Update: Community Solar Legislation Undergoes Makeover

a field of solar panels

On December 13, 2023, the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee adopted a substitute version of H.B. 197 making several amendments to the proposed legislation that authorizes community solar programs in Ohio. The substitute version now serves as the working version of the bill when Committee work resumes in 2024.

Notable changes include:

  • Provides that a “large industrial customer” cannot be a subscriber to a community solar project
  • Prohibits participation in the community solar pilot program
  • Provides that large industrial customers cannot be charged in any way for any community solar pilot program costs
  • Permits regional governmental aggregators to purchase renewable attributes (credits, certificates or other benefits) or electricity generated by a community solar facility
  • Applies decommissioning requirements to community solar projects. Decommissioning must begin no later than 19 months after a community solar field stops generating electricity. Required written terms between the community solar operator and the property owner must include:
    • Removal, and potential reuse and recycling of solar panels and site remediation
    • Removal of all nonutility-owned equipment, graveled areas, and access roads
    • Replacement of any topsoil and reseeding of the cleared area
  • Community solar operators must maintain a sufficient bond for decommissioning costs
  • Eliminates the “Solar Development Program” (a separate Appalachian focused community solar program)

Our previous article on this subject can be found here.

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