Community Renewables Energy Act of 2013

Click here to listen to a WAMU story on how community solar works

Click here to listen to a WAMU story on how community solar works

On October 1st, 2013 the DC Council voted to enact the Community Renewables Energy Act of 2013. This bill allows renters, homeowners with shaded roofs, tenants of apartment buildings, and others, to receive the benefits of solar energy by removing some of the remaining regulatory barriers to solar.

It does so by giving utility rate payers access to virtual net-metering. Virtual net-metering permits anyone to subscribe to a solar installation. Once they have done so, the electricity produced by their portion of the solar installation is credited to their monthly electric bill.


Only 25% of residential rooftop space in the US is suitable for solar. And, 60% of DC’s households rent their homes. That’s a lot of people who can’t go solar. But, this new law allows anyone in DC to go solar. It opens the door to clean energy for a huge new group of people.

Sign up for a community solar project

Want to purchase or lease a share in a community solar project? Developers are just getting started putting together community solar projects, but we can let you know as projects start happening.

Sign up here to be notified when a community solar project becomes available!

Current Status of Community Solar in DC

After the law was passed in 2013, the Public Service Commission was charged with writing the regulations for how the law would be carried out in practice.

In September 2014 the PSC issued the first Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.  DC SUN and others filed comments, which you can find below.

On January 30th 2015 the PSC issued its second Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR), and then an Order addressing the comments filed in the first rulemaking phase.

DC SUN and its community partners reviewed the second NOPR and were extremely concerned because the proposed rules reduce the value of the CREF Credit Rate, among other issues. The CREF Credit Rate is how subscribers would be credited for their subscription to a renewable energy facility, like a solar array. Under a regular net metering you would get a full 1:1 credit for any extra electricity you produce. This includes all the charges you see on your Pepco bill, including Generation, Transmission, Distribution, and any Taxes, Fees, and Surcharges. However, the PSC’s interpretation of CREA in its 2nd Proposed Rulemaking would only cover Generation and Transmission for a community solar site. That’s about half of what you pay on your Pepco bill (and therefore you’d only be compensated for half of the solar electricity you produce).

This is a key problem because it creates a lower class of “solar citizens” – those who own homes and can put solar on their roof, versus everyone else who rents, lives in highrise buildings, or has a shaded roof. CREA was passed in order to serve those very citizens, but the PSC’s proposed rulemaking undercuts that very purpose by reducing the value of solar to those citizens who need it most.

Our coalition filed comments on March 2nd, refuting the PSC’s interpretation of the value of solar electricity coming from a CREF. You can view these comments below in the “Intervention Documents” section, along with a letter that 10 out of 11 DC Councilmembers signed, reaffirming the intent of CREA as it was passed in 2013.

Now we will wait to see how the PSC views our comments and the Council’s letter. We hope they will do the right thing and amend their rulemaking to support the full value of electricity from community solar.


Intervention Documents

3 responses on “Community Renewables Energy Act of 2013

  1. Pingback: Help DC SUN continue into 2014 | DC SUN·

  2. Where do we find details on installation? e.g. type of panels, controls, feedback into commercial network, etc.

    • There aren’t any projects currently being built because we’re still waiting on the Public Service Commission to come out with rules for how the Community Renewables Energy Act will be implemented. But if you want to be notified about projects once the rules are finalized you can .

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