§ 39-26.6-15. Bidding and incentive award processes for solar DG projects.
(a) Large-scale and commercial-scale solar projects and distributed-generation projects for other eligible technologies shall bid a price-per kilowatt-hour for the entire output of the facility (net of any station service) that shall not exceed the applicable ceiling price. Small-scale and medium-scale solar projects will submit an enrollment application to receive a standard, performance-based incentive for the period of years in the applicable tariff, that shall be a price-per-kilowatt-hour for the entire output of the facility. Except for megawatts that may be allocated to the energy efficiency program pursuant to § 39-26.6-19, small-and medium-scale projects shall be selected on a first-come, first-served basis, or by means of a commission-approved lottery system, or such other method as may be recommended by the board and approved by the commission.
(b) Except for the first program year, the board shall determine, subject to commission approval, the standard performance-based incentive for small-and medium-sized solar projects from the average bid price from the last two (2) procurement enrollments conducted in the commercial-scale and/or large-scale solar projects class. For the first program year, the board may derive the standard performance incentive for small-and medium-sized solar projects from the bidding data obtained from the distributed generation program in effect in 2014 under the provisions of chapter 26.2 of title 39 until there is bidding data from the first procurement under the new program which shall then be used to set a new standard-performance incentive. The standard-performance incentive may be set at a higher rate than payments for commercial-scale and large-scale solar projects in order to take into account the potentially higher per-unit cost of smaller projects. The standard-performance incentive also shall be adjusted upward or downward, as needed, in order to take into account the term length over which the incentive shall be paid for the small-and medium-scale solar projects if such terms are different than the terms applicable to the classes from which the standard-performance incentive was derived.
(c) For each program year, the board shall recommend to the commission a standard-performance incentive for each of the small-scale and medium-scale solar project classifications. Upon receiving the recommendations from the board, the commission shall open a docket to consider the recommendations or address the recommendations in its approval process for the program year in a consolidated docket as provided in § 39-26.6-10. The commission shall issue its order approving the recommendations no later than concurrently with approval of the entire program and tariffs applicable to the program year; provided, however, that the commission may make modifications or changes to the board's recommendations consistent with the legislative purposes of this chapter.
(d) If after the first program year, the applications for the medium-scale solar projects are significantly over-subscribed, then the board and the electric distribution company, in consultation with the office, may propose to the commission a bidding process for medium-scale projects or a subset of the medium-scale projects under which project selections would be made based on the lowest bids rather than first-come first-served or such other method previously approved by the commission. The commission shall approve the proposal from the board and electric company within ninety (90) days; provided, however, that the commission may make changes to the proposal consistent with the legislative purposes of this chapter.
(e) The commission shall approve the bidding process for medium-scale solar projects recommended by the board only if the commission finds that such bidding process is in a sufficiently simple form that is not administratively burdensome to bidders, and will not have the effect of discouraging participation in the distributed-generation growth program by developers of medium-scale solar projects that may be unrepresented by counsel.
(P.L. 2014, ch. 200, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 216, § 1.)