Cooperative Procurement/Solar PPA Bill Carried Over to 2019

February 22, 2018

Senator John Edwards’ cooperative procurement/solar power purchase agreements (PPA’s) bill, SB 312 (Edwards), was carried over to 2019 at the request of the patron.

Generally speaking, the bill seeks to take solar PPAs out of the cooperative procurement process in order to streamline and expedite solar deployment in localities.

More specifically, SB 31 does the following:

  • Provides that construction performed in creating a good or service pursuant to a solar services agreement, solar power purchase agreement, or solar self-generation agreement shall not be defined as construction, notwithstanding any reference to “construction” in a request for proposal for a solar services agreement, solar power purchase agreement, or solar self-generation agreement;
  • Provides that professional services performed in creating a good or service pursuant to a solar services agreement, solar power purchase agreement, or solar self-generation agreement shall not be defined as a professional service, notwithstanding any reference to “professional services” in a request for proposal for a solar services agreement, solar power purchase agreement, or solar self-generation agreement;
  • Authorizes any contracting entity to purchase services under a solar services agreement, solar power purchase agreement, or solar self-generation agreement entered into by another contracting entity, even if it did not participate in the request for proposals, if the request for proposals specified that the procurement was being conducted on behalf of other contracting entities; and
  • Specifies that project agreements for power purchase agreements that reference a master solar power purchase agreement, whether or not the master power purchase agreement is still in effect, shall be binding and effective stand-alone agreements for as long as the life of the project agreements, and may be used by a contracting entity to purchase services under a cooperative procurement agreement.

SB 312 originally reported out of the Senate General Laws and Technology Committee and eventually passed the full Senate with amendments on February 13, after which it was referred to the House General Laws Committee. Concerns arose, however, as the bill, as amended, seemingly would impair and potentially nullify existing contracts between power providers and local governments, school systems, authorities, and other government entities. Acknowledging the seriousness of these concerns, the lack of an immediate fix to the legislation, and the short timeframe with which the bill could be effectively dealt with, Senator Edwards graciously agreed to carry the bill over to 2019 and re-examine this issue in the coming months.

VACo is eager to continue to work with Senator Edwards and concerned stakeholders in advance of the next legislative session to find a way to successfully address solar PPA’s and cooperative procurement.

VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.

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