January 2022 Policy Blog

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Kristen Cheriegate  |  ICAST Policy Analyst

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Reconciliation Bill Updates 

The Build Back Better (BBB) legislation hit a hard stop in the Senate in December. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has had reservations regarding the bill but came out publicly saying he “…cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation… This is a ‘no’ on this legislation.” 

There is a chance that the large bill will be broken up into smaller pieces, so that its most popular sections that face no opposition may still pass on their own. Here are some noteworthy sections that are in the current BBB bill that could be split up in the future:  

  • Tax incentives for EVs, including a $4,500 bonus credit for cars and trucks assembled within the U.S. by union workers 
  • $63 billion to repair, replace, and construct public housing  
  • $24 billion in housing choice vouchers, which low-income households can use for rent  
  • Reducing the tax-exempt bond financing requirement to expand qualification for low-income housing credits for five years  
  • $8 billion for an environmental justice program credit for higher education institutions to research environmental issues  

California Proposes Net Metering Changes 

On Monday, December 13, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) published a proposal that climate change advocates worry will make rooftop solar more expensive by revising the State’s net metering (NEM) policies and creating a net billing tariff. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has issued the following statement

The proposal imposes fees on solar and storage customers, making solar and storage more expensive and less accessible to all Californians. The new program will rapidly reduce the bill credit solar customers get for selling electricity back to the grid, adding unpredictability and instability for customers that already have solar. 

The following climate change advocates have also spoken out against the proposal: The Sierra Club, the Climate Center, Coalition for Community Solar Access, Environment California, Environmental Working Group, and Vote Solar. 

The proposed decision is a result of Assembly Bill 327 (passed in 2013), which required the CPUC to reform the NEM system. The CPUC’s proposed decision will be considered at the next voting meeting held on January 27, 2022. 

New York Unveils Ambitious Distributed Solar Goals 

On Friday, December 17, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a plan which will expand the state’s NY-Sun initiative to achieve at least 10 gigawatts of distributed solar by end of 2030 – enough to annually power roughly 700,000 New York homes. The plan is expected to do the following: 

    • Spur approximately $4.4 billion in private investments; 
    • Create 6,000 additional solar jobs; and  
    • Achieve a goal of delivering 40 percent of benefits for statutorily-defined disadvantaged communities and low- to moderate-income New Yorkers. 

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