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HB 655: Provides relative to the management of solar resources


Abstract: Establishes a regulatory framework for the management of solar resources.

Present law provides for the sources of payments into the Bond Security and Redemption Fund. Proposed law adds solar power and limits the use of any monies deposited into the account to the administration and regulation of solar devices or solar power generation facilities.

Present law provides for the regulation of solar devices. Proposed law provides for the regulation of solar power generating facilities.

Present law prohibits the sale of solar devices that do not meet certain minimum requirements. Proposed law modifies present law by prohibiting the installation, instead of the sale, of solar devices in a solar power generation facility that do not meet certain minimum requirements.

Proposed law requires a permit to construct and operate a solar power generation facility. Further provides that the permit be bonded or secured in an amount to be determined by the secretary of the Dept. of Natural Resources to ensure proper site closure.

Proposed law further requires the instrument be payable to the Dept. of Natural Resources and ensure all of the following:

1. (1)  Substantial compliance with this Section and any rule or regulation promulgated pursuant to this Section.

2. (2)  Compliance with any permit issued or enforced pursuant to this Section.

3. (3)  Compliance, as determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, with provisions of the property lease for the exploration, development, and production of solar energy on which the facility is located and that the violation would require closure of the facility. Also requires the department notify the lessor of any enforcement action against a permittee or upon a claim against the bond or other instrument.

Proposed law further specifies that in determining the adequacy of the amount or other specific requirements of the bond or other financial security, the secretary must consider the following:

1. (1)  The assets, debts, and compliance history of the applicant or permittee.

2. (2)  The condition and capacity of the facilities to be covered by such security.

3. (3)  The estimated cost of site closure, including remediation of the property.

4. (4)  Any other factor that may impact the ability to operate and maintain the facilities.

Present law prohibits the secretary from preventing any person from developing, installing, or operating a solar device on his own property for residential use. Proposed law retains present law and adds a prohibition on the collection of any fee associated with such use.

Proposed law prohibits the construction or operation of any solar power generation facility that has a footprint of 10 or more acres without holding a permit issued pursuant to the rules and regulations provided for in proposed law.

Proposed law mandates the collection of an application fee not to exceed $550 per acre of the solar power generation facility footprint. Additionally, requires the collection of an annual monitoring and maintenance fee beginning the year after issuance and every year thereafter not to exceed $50 per acre of the facility footprint.

Proposed law requires a decommissioning plan for the facility that plans for closure at the end of life of the facility as well as closure in the event of a disaster making operation of the power generation facility impossible. Further requires that the plan be reviewed for sufficiency by the department.

Proposed law provides for the disposition of all moneys collected from fees provided for in proposed law into the Mineral and Energy Operation Fund.

Proposed law defines the terms "solar power generation facility" and "solar device".

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