80.28.370  <<  80.28.375 >>   80.28.900

Community solar companiesRequirements to engage in businessRegistration.

(1) No community solar company may engage in business in this state except in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. Engaging in business as a community solar company includes advertising, soliciting, offering, or entering into an agreement to own a community solar project and provide community solar project services to electric utility customers.
(2) A community solar company must register with the commission before engaging in business in this state or applying for certification from the Washington State University extension energy program under RCW 82.16.165(1). Registration with the commission as a community solar company must occur on an annual basis. The registration must be on a form prescribed by the commission and contain that information as the commission may by rule require, but must include at a minimum:
(a) The name and address of the community solar company;
(b) The name and address of the community solar company's registered agent, if any;
(c) The name, address, and title of each officer or director;
(d) The community solar company's most current balance sheet;
(e) The community solar company's latest annual report, if any;
(f) A description of the services the community solar company offers or intends to offer, including financing models; and
(g) Disclosure of any pending litigation against it.
(3) As a precondition to registration, the commission may require the procurement of a performance bond or other mechanism sufficient to cover any advances or deposits the community solar company may collect from project participants or order that the advances or deposits be held in escrow or trust.
(4) The commission may deny registration to any community solar company that:
(a) Does not provide the information required by this section;
(b) Fails to provide a performance bond or other mechanism, if required;
(c) Does not possess adequate financial resources to provide the proposed service; or
(d) Does not possess adequate technical competency to provide the proposed service.
(5) The commission must take action to approve or issue a notice of hearing concerning any application for registration within thirty days after receiving the application. The commission may approve an application with or without a hearing. The commission may deny an application after a hearing.
(6) The commission may charge a community solar company an annual application fee to recover the cost of processing applications for registration under this section.
(7) The commission may adopt rules that describe the manner by which it will register a community solar company, ensure that the terms and conditions of community solar projects or community solar project services comply with the requirements of chapter 36, Laws of 2017 3rd sp. sess., establish the community solar company's responsibilities for responding to customer complaints and disputes, and adopt annual reporting requirements. In addition to the application fee authorized under subsection (6) of this section, the commission may adopt regulatory fees applicable to community solar companies pursuant to RCW 80.04.080, 80.24.010, and 80.24.020. Such fees may not exceed the cost of ensuring compliance with this chapter.
(8) The commission may suspend or revoke a registration upon complaint by any interested party, or upon the commission's own motion after notice and opportunity for hearing, when it finds that a registered community solar company or its agent has violated this chapter or the rules of the commission, or that the community solar company or its agent has been found by a court or governmental agency to have violated the laws of a state or the United States.
(9) For the purpose of ensuring compliance with this chapter, the commission may issue penalties against community solar companies for violations of this chapter as provided for public service companies pursuant to chapter 80.04 RCW.
(10) Upon request of the commission, a community solar company registered under this section must provide information about its community solar projects or community solar project services.
(11) A violation of this section constitutes an unfair or deceptive act in trade or commerce in violation of chapter 19.86 RCW, the consumer protection act. Acts in violation of chapter 36, Laws of 2017 3rd sp. sess. are not reasonable in relation to the development and preservation of business, and constitute matters vitally affecting the public interest for the purpose of applying the consumer protection act, chapter 19.86 RCW.
(12) For the purposes of RCW 19.86.170, actions or transactions of a community solar company may not be deemed otherwise permitted, prohibited, or regulated by the commission.

NOTES:

FindingsIntentEffective date2017 3rd sp.s. c 36: See notes following RCW 82.16.130.
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