* Prior to D.C. Law 19-36, eligible generator solar facilities were allowed to be located within the PJM Interconnection region or a state adjacent to the PJM Interconnections region. This portion of the law was amended by D.C. Law 18-0223 in July 2010 to remove confusing language pertaining to RECs associated with electricity delivered into the PJM Interconnection region from an adjacent control area. These terms are defined in greater detail in the rules adopted by the PSC.

** This portion of the law was amended on a by D.C. Law 18-0303 in March 2011 to revise language associated with certification requirements for non-residential solar thermal systems. The prior wording of the law required all non-residential solar thermal systems to be SRCC certified without making a distinction between the collectors (i.e., SRCC OG-100) and the system (i.e., SRCC OG-300). The revised language makes this distinction, clearing the way for non-residential systems to be certified as eligible for the standard.
Solar Renewable Energy Credits (District of Columbia) District of Columbia Performance-Based Incentive Yes State/Territory In January 2005, the District of Columbia (D.C.) Council enacted a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) with a solar carve-out that applies to all retail electricity sales in the District. In October 2008 the RPS was amended by the Clean and Affordable Energy Act (CAEA) of 2008. Significantly, this legislation increased the percentage and number of benchmarks that utilities must meet, included solar water heating as an eligible technology, increased the alternative compliance payment and amended reporting requirements. The solar requirements began in 2007 at 0.005% of retail electricity sales and increase annually towards an ultimate target of 2.50% solar by 2023. Notably, both solar-electric and solar thermal resources are eligible for the solar carve-out.



Under D.C. law, a solar renewable energy credit (SREC), is equivalent to one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity derived from an eligible solar resource. Electricity suppliers must purchase SRECs in order to meet their compliance obligations under the law, or pay a Solar Alternative Compliance Payment (SACP) for any shortfalls in SREC purchases. The SACP operates as a ceiling on the price that a supplier would pay for SRECs used for compliance with the D.C. RPS. The SACP is set at a flat rate of $500 per MWh. The value of an SREC varies based on market conditions, but as of September 2014 sales of D.C.-sourced SRECs tracked on Flett Exchange averaged $471 per MWh. Individual trades have taken place at both lower and higher prices and it should be noted that these prices reflect SRECs generated in D.C. which may have been sold into other state SREC markets.

Under this system SRECs represent a potentially significant source of revenue for owners of qualifying solar facilities with a value determined by demand in the trading market. In D.C., net metering customers retain ownership of SRECs (or RECs) unless they agree to transfer them. A generator remains eligible to generate SRECs for as long as the facility remains certified as an eligible generator. SRECs have a three-year lifetime from the date they are created. In other words, an SREC may generally be used (i.e., retired) for compliance by an obligated electricity supplier for up to three years after the date it is created. An obligated entity may use an SREC to comply with the solar carve-out of the RPS or with the general renewables requirement. As of September 2014, total of 1,174 solar PV, 74 solar thermal system inside D.C. and 2,239 solar energy systems outside of D.C. were eligible to meet the city’s RPS requirement. In order to begin producing D.C.-eligible SRECs, generators must be certified by the D.C. Public Service Commission (PSC) as an eligible generator. In order to qualify as an eligible generator, solar facilities must be located within the District of Columbia or in locations served by a distribution feeder serving the District of Columbia.


SRECs generated by solar energy facilities that were certified by the PSC prior to February 1, 2011, are excluded from this requirement and are allowed to be used to meet the RPS solar requirement.*

When the generator has been issued a certification number, they may create an account with the PJM GATS. The PJM GATS is used to track the generation and transfer of SRECs from an eligible facility. SRECs are created in the GATS based on energy production meter readings uploaded to the system by the generator. Solar PV facilities of 10 kilowatts (kW) or less and solar thermal facilities which produce or displace less than 10,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year are permitted to use an engineering estimate to generate SRECs rather metered generation data. Solar thermal systems or collectors must be certified by the SRCC in order to qualify for the standard.**


Background


Amendments made in 2010 by D.C. Law 18-0223 have clarified the eligibility of solar thermal facilities located within the District, and geographic eligibility of renewable (including solar) resources in general. Further amendments were made by D.C. Law 18-0303 in March 2011 to clarify the certification requirements for non-residential solar thermal systems. In August of 2011, the RPS was further amended by both the Emergency Distributed Generation Amendment Act of 2011 (B19-0384), and the Distributed Generation Amendment Act (B19-10), which increased the solar carve out from 0.4% to 2.50% by 2023. Following a Congressional Review Period, The Distributed Generation Amendment Act became D.C. Law 19-36 on October 20, 2011. The changes resulting from before mentioned legislation are reflected in the D.C. Code § 34-1432.

* Prior to D.C. Law 19-36, eligible generator solar facilities were allowed to be located within the PJM Interconnection region or a state adjacent to the PJM Interconnections region. This portion of the law was amended by D.C. Law 18-0223 in July 2010 to remove confusing language pertaining to RECs associated with electricity delivered into the PJM Interconnection region from an adjacent control area. These terms are defined in greater detail in the rules adopted by the PSC.

