Category: Uncategorized

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.

Designee Registration Follow Up Questions from October 23, 2020 Webinar

The following questions were asked during the October 23, 2020 webinar for the new Designee registration functionality in the ABP portal and are answered below:

  • What prompted this change (requirement for Designees to register with the Program)?
    • Section 6.9.1 of the Revised Long-Term Plan published by the IPA on April 20, 2020, describes a new requirement for Approved Vendor Designees (i.e., third-party entities working with Approved Vendors that have direct interaction with end-use customers) to register and be listed on the ABP and Illinois Shines websites along with identifying the Approved Vendors with which they are working. The purpose of this new requirement is to increase transparency: potential customers will be able to verify that a company contacting that customer is indeed registered with the Program and be able to review if that company is listed in the Program’s consumer complaint database or the disciplinary actions report. All Designees will be added to the Program’s publicly facing Designee database once registered. This database will be housed on both the ABP and Illinois Shines websites for easy access.
  • Do installers of community solar have to register as designees (since they aren’t consumer-facing)?
    • No, because community solar installers do not have direct interaction with end-use customers they are not required to register as a Designee with the Program.
  • Who needs to register as an Approved Vendor Designee?
    • Every third-party entity that has direct interaction with end-use customers needs to register as a Designee. This includes:
      • DG Installers
      • Marketing firms
      • Lead generators
      • Sales organizations
  • Do third party companies working with Approved Vendors under Illinois Solar for All need to register as an Approved Vendor Designee?
    • Illinois Solar for All has a process for registering third-party entities that have direct interaction with end-use customers as ILSFA Aggregator Designees and subcontractors. More information about registering with Illinois Solar for All can be found here. ILSFA Aggregator Designees and subcontractors are not required to register as ABP Approved Vendor Designees.
  • If our company is an Approved Vendor but also operates as an Approved Vendor Designee for other Approved Vendors, do we need to submit an Approved Vendor Designee Registration?
    • If your company operates as a Designee but is also an Approved Vendor, you must also register as a Designee and identify those Approved Vendors or Designees with which you work.
  • Are Approved Vendor Designee registrations required at the company level or user level?
    • One account from each entity registering as a Designee is required. It is not required for all employees (or, in the case of sales personnel operating as independent contractors, each independent contractor) of the Designee to have their own Designee accounts.  The Program Administrator encourages Designees to only have one Designee account at the company level with an appointed person that is the contact for this Designee account on file with the Program.
  • What is a nested Designee?
    • A nested Designee is a Designee’s Designee (Approved Vendor > Approved Vendor Designee > Nested Designee), as opposed to an Approved Vendor Designee. All nested Designees that have direct interaction with end-use customers are required to register as Designees with the Program.
  • Where can I find the presentation slides and the webinar recording from the October 23rd training webinar?
    • These materials were sent out via email on Friday, October 23, 2020 and can also be found here:
    • What is the deadline for existing Designees to register with the Program?
      • New Designees must register prior to working with any Approved Vendor. Existing designees must register by Thursday, December 10, 2020 (which is 45 calendar days from the October 26, 2020 release of the Designee Registration functionality) to remain in compliance with Program requirements.
    • Our company is already linked to an Approved Vendor account as their Designee, do I still need to register as an Approved Vendor Designee?
      • Yes, all third-party entities that have direct interaction with end-use customers need to submit a registration using the new registration functionality, even if your company has already been operating as a Designee for an Approved Vendor in the Program. If your company is not registered as an Approved Vendor Designee by December 10, 2020, it will not be able to access functionality in the ABP portal.

If you have any further questions on this new Program requirement, please reach out to the Program Administrator at admin@illinoisabp.com or (877) 783-1820.

ABP Designee Registration Requirement and Functionality Training Presentation Recording and Slide Deck

A webinar to introduce the Designee registration functionality and provide training on how to use it was recorded October 23, 2020 to ensure that all entities are prepared to utilize the functionality before it goes live. Approved Vendors and Designees may access the recorded presentation and slide deck here.  Please note that answers to questions asked during the webinar will be posted next week by the Program Administrator.

New Designees must register prior to working with any Approved Vendor. Existing designees of an Approved Vendor must register by Thursday, December 10, 2020 (which is 45 calendar days from the October 26, 2020 release of the Designee Registration functionality) to remain in compliance with Program requirements.

