Category: Guidebook

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.

Stakeholder Comments – Draft Program Guidebook

The Illinois Power Agency published a request for stakeholder feedback regarding the Draft Program Guidebook in August, 2020. The deadline for submitting comments was extended to Friday, September 4, 2020. The stakeholder comments regarding the Draft Program Guidebook are posted below:
The Adjustable Block Program Administrator would like to thank all stakeholders that provided comments on the request for stakeholder feedback regarding the Draft Program Guidebook. We are reviewing the comments and will release a final Guidebook within a few weeks, after reviewing the stakeholder feedback.

Program Guidebook Update – Request for Stakeholder Comment

A draft updated Adjustable Block Program Guidebook has been released for stakeholder feedback. The draft updated Program Guidebook and a redlined document showing changes from the May 31, 2019 version can be found here . As detailed in Section 9 of the current Program Guidebook, the Program Administrator is requesting comments on the changes in this draft version of the Program Guidebook. In lieu of hosting a webinar to discuss any changes made to this version of the Guidebook, the IPA and its Program Administrator are happy to provide answers to any questions or otherwise receive less formal input or feedback outside of the formal comment process, if necessary.

Stakeholders should email comments to admin@illinoisabp.com by Friday, September 4, 2020 (extended from Friday, August 21, 2020). In general, responses will be made public and published on the ABP’s website (https://illinoisabp.com/). However, should a commenter seek to designate any portion of its response as confidential, that commenter should provide both public and redacted versions of their comments. The Program Administrator has provided a Word document version of the draft Program Guidebook in the case that stakeholders wish to edit the document directly and send an edited version of this document to the Program Administrator.

Key changes in this draft version of the Program Guidebook include, among others:

  • Updates to conform with the Revised Long-Term Renewable Resources Plan
  • Information on Designee Registration
  • Clarification on the Program’s disciplinary process
  • Removal of stale sections that are no longer relevant to the Program as it exists today

Program Guidebook Updated

The Illinois Power Agency has updated its Adjustable Block Program Guidebook previously published on April 3, 2019. The updated Program Guidebook and a redline showing changes from the April 3rd version can be found here. Key changes include, among others,
• an addition of Section 1, D titled “Waitlist Procedure Clarifications,” starting on page 15, which details the process that will be followed when projects are selected off of a waitlist;
• clarifying language added regarding self-installation;
• and a new requirement for Approved Vendors to incorporate the Adjustable Block Program application ID into the into a project’s PJM-GATS or M-RETS registration.

Group A and B Large DG are open for Block 4

The Illinois Power Agency and Program Administrator announce that the Group A, Large Distributed Generation (“DG”) project category (i.e. DG projects from 10 kW-2MW) and the Group B, Large DG project category are currently open for Block 4 pricing.

Projects that applied by February 13 in the Group A, Large DG project category were selected for Blocks 1 and 3 via lottery on April 10. Concurrently, remaining projects were selected for Block 4 via the Agency’s allocation of discretionary capacity. This project category currently is accepting project submissions for the remaining Block 4 capacity.

The Group B, Large DG project category closed for Block 2 pricing on Friday, April 5, 2019. As anticipated, as a result of the capacity of project submissions received for Blocks 1 and 2 by that date, this project category has skipped over Block 3. As of the closing of Block 2, this project category currently is accepting project submissions for the remaining Block 4 capacity.

The Program Dashboard shows the total capacity of applications received in each of Group A, Large DG and Group B, Large DG, broken down by application status.  As a reminder, the Agency’s April 3, 2019 allocation of discretionary capacity brings Group A, Large DG to a total capacity of 141 MW across Blocks 1-4 and Group B, Large DG to a total capacity of 150 MW across Blocks 1-4.

Program Guidebook Updated

The Illinois Power Agency has updated its Program Guidebook previously published on January 31, 2019. The updated Program Guidebook and a redline showing changes from the January 31st version can be found here. Key changes include, among others, (i) an addition of the section titled “Violation of Consumer Protections, Marketing Guidelines, or other Program Requirements”, starting on page 25, which details the process that will be followed when Approved Vendors (or their agents or designees) do not abide by Program guidelines; (ii) clarifying language added regarding the allocation of discretionary capacity; and (iii) clarifying language added regarding changes in system capacity factors from Part I of the application to Part II.

Adjustable Block Program Discretionary Capacity Allocation

The IPA and the Program Administrator announce the allocation of the remaining 25% of Program capacity (approximately 166.5 MW). The Agency has allocated the remaining Adjustable Block Program capacity in a manner which it believes best accommodates the considerations applicable to its allocation. The discretionary allocations for each Group/category along with the Agency’s rationale for this decision can be found in the Allocation of Adjustable Block Program Discretionary Capacity Rationale document.

The Agency and the Program Administrator appreciate the hard work and massive commitment of resources provided by Approved Vendors and other parties in preparing the project applications received during the program’s launch. While we understand that not every stakeholder will agree with this allocation of discretionary capacity, it is the product of attempting to balance competing concerns against the backdrop of a limited budget. Not all applicant projects can be supported in the program’s first phase, and we hope to support many additional projects in future years.

Group B Large DG Block 2 Closing

The Illinois Power Agency (“IPA”) and Program Administrator announce that Block 2 for the Group B, Large Distributed Generation (“DG”) project category (i.e. DG projects from 10 kW-2MW) is closing. Block 2 will remain open for the next 14 days per the Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan’s “soft closing” concept which states that blocks will be “held open until the later of (i) 45 calendar days after opening, or (ii) when the block is filled (in which case the block would be held open for an additional 14 additional calendar days after it is filled).”

Block 2 will close Friday, April 5, 2019 at 5:00 PM Central Prevailing Time. Assuming available capacity, projects in batches submitted during this 14-day window will receive Block 2 pricing if the project application is approved by the Program Administrator, with approval subject to the availability of capacity within this category (capped by the combined capacity of Blocks 2 and 3) plus any discretionary capacity allocated to Group B, Large DG that is announced. Once the 14-day window has concluded, Block 2 will be considered closed and Block 3 will open, to the extent that any Block 3 capacity remains available. Once the combined capacity of Blocks 1-3 has been reached, batches will be considered on a first come/first served basis, and will be deemed eligible for any Block 4 discretionary capacity allocated to the Group B, Large DG category on that basis should the Agency allocate discretionary capacity to Group B, Large DG.

Consistent with the process described in the paragraph A.2 of the Program Guidebook, all Group B, Large DG projects that applied to the Adjustable Block Program in the first 14 days after Program opening (January 30, 2019) will receive Block 1 pricing if the project application is approved. Because the capacity of project applications received during those 14 days (approximately 97 MW) was at least 100% and under 200% of Block 1 capacity, Block 2 in the Group B, Large DG category opened automatically after the first 14 days.

The IPA expects to announce its allocation of discretionary capacity next week, which will provide additional Program capacity at Block 4 pricing.

As a reminder, Group A, Large DG, and both Group A and Group B, Community Solar categories will be subject to the lottery procedures, with each of those three lotteries scheduled for April 10, 2019. Groups A and B, Small DG remain open in Block 1.