Month: November 2020

Group A Small DG Block 2 closed

Group A Small DG Block 2 is closed as of November 24, 2020 at 5:00 PM Central Prevailing Time and Group A Small DG Block 3 is now open.

The Program Administrator announced on November 17, 2020 that Group A Small DG Block 2 had reached capacity. Per Section 6.3.2 of the Revised Long-Term Plan, this Block was held open for an additional 7 calendar days after reaching capacity on November 17, 2020. Group A Small DG applications submitted as part of a paid batch prior to November 24, 2020 at 5:00 PM Central Prevailing Time were allocated to Block 2, and thus will receive Block 2 pricing, provided that the application fee is paid within 10 business days following batch submittal. Group A Small DG applications submitted as part of a paid batch after that time will be allocated to Block 3.

The capacity allocated to Block 2 during this 7-day soft-close period impacts the capacity available for Block 3. Applications submitted as part of a paid batch during the soft close period that exceed the original 22 MW capacity of Group A Small DG Block 2 will be deducted from the original capacity of 5.5 MW for Group A Small DG Block 3. The capacity submitted during the soft-close period was 5 MW (for a total of 27 MW of Block 2 capacity). Therefore, Group A Small DG Block 3 will have a tentative opening capacity of 0.5 MW, not the original capacity of 5.5 MW.

The final calculation of the opening capacity of Group A Small DG Block 3 will not be known until at least 10 business days have passed from the closure of Block 2 to allow Approved Vendors time to pay application fees. If the application fee for a Block 2 batch is not timely paid, the batch will not be accepted, and the corresponding capacity will be allocated to Block 3. The Program Administrator will announce the opening capacity available for Group A Small DG Block 3 at that time. Capacity allocated to projects in Group A Small DG Blocks 1 or 2 that are subsequently withdrawn will be added to Group A Small DG Block 3 capacity.

However, should Group A Small DG Block 3 reach capacity before the announcement of the opening capacity of Block 3 can be made, the following provision will apply: On the calendar day that an application is submitted whose capacity meets or exceeds the tentative remaining capacity in Group A Small DG Block 3, any project applications received on or prior to 11:59 PM Central Prevailing Time that day that exceed the remaining capacity of that block will be selected until a 2 MW cap is reached. For the application that crosses the 2 MW cap, the entire project will be allocated Block 3 pricing, with all subsequently submitted applications placed on an ordinal waitlist. If the application that crosses the 2 MW cap is part of a multiple-project batch in which all projects in that batch are time-stamped as having been submitted at the same time, such that the determination of which individual application in that batch was the one that crossed the 2 MW cap is not possible, the Approved Vendor may select which applications within that batch will remain under the 2 MW cap, with the remaining applications in that batch placed on the waitlist for that Group/category.

Requests for Stakeholder Feedback

The Illinois Power Agency has released the following two requests for stakeholder feedback.

Each document provides background on the request and poses a number of questions for stakeholder input.  Responses are requested by December 21, 2020 and instructions for how to respond is included in each document.  After these responses are received, the Agency expects to hold virtual workshops to discuss written feedback and seek additional feedback prior to finalization of any new selection criteria or prices.

*Please note that these feedback processes do not mean that the Agency is planning to open new blocks of the Adjustable Block Program; as outlined extensively in Chapter 3 of the IPA’s Revised Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan, obtaining RPS funding necessary for opening additional blocks in 2021 would require passing new legislation.

Adjustable Block Program Document Release Announcement

The Illinois Power Agency is pleased to announce to announce the finalization and release of revised versions of the following Adjustable Block Program documents:

The Agency also announces details for a revised edition of the following Adjustable Block Program document, with a final, usable version still pending:

These items were each the subject of prior stakeholder feedback processes, and the IPA thanks parties for the useful feedback offered through those comment periods, and for their patience as the Agency and Program Administrator finalized these documents.  Specific highlighted changes made to each of these documents are outlined below (please note that these are not a summary of all changes made to these program documents).

PROGRAM GUIDEBOOK

As the revised Program Guidebook is the first revised edition of the Guidebook since May 2019, it contains a collection of changes and updates reflecting program administration changes since the Program’s early days, including the deletion of now-stale content.  Other changes are intended to reflect the Illinois Commerce Commission’s Order in Docket No. 19-0995 approving the IPA’s Revised Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan, such as information on Designee registration.

Additional changes include a change in the threshold permissible DC:AC ratio for participating projects; that ratio is now 1.55, up from 1.5, to allow for more flexibility in system design.  Given the less permanent, more transactive nature of community solar subscription offers in the Illinois market, the Guidebook also now provides for guidance for how community solar providers will be able to generate and upload Community Solar Disclosure Forms outside of the Adjustable Block Program Portal (an item requested by many commenters during the most recent comment process).

A redline comparison of the original and revised Program Guidebooks is available on the Adjustable Block Program website.

COMMUNITY SOLAR MARKETING GUIDELINES

Similar to the recently-released revised Distributed Generation Marketing Guidelines, the revised Community Solar Marketing Guidelines have been reorganized into a more user-friendly, outline-driven structure.  Among the revisions include adjustments to the requirement that a standalone brochure be presented to customers at first contact; that brochure will be attached to the revised Community Solar Disclosure Form, with this now combined document required to be presented prior to subscription contract execution.