'** This portion of the law was amended on a by D.C. Law 18-0303 in March 2011 to revise language associated with certification requirements for non-residential solar thermal systems. The prior wording of the law required all non-residential solar thermal systems to be SRCC certified without making a distinction between the collectors (i.e., SRCC OG-100) and the system (i.e., SRCC OG-300). The revised language makes this distinction, clearing the way for non-residential systems to be certified as eligible for the standard. '
Sustainable Energy Trust Fund (District of Columbia) District of Columbia Public Benefits Fund Yes State/Territory The District of Columbia's Retail Electric Competition and Consumer Protection Act of 1999 required the DC Public Service Commission (PSC) to establish a public benefits fund to provide energy assistance to low-income residents, and to support energy-efficiency programs and renewable-energy programs. This fund, known as the Reliable Energy Trust Fund (RETF), took effect in 2001. In October 2008, the District of Columbia enacted the Clean and Affordable Energy Act (CAEA), which effectively eliminated the RETF and replaced it with the Sustainable Energy Trust Fund (SETF). This program will be administered by a third-party “Sustainable Energy Utility” (SEU) which will be selected to develop, coordinate, and provide programs for the purpose of promoting the sustainable use of energy in the District of Columbia.

The SETF is financed by a non-bypassable surcharge on the electric and natural gas bills of utility customers who are not Residential Aid Discount (RAD) or Residential Essential Service (RES) customers. The surcharge for natural gas customers is calculated on a per therm basis and is assessed at $0.011 in Fiscal Year (FY) 2009, $0.012 in FY 2010, and $0.014 in FY 2012 and each subsequent year. The surcharge for electric customers is calculated on a per-kilowatt-hour basis and is assessed at $0.0011 in FY 2009, $0.0013 in FY 2010 and $0.0015 in FY 2011 and each subsequent year. The October 2008 legislation also established a separate Energy Assistance Trust Fund (EATF). The EATF collects a surcharge of $0.006/therm from natural gas sales. It collects $0.0000607/kWh from electric sales in general, plus an additional assessment $0.00069/kWh for June - September 2010. Electricity collections were formerly set at $0.0004/kWh, but the law regarding the EATF surcharge was amended in 2010.

In the past, the RETF program supported weatherization measures; appliance replacements for low-income residents; RAD extension; LIHEAP expansion and education; energy efficiency for small businesses, institutions and non profits; Energy Star appliance and lighting rebates, home energy ratings and loan promotions, public education and outreach, distributed generation and net metering; and renewable-energy demonstration projects. The program website listed at the top of this page contains a detailed history of the RETF/SETF.

Per DC Code § 8-1774.01, the Mayor, through the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), is charged to contract with a Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU) to conduct sustainable energy programs on behalf of DC. In March of 2011, the SEU contract, which is designed to administer sustainable energy programs in the District, was awarded by the DC Council to Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), a non-profit organization. VEIC has partnered with dozens of local organizations to implement the program, with VEIC principally responsible for program-design and management. In the first year of the contract, VEIC is required to implement energy-saving measures in low-income multifamily homes, to arrange for energy-saving installations in commercial buildings, and to create green jobs, among many other initiatives (click here for details on the contract). VEIC operates a similar program in Vermont and also has helped set up programs in Oregon, Delaware, and Maine. An annual independent review of the performance of the SEU is to be conducted beginning in FY2012, under § 8-1774.05(k) of the D.C. Code.

This SETF is projected to eventually amount to about $20 million a year, plus any money from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Specific annual funding levels are set for existing electricity programs, temporary electricity programs, existing natural gas programs, renewable energy incentives, and energy efficiency programs (administered by PEPCO). Like the RETF that it replaced, unused SETF funding will carry over to the following year rather than lapsing at the end of the fiscal year. As amended the EATF is expected to collect $2.3 million annually for existing low-income assistance programs and $5.2 million in 2010 for a new Residential Aid discount subsidy. Related PSC documents are available at the website listed above, or in the E-docket Section of the PSC website under Formal Case (FC) 945.
Tax Increment Financing Program (TIF) (District of Columbia) District of Columbia Enterprise Zone Yes State/Province The District offers several innovative public financing tools where developers can use bond financing or bank loans to fund a portion of their construction costs. The funds are repaid over time using new taxes generated by the project.
The Enterprise Zone Program (District of Columbia) District of Columbia Enterprise Zone Yes State/Province The Enterprise Zone Program offers the following tax incentives to businesses in certain District neighborhoods: Employee Tax Credits--up to $3000 for each full-time employee; Work Opportunity Credits--up to $2400 for each employee from targeted demographic groups; Welfare to Work Credits--up to $3500 and $5000 for the first and second years employment, respectively, for workers receiving long-term family assistance; EZ Bonds--Tax Exempt Bond Financing up to $15 million in below-market interest rate loans (as much as 200 points below the market rate).
Underground Storage Tank Management (District of Columbia) District of Columbia Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province The  installation, upgrade and operation of any petroleum UST (>110 gallons) or hazardous substance UST System, including heating oil tanks over 1,100 gallons capacity in the District requires a permit from DCRA. In addition to the approval and inspection of the UST Branch, DDOE and DC Fire Department. The tank performance standards and permitting requirements in 20DCMR Chapters 55-70 shall apply.
Wage Tax Credit (District of Columbia) District of Columbia Corporate Tax Incentive Yes State/Province The District offers a credit of 10% of wages paid for the first 24 months of employment, up to $5000 per employee.
Well Permits (District of Columbia) District of Columbia Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province Well permits are required for the installation of wells in private and public space. Wells are defined as any trest hole, shaft, or soil excavation created by any means including, but not limited to, drilling, coring, boring, washing, driving, digging, or jetting, for purposes including, but not limited to, locating, testing, diverting, artificially recharging, or withdrawing fluids, or for the purpose of underground injection.