SEIA challenges PURPA changes that could discourage solar development

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Yesterday the Solar Energy Industries Association filed a petition for review with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of FERC Order No. 872, which unlawfully discourages the development of qualifying facilities (QF) under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA).

The order eliminates the right of QFs to enter long-term, fixed-rate contracts and arbitrarily extends the “one-mile rule,” creating several new provisions that thwart solar development. These actions are unlawful and directly contradict the intent of the PURPA statute.

Note: FERC has indicated it will provide for further consideration of its order. SEIA’s petition protects its interests before the Court, should FERC’s reconsideration be insufficient, and asks the Court to hold the proceeding in abeyance for 60 days to allow FERC to issue a future order.

Following is a statement by Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association:

“This attack on PURPA is an attack on competition. FERC Order No. 872 very clearly contradicts existing law and protects the interests of incumbent utilities at the expense of regular customers. The changes FERC approved will discourage QF development and allow utilities to bypass one of the only tools we have to increase competition in territory dominated by monopoly utilities. We are asking the court to invalidate Order No. 872.

“PURPA is a significant driver of solar jobs and investment and is responsible for bringing utility-scale solar online around the country. FERC Order No. 872 threatens progress for solar energy at a time our nation can least afford it. Under SEIA’s Solar+ Decade goals, solar energy will supply 20% of all electricity generation by 2030, adding hundreds of thousands of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars in investment, all while addressing our growing climate crisis.”

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