As with the Distributed Generation Marketing Guidelines, the Program is now making a logo available to Approved Vendors and Designees to signify that the entity is a firm registered with the program.  The process for obtaining approval for endorsements from governmental bodies, including municipal governments, has also been streamlined, with Program Administrator approval over each individual endorsement no longer required if predicate requirements are met.

As discussed further below, community solar providers will now have the flexibility to identify specific Approved Vendors and projects downstream (i.e., after disclosure form execution), and the revised guidelines provide requirements applicable to what content must be communicated to subscribers and by when should that option be utilized.

A redline comparison of the original and revised Community Solar Marketing Guidelines is available on the program website.

COMMUNITY SOLAR INFORMATIONAL BROCHURE

The Community Solar Informational Brochure has been updated with minor clarifying edits.  While this brochure will be integrated into the revised Community Solar Disclosure Form, until that revised disclosure form is finalized, community solar providers should begin to use this updated brochure instead of the original brochure released in January of 2019.  Furthermore, as described above, the brochure no longer needs to be presented at first customer contact, but can instead be presented in conjunction with the Community Solar Disclosure Form.

COMMUNITY SOLAR DISCLOSURE FORM

Consistent with feedback received in stakeholder comments, the revised Community Solar Disclosure Form has been shortened and streamlined.  As referenced above, the Community Solar Informational Brochure will now be included as an attachment to the disclosure form, and duplicative content already contained within the brochure has been deleted from the body of the disclosure form.  The revised form will also allow for flexibility in the identification of specific approved vendors and specific community solar projects: as before, a community solar provider may still input this information into the form, but now may alternatively elect a “TBD” input for those fields.

The net cash flow estimate section has been revised considerably.  In light of feedback regarding the inaccuracy of prior rendered savings estimates, this section has been changed to a narrative description outlining how customers can estimate the value of a community solar subscription through comparing subscription costs to supply rates (and thus to net metering credit rates).  This narrative description also now includes an example specific to a percentage-based savings subscription rate—which is how the IPA understands many offers to be structured in the community solar subscription market.

The Program Administrator is in the process of programing the changes required to allow for generation of the revised disclosure form.  A draft of the disclosure form text is being released contemporaneously with this announcement, in order to allow program participants to understand the types of changes that will be seen on the form and beginning planning for future implementation.  Within two weeks, the Program Administrator will release a template of the revised disclosure form. Subsequently, the Program Administrator will release additional programing information to allow community solar providers to plan for implementing programing changes related to the API and CSV upload options to accommodate the revised form.  This programming information release will include the API specifications for the option to generate (with Program Administrator pre-approval) disclosure forms outside of the ABP portal.  The Program Administrator expects that these changes will be in place by the end of the year for full implementation starting in 2021.

Group A Small DG Block 2 capacity reached

Block 2 for the Group A Small Distributed Generation (“DG”) project category (i.e., DG projects up to and including 10 kW AC) has been filled. Block 2 will remain open for 7 calendar days per the soft-close provision in Section 6.3.2 of the Revised Long-Term Plan approved by the Illinois Commerce Commission on February 18, 2020.

Group A Small DG batches submitted prior to November 24, 2020 at 5:00 PM Central Prevailing Time will be allocated to Block 2, provided that the application fee is paid within 10 business days following submittal. Once the 7-day window of the soft-close has concluded, Block 2 will be considered closed and Block 3 will open. Group A Small DG applications submitted on or after November 24, 2020 at 5:00 PM Central Prevailing Time will be allocated to Block 3 and if verified will receive Block 3 REC pricing. The Program Administrator will make another announcement on the date of the opening of Block 3 for Group A Small DG.

The capacity allocated to Block 2 during this soft-close period impacts the capacity available for Block 3. Any applications submitted as part of a paid batch during the soft close period that exceed the capacity of Group A Small DG Block 2 will be deducted from the 5.5 MW capacity of Group A Small DG Block 3. For example, if 2 MW of capacity in excess of the capacity of Group A Block 2 is allocated during the soft-close period, Group A Small DG Block 3 will have an opening capacity of 3.5 MW, rather than the initial capacity noted above.

If capacity allocated during the soft-close period exceeds the total capacity of Group A Block 3, the submitted application that exceeds that capacity, as well as all other applications submitted in a paid batch prior to 11:59 PM Central Prevailing Time on the date of capacity being exceeded, will be allocated to Block 3 up to a cap of 2 MW of additional Block 3 capacity (this 2 MW cap is similar to the previously announced Block Closing Protocol released in anticipation of the closing of Large DG Block 4, which included a cap of 5 MW, with this difference in size intended to better match the smaller size of Small DG Block 3). This 2 MW cap would likewise apply to the closing of Block 3 if the soft closing of Block 2 does not exceed Block 3 capacity.

All subsequently submitted applications will be placed on a waitlist as the Block will be considered closed.  At this time, there is no schedule for opening future Small DG blocks under Group A.

