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Category: Solar

OPC Is Addressing Solar Connection Roadblocks

Because of its location, nestled between two rivers and close to the Chesapeake Bay, the District of Columbia is particularly at risk from rising sea levels (demonstrated by the now, regular flooding of parts of the Tidal Basin). To combat these rising sea levels and other worrisome affects of climate change, the District has implemented strong goals that include significant increases in renewable and clean energy. Solar power will play a big roll in meeting the District’s climate goals, but D.C. consumers have recently been experiencing roadblocks when trying to interconnect their small scale, residential solar to the grid. OPC has several consumer cases before the Public Service Commission regarding this problematic blocking of DC customers from interconnection. Small scale solar is relatively free and the process is meant to be “fast-tracked” in the District to help meet DC climate goals. But Pepco has been charging customers to interconnect (up to $20k in one case) and not providing customers with any reason as to why they are being charged. As more and more customers switch to solar, the shared lines that carry the generated energy become bogged down and extra equipment is needed. Some customers are being left “holding the bag”, so to speak and getting charged for this equipment, while others had previously interconnected for free. Obviously, this is having a “chilling” effect on D.C. residents switching to solar. The Commission is concerned with the impact this will have on the District’s climate goals and is currently considering new rules to try to address the interconnection issues. OPC has taken an active role in making sure these rules will be effective in addressing the problems and will serve the needs of District consumers, while furthering the intent of the fast-track solar system – to protect our city from climate change.

Engagement in DOEE’s Solar for All Task Force

OPC has been actively engaged in the District Department of Energy & Environment’s (DOEE) Solar for All Task Force. In 2016, the DC Council passed the Renewable Portfolio Standard Expansion Amendment Act of 2016 into law. One of the key provisions of this statute establishes the Solar for All

Value of Solar Study


In 2015, the DC Council charged OPC to conduct a study to review and assess emerging alternatives for energy choice for residential consumers.  Given the growing importance of solar in the DC energy landscape, and OPC’s commitment to consumer empowerment and mitigating the impacts of climate change, OPC decided a study of DC solar capacity and valuation would be highly useful to policymakers and energy stakeholders, since DC has never conducted a value of solar study before. OPC issued an RFP and retained two expert consultants to conduct a Value of Solar (VoS) study for the District of Columbia.
  • There are two central components to the project:
    1. an assessment of solar capacity and value for DC overall and
    2. a review of low-income solar access issues.
  • Entire project expected to be complete by late December 2016, when OPC will host an in-person presentation on the VoS study findings presentation.  The location and date of that event will be forwarded as details are finalized.

Next steps:

Once the final report is prepared, OPC will present its findings to the Mayor, the Council, the Public Service Commission and other policy makers.

Future of Solar PV in the District of Columbia

The Office of the People’s Counsel for the District of Columbia (“OPC”) in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the Federal Department of Energy and the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) completed “The future of Solar Study for the District of Columbia.” Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., contracted to undertake the study for OPC. (See Studies at Future of Solar PV in the District of Columbia )

OPC Releases Value of Solar Study with Positive Outlook on the District’s Solar Future

Washington, DC-- People's Counsel for the District of Columbia Sandra Mattavous-Frye today released the first Value of Solar Study on the potential for wide deployment of solar energy in the District of Columbia. A companion report on solar for low-income residents also was unveiled at a press conference at the Florida Avenue Baptist Church, which is powered by solar energy, in Ward 1. (See Studies at: Reports Papers)

Distributed Solar in the District of Columbia