Approved Vendors are responsible for ensuring that both their Designees and Designees of their Designees register with the Program. Approved Vendors who fail to do so may be subject to disciplinary action. For example, if an Approved Vendor has an installer as a Designee, and that installer hires a lead generation firm to assist with marketing, the Approved Vendor is responsible for ensuring that the lead generation firm (in addition to the installer) registers with the Program. One benefit to Approved Vendors through this system is that they will know which downstream firms are working with their direct Designees and may be able to better monitor those firms’ behavior, as the Approved Vendor ultimately is responsible that each of the entities under its umbrella complies with Program requirements.

Please reach out to the Program Administrator at admin@illinoisabp.com or (877) 783-1820 with any questions.

Removal of the Standard Capacity Factors on November 5, 2020

The use of a standard capacity factor will be removed as an option for the method of production estimation used for applications in the ABP portal on November 5, 2020. After that date Approved Vendors will be able to select from the option of either a capacity factor calculated in the portal using PVWatts or proposing an alternative capacity factor. This change is being made to comport with the provisions of Section 6.14.5 of the Revised Long-Term Plan which removed references to the use of standard capacity factors (which had been an option in the Initial Long-Term Plan). This change will not impact project applications submitted prior to that date that utilized a standard capacity factor.

The removal of the standard capacity factors will become effective on November 5, 2020.

Designee Registration Portal Training – Friday Oct 23

Section 6.9.1 of the IPA’s Revised Long-Term Plan created a new requirement for Approved Vendor Designees (i.e., third-party entities working with Approved Vendors that have direct interaction with end-use customers) to register with the Adjustable Block Program. Designees may register under one or more of the following roles: Disclosure Form Designee, Community Solar Subscriber Agent, Installer, Marketing or Sales Organization.

The Program Administrator has created a new Designee registration functionality that is expected to be released through the ABP portal on Monday, October 26, 2020. A webinar to introduce this new functionality and provide training on how to use it will take place on Friday, October 23, 2020 at 1:00 PM Central Standard Time.

Please use the following link to register for the webinar: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYofu2oqjkvGtHYwGVr0wQku6H-4O1QsydL

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. If you are not able to attend this training webinar, it will be recorded and posted to the ABP website for easy access and review.

Please note that all Designees, that work within the ABP, must complete the designee registration no later than Thursday, December 10, 2020, which is 45 days from the release date of this functionality.

Release of Revised ABP Distributed Generation Marketing Guidelines

The revised Adjustable Block Program Distributed Generation Marketing Guidelines are now finalized and posted here along with a redline document that compares the changes between the original version published on January 31, 2019 and this revised version.*

These revised guidelines apply to all distributed generation sales and marketing activity moving forward. Approved Vendors and those operating on their behalf are expected to be familiar with the updates made in this new version of the marketing guidelines and adhere to all requirements outlined in the document. Consistent with the ICC’s Order in Docket No. 19-0995, there will be a grace period of 45 calendar days from September 16, 2020 before any disciplinary action is taken for violations of new requirements found in these guidelines.

The revision of the ABP Community Solar Marketing Guidelines is still in process and is anticipated to be finalized in September 2020.  Please note that there will be significant differences between the Distributed Generation and the Community Solar Marketing Guidelines; Approved Vendors thus should not use the revised Distributed Generation Marketing Guidelines as indicative of pending changes for community solar.

Please reach out to the Program Administrator at admin@illinoisabp.com or (877) 783-1820 with any questions.

*Please note that the changes reflected in the redline comparison may seem far more extensive than the actual changes as there was a significant amount of reorganization of text between this version of the document and the January 31, 2019 version.

Second Draft REC Contract Workshop

On September, 11, the Illinois Power Agency, in conjunction with NERA Economic Consulting and the Adjustable Block Program Administrator, InClime, held a Virtual Stakeholder Workshop to discuss the Second Draft of the Refreshed REC Contract that was posted on September 4, 2020 alongside a request for stakeholder comments. The Webinar can be viewed below and the PowerPoint viewed in the presentation can be viewed by clicking here.

 

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.

Request for Stakeholder Comments – Second Draft of the Refreshed ABP REC Contract

The Illinois Power Agency is seeking feedback on the second draft of the refreshed Adjustable Block Program REC contract with comments due by September 18, 2020. The second draft of the refreshed REC contract, a comparison of the second draft of the refreshed REC contract and the first draft of the refreshed REC Contract, and a Request for Stakeholder Comments document can be found at www.illinoisabp.com/rec-contract. Please see the Request for Stakeholder Comments for additional background and information, and details on a virtual workshop scheduled for Friday, September 11, 2020 at 10:00 AM Central Standard Time.