Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) Report

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Electricity suppliers in the District must provide an increasing percentage of their electricity from renewable resources, following rules created by the DCPSC. The Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Program was established to help create a market in the District for electricity from renewable sources.

2020 Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Report

The 2021 Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Report highlights the continued growth in solar energy generator applications in the District as well as the significant increase in Community Renewable Energy Facilities (CREFs) which jumped from a total of 12 certified facilities in 2019 to 137 by the end of 2020. This increase reflects the District’s aggressive Clean Energy DC plan as well as solar programs and resources available to District residents and businesses.

The Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Act requires the DCPSC to annually report on the status of RPS implementation. The report includes data on the number of renewable generators approved by the Commission and the availability of renewable resources in the District. The report also includes the number of renewable energy credits retired by the electricity suppliers to meet the RPS requirements. The following chart shows year-to-year increases in the cumulative number of renewable systems certified by the Commission.

Download the 2021 Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Report.
 
2021 RPS Report Highlights
Growth of solar energy systems

The District’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) was enacted in 2005 and the first compliance year started in 2007. The RPS changed through legislation several times before the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018.
 
The most recent update puts the District on track to 100% renewable energy by 2032 with a 10% solar carve-out coming from local solar by 2041. Since the 2018 legislation was enacted, the Commission has continued increasing solar energy in the District.
 
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RPS Compliance
The current RPS requires annually increasing percentages of the District’s electricity sales to be covered by purchased renewable energy credits (RECs) from renewable facilities certified for the RPS that are located outside the District, purchased RECs from systems certified for RPS in the District, and/or compliance payments.
 
In 2020, the requirements included 20% renewable from Tier I resources, 0% renewable from Tier II resources, and 2.175% of sales had to be from solar resources. If an energy supplier has a REC shortfall, they pay a compliance payment. Electricity suppliers have generally met the Tier I and Tier II requirements by submitting RECs. The Tier II requirement has ended as of the 2020 compliance year.
 
Solar Capacity
This chart provides a comparison of the additional solar capacity needed to meet the increased solar requirement under the Clean Energy Act. The current shortfall in capacity is about 14 MW as of April 1, 2021.
 
 
The Value of Solar Study for the District of Columbia", a 2017 study by the Office of the People’s Counsel, explores the many reasons for this shortfall. The study mentions five primary barriers to the development of distributed solar in the District:
  1. Access to suitable space, including real estate constraints such as the high proportion of renters; historic preservation guidelines that may restrict roof space; and the lack of open space for ground-mounted arrays
  2. Upfront costs and customer financing
  3. Interconnection processing time
  4. Program funding uncertainty, including variation in solar REC prices and funding for program incentives
  5. Ineffective price signals to compensate owners of solar generating systems
When there is a shortfall of RECs, compliance fees are collected and deposited into the Renewable Energy Development Fund which is administered by the District’s Department of Energy & Environment. This fund contributes to several programs, including Solar for All, an initiative with a goal of providing solar to 100,000 low- and moderate-income households in the District by 2032. This program promises to reduce participants’ energy bills approximately 50% by either installing solar on their home or giving them access to rent a portion of a community solar project, saving money on energy bills and providing green electrons to the District’s grid.