Thanks to local lawmakers, the push to go greener is at Delaware’s doorstep. On Tuesday, April 21, lawmakers announced efforts to increase Delaware community solar and wind energy production for residential and commercial customers.
Sen. Harris McDowell, D-Wilmington North, is spearheading the efforts with a new bill that will directly affect local utility companies, including Delmarva Power. The lawmakers are looking to implement changes to Delaware’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to require that 40% of the state’s energy come from renewable resources by 2035. Currently, the standard’s goal is to have 25% of the state’s energy generated from renewable resources by 2025.
To achieve the 2035 goal, lawmakers will aim to pass legislation that will require Delaware utility companies to purchase or create options for generating wind or solar electricity. McDowell’s bill would incentivize solar farms throughout Delaware. Governing bodies that opt in would fund and build their own solar farms and help reduce residential utility bills by selling the generated power as “Community Solar Renewable Energy Credits.”
In a statement about the bill, McDowell explained, “This is pioneering legislation that brings the sun’s energy directly to the people.” He continued, “Best of all, under this act, all who opt in will pay lower electricity rates.”
While McDowell’s proposal has 14 co-sponsors, the 2019 coronavirus epidemic has postponed the Delaware General Assembly’s legislative session for 2020. There is currently no plan in place to allow legislators to pass the 2021 fiscal year budget or any additional bills before the June 30, 2020 deadline.
Currently, Delaware community solar customers can receive a credit on their bill through Delmarva. In 2013, the Milford Solar Farm was installed to produce 12 megawatts of electricity, which, according to Solar Energy Industries Associates, can generate electricity for up to 1,368 homes. The DD Hay Road Solar 23 LLC installation in New Castle, completed in 2010, is capable of generating enough solar power for an additional 136 homes.
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