Development of Renewable Energy Fund Programs For Low and Moderate Income Residential Customers, 012121 NHPUC, 26, 444

Docket Nº:26, 444
Opinion Judge:Dianne Martin Chairwoman
Judge Panel:Kathryn M. Bailey, Commissioner
Case Date:January 21, 2021

DEVELOPMENT OF RENEWABLE ENERGY FUND PROGRAMS FOR LOW AND MODERATE INCOME RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS

No. 26, 444

DE 17-172

New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission

January 21, 2021

ORDER NISI APPROVING REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS COMPETITIVE SOLICITATION FOR LOW-MODERATE INCOME PROJECT FUNDING IN FISCAL YEAR 2021

Dianne Martin Chairwoman

In this order, the Commission modifies Order No. 26, 214 (January 25, 2019) to approve the use of a competitive solicitation in fiscal year 2021 to select projects to be funded by the Renewable Energy Fund Low and Moderate Income program. This order is being issued on a nisi basis to ensure that interested persons receive notice and have an opportunity to comment or request a hearing before the order becomes effective.

I.

BACKGROUND

Under RSA 362-F:10, X, the Commission is required to allocate not less than 15 percent of the Renewable Energy Fund (REF) annually to: benefit low-moderate income residential customers, including, but not limited to, the financing or leveraging of financing for low-moderate income community solar projects in manufactured housing communities or in multi-family rental housing.

The phrase "low-moderate income community solar project" is defined as "ground-mounted or rooftop solar arrays that directly benefit a group of at least [five] residential end-user customers, where at least a majority of the residential end-user customers are at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines." RSA 362-F:2, X-a.

On January 25, 2019, the Commission issued Order No. 26, 214 approving the use of competitive solicitations to select low-moderate income (LMI) community solar projects to be funded by the REF in fiscal year (FY) 2019 and FY 2020. The Commission also directed Commission Staff (Staff) to "consider issuing a second [Request for Proposals (RFP)] in FY 2019 and FY 2020, if at least $300, 000 remains in the REF LMI budget following the initial RFP process for the respective fiscal year." Order No. 26, 214 at 7. The Commission stated that "the RFP approach should permit review and evaluation of data from multiple project models, and potentially facilitate the implementation of an alternative program in future years." Id.

On March 23, 2018, the Commission issued RFP #2018-003, seeking new ground-mounted or rooftop community solar projects that would provide direct benefits to a minimum of five residential electric customers where at least the majority of such participants must be LMI. On December 20, 2019, a similar RFP was issued for FY 2020. Only one proposal was received in response to the FY 2020 RFP, and the Commission therefore issued a second RFP to expend remaining FY 2020 funds on July 8, 2020. That RFP was later cancelled based on Staff's recommendation included in a memorandum filed on November 25, 2020; that recommendation was approved by the Commission by secretarial letter dated December 4, 2020. The December 4,...

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