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FERC Reverses PURPA Ruling

On March 19, 2021, by a 3-2 vote, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) reversed its own September 1, 2020, decision that prevented the Broadview Solar facility in Montana (Broadview), a solar-plus-storage facility, from being given Qualifying Facility (QF) status, and therefore from receiving payments as a QF, under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). In re Broadview Solar, LLC, Docket No. QF17-454-006 (Order Addressing Arguments Raised on Rehearing and Setting Aside Prior Order March 19, 2021).

FERC’s September 1st decision has been characterized by some commentators as upending 40 years of prior decisions.

After Broadview, the Solar Energy Industries Association and other intervenors requested rehearing, and the original decision was reversed by FERC and Broadview was allowed QF status under PURPA.

FERC had ruled in its September 1st order that the facility could not qualify for PURPA payments because it had a gross capacity of 160 MW, even though the facility never provides more than 80 MW of electricity to the grid at any one time.

"It's not simply a solar array that instantaneously injects every megawatt it produces," Commissioner Neil Chatterjee said during the open meeting, "And to treat it as such is an error. Today's order appropriately accounts for the configuration of this hybrid facility, and creates a path forward for other projects that may be similarly configured."

Commissioner Danly dissented and filed a dissenting opinion. Commissioner Christie also dissented but did not file an opinion.

See the FERC Order and Commissioner Danly’s dissenting opinion here:


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