Audubon Delta is celebrating a landmark victory for birds and people in Mississippi thanks to momentous action recently taken by the Mississippi Public Service Commission.
In a bipartisan vote, the Commission adopted stronger renewable energy rules, which include key policies that boost opportunities for low and middle-income residents to enjoy the cost-saving benefits of solar energy – and this climate-friendly move delivers a big payoff for birds too.
Scientific studies show climate change is the biggest threat to birds and people. Adopting a robust renewable energy policy is critical to reducing pollution, lowering global temperatures, and preserving the places that birds, like Mississippi’s vulnerable Brown-headed Nuthatch, need to survive.
“We applaud the Commission on its forward-thinking effort to put rooftop solar within reach for all Mississippians while helping us fulfill our mission to address the number one threat to Mississippi’s birds, climate change,” said Jill Mastrototaro, Mississippi Policy Director for Audubon Delta.
The Commission’s decision places Mississippi as one of the leading states in the country for advancing equitable renewable energy policies and sends a clear message that the state is open to solar business.
During Commission’s 18-month-long process, Audubon Delta worked with a diverse coalition of partners – from solar installers, renewable energy industry groups, and social justice and conservation organizations – to provide technical comments and recommendations, many of which are reflected in the much stronger final rules.
Some of these important provisions include:
- An upfront $3,500 solar rebate paid to customers;
- Jump starting the solar marketplace by expanding eligibility for the rebate so that customers of all income levels are eligible to receive it and setting aside 50% of the rebate for low and middle-income customers (defined as customers with annual household incomes of up to 250% of the federal poverty level);
- Continuing the 2 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) low-income incentive and guaranteeing it for a period of 25 years;
- Allowing customers to transfer their rebate to rooftop solar installers;
- Setting customers’ rooftop solar size up to 110% of their peak load; and
- Exempting battery storage systems from being included in customers’ rooftop solar size.
Audubon is optimistic that these significant steps taken will set the stage for the Commission’s ongoing process to develop a strong community solar rule for Mississippi.