Group B Small DG Block 2 closed

Group B Small DG Block 2 is closed as of November 16, 2020 at 5:00 PM Central Prevailing Time and Group B Small DG Block 3 is now open.

The Program Administrator announced on November 10, 2020 that Group B Small DG Block 2 had reached capacity. Per Section 6.3.2 of the Revised Long-Term Plan, this Block was held open for an additional 7 calendar days after reaching capacity on November 9, 2020. Group B Small DG applications submitted as part of a paid batch prior to November 16, 2020 at 5:00 PM Central Prevailing Time were allocated to Block 2, and thus will receive Block 2 pricing, provided that the application fee is paid within 10 business days following batch submittal. Group B Small DG applications submitted as part of a paid batch after that time will be allocated to Block 3.

The capacity allocated to Block 2 during this 7-day soft-close period impacts the capacity available for Block 3. Applications submitted as part of a paid batch during the soft close period that exceed the original 52 MW capacity of Group B Small DG Block 2 will be deducted from the original capacity of 13 MW for Group B Small DG Block 3. For example, if an additional 2 MW of capacity is allocated during the soft-close period (for a total of 54 MW of Block 2 capacity), Group B Small DG Block 3 will have an opening capacity of 11 MW, not the original capacity of 13 MW.

The Program Administrator will make a subsequent announcement with the calculation of the preliminary capacity available for Group B Small DG Block 3, factoring in the capacity allocated to Block 2 during its 7-day soft-close period. The final calculation of the opening capacity of Group B Small DG Block 3 will not be known until at least 10 business days have passed from the closure of Block 2. The Program Administrator will announce the opening capacity available for Group B Small DG Block 3 at that time. Capacity allocated to projects in Group B Small DG Blocks 1 or 2 that are subsequently withdrawn will be added to Group B Small DG Block 3 capacity.

Register now for ABP Webinar – December 9, 2020

The Program Administrator will be holding an informational webinar for ABP Approved Vendors, Designees, and other interested stakeholders on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 at 12:00 PM Central. The Program Administrator encourages stakeholders to attend this webinar to learn more about Program requirements and what is next for the Program.

Topics to be discussed on the webinar include:

  • Closing of Small DG blocks and maintenance of waitlists for DG systems
  • Designee registration requirements
  • Recent revisions to the Distributed Generation and Community Solar Marketing Guidelines and the Program Guidebook
  • Revised Community Solar Disclosure Form
  • Stakeholder feedback requests on community solar project diversity considerations and updating REC prices
  • Community solar waitlist publishing process
  • What’s next for the Program (updates on funding and future blocks, process for the development of the next Revised Long-Term Plan)

Attendees may register for the webinar via the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYkc-6tpzwsH9w24VxGrFvVsnhSRKoYqHa6. If you are not able to attend this webinar, it will be recorded and posted to the ABP website for easy access and review.

Group B Small DG Block 2 capacity reached

Block 2 for the Group B Small Distributed Generation (“DG”) project category (i.e., DG projects up to and including 10 kW AC) has been filled. Block 2 will remain open for 7 calendar days per the soft-close provision in Section 6.3.2 of the Revised Long-Term Plan approved by the Illinois Commerce Commission on February 18, 2020.

Group B Small DG batches submitted prior to November 16, 2020 at 5:00 PM Central Prevailing Time will be allocated to Block 2, provided that the application fee is paid within 10 business days following submittal. Once the 7-day window of the soft-close has concluded, Block 2 will be considered closed and Block 3 will open. Group B Small DG applications submitted on or after November 16, 2020 at 5:00 PM Central Prevailing Time will be allocated to Block 3 and if verified will receive Block 3 REC pricing. The Program Administrator will make another announcement on the date of the opening of Block 3 for Group B Small DG.

The capacity allocated to Block 2 during this soft-close period impacts the capacity available for Block 3. Any applications submitted as part of a paid batch during the soft close period that exceed the capacity of Group B Small DG Block 2 will be deducted from the 13 MW capacity of Group B Small DG Block 3. For example, if 2 MW of capacity in excess of the capacity of Group B Block 2 is allocated during the soft-close period, Group B Small DG Block 3 will have an opening capacity of 11 MW, rather than the initial capacity noted above.

If capacity allocated during the soft-close period exceeds the total capacity of Group B Block 3, the submitted application that exceeds that capacity, as well as all other applications submitted in a paid batch prior to 11:59 PM Central Prevailing Time on the date of capacity being exceeded, will be allocated to Block 3 up to a cap of 2 MW of additional Block 3 capacity (this 2 MW cap is similar to the previously announced Block Closing Protocol released in anticipation of the closing of Large DG Block 4, which included a cap of 5 MW, with this difference in size intended to better match the smaller size of Small DG Block 3). This 2 MW cap would likewise apply to the closing of Block 3 if the soft closing of Block 2 does not exceed Block 3 capacity.

All subsequently submitted applications will be placed on a waitlist as the Block will be considered closed.  At this time, there is no schedule for opening future Small DG blocks under Group B.