On Wednesday, March 4th, MDV-SEIA members met with Councilmembers and Staff to advocate for solar energy initiatives as part of DC Solar Lobby Day. The program kicked off with a luncheon, after which MDV-SEIA members and staff travelled to the Council’s offices in the Wilson Building on Pennsylvania Avenue. The delegation then split into small groups to hold conferences in the individual councilmembers’ offices.
A wide variety of policy issues were discussed, including several measures that are fairly unique to the District due to its special federal status and dense urban environment. For example, the Solar Access Rights Establishment Act of 2015 – a proposed solar easement law which would protect the rights of solar system owners – was a hot topic. This legislation, introduced by Councilmember David Grosso, I-At Large, would be particularly salient in the city, due to the common practice of constructing additional floors atop existing apartment and commercial buildings, also known as “pop-ups”.
Other proposals that were outlined by participants included regulations which would prevent homeowner associations from arbitrarily restricting the installation of solar systems on private residences. MDV-SEIA members were also able to express concerns and make recommendations about the implementation of rules that are being reviewed by the DC Public Service Commission regarding CREA 2013. Subjects which affect broader jurisdictions beyond Washington were also brought to the table, such as the expiration of the Solar Investment Tax Credit in 2016.
Overall, the Council is highly supportive of the solar energy industry and its efforts to increase the amount of renewable electricity generation. Councilwoman Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1) personally met with the delegation of members and pledged to continue backing benefits and incentives that aid the growth of solar power. MDV-SEIA would like to thank its members from Enduring Energy, Kenergy Solar, Nextility, Paxel Strategies, Prospect Solar, P.R. Quinlan, Solar Energy Services, SRECTrade, Standard Solar, and others for their attendance and contribution to the success of the event.
Willis Matei, Solar Fellow