[Congressional Bills 112th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[S. 1108 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

112th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                S. 1108

 To provide local communities with tools to make solar permitting more 
                   efficient, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                              May 26, 2011

Mr. Sanders (for himself, Mr. Boozman, and Mr. Bingaman) introduced the 
 following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on 
                      Energy and Natural Resources

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To provide local communities with tools to make solar permitting more 
                   efficient, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``10 Million Solar Roofs Act of 
2011''.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Best practices for solar permitting.--The term ``best 
        practices for solar permitting'' means 1 or more practices--
                    (A) defined by the Secretary by regulation as--
                            (i) promoting standardization and 
                        uniformity for local permitting requirements 
                        for solar energy across jurisdictions; and
                            (ii)(I) lowering the solar energy system 
                        installation costs associated with local 
                        permitting; or
                            (II) expediting the local permitting 
                        process for solar energy; and
                    (B) identified by the Secretary through 
                consultation with--
                            (i) local governments, including each local 
                        government that participates in the Rooftop 
                        Solar Challenge or other appropriate solar 
                        energy program of the Department of Energy; and
                            (ii) members of the solar energy industry.
            (2) Challenge grant.--The term ``challenge grant'' means a 
        grant awarded under a competitive program to 1 or more 
        applicants that achieve implementation of best practices for 
        solar permitting.
            (3) Commitment to adopt best practices for solar 
        permitting.--The term ``commitment to adopt best practices for 
        solar permitting'' means an agreement or memorandum of 
        understanding between the head of a local government and the 
        Secretary that contains--
                    (A) an outline of steps that the local government 
                commits to take to adopt best practices for solar 
                permitting; and
                    (B) a timeline for implementation of the steps 
                described in subparagraph (A).
            (4) Installed nameplate capacity.--The term ``installed 
        nameplate capacity'' means the maximum output of a solar 
        electric system under specific conditions designated by the 
        manufacturer of the solar electric system.
            (5) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
        of Energy.
            (6) Solar energy system.--The term ``solar energy system'' 
        means rooftop or ground-mounted solar equipment--
                    (A) that is used to generate electricity or heat 
                water in the United States; and
                    (B) with an installed nameplate capacity not 
                exceeding 1 megawatt or the thermal equivalent of 1 
                megawatt.

SEC. 3. TOOLS FOR EFFICIENT INSTALLATION OF SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEMS.

    (a) In General.--As soon as practicable after the date of enactment 
of this Act, the Secretary shall establish a program under which the 
Secretary shall provide competitive grants or challenge grants, or 
both, to local governments or consortia of local governments that have 
adopted or offer a commitment to adopt best practices for solar 
permitting for properties located in the United States.
    (b) Implementation.--
            (1) Solar certifications.--The Secretary shall provide 
        voluntary certification and recognition for local governments 
        (including local governments that receive grants under 
        paragraph (2)) that indicate that the local government has 
        adopted best practices for solar permitting.
            (2) Competitive grants and challenge grants.--
                    (A) In general.--For each fiscal year, the 
                Secretary shall award competitive grants or challenge 
                grants, or both, to local governments and consortia of 
                local governments to be used in accordance with this 
                section.
                    (B) Requirements.--The Secretary shall adopt and 
                implement criteria for awarding competitive grants or 
                challenge grants, or both, under subparagraph (A) to 
                local governments and consortia of local governments--
                            (i) to promote greater standardization, 
                        efficiency, and uniformity for solar energy 
                        permitting across jurisdictions; and
                            (ii) that would--
                                    (I) require that grant awards are 
                                provided only to local governments or 
                                consortia of local governments that 
                                have--
                                            (aa) adopted or offer a 
                                        commitment to adopt best 
                                        practices for solar permitting; 
                                        and
                                            (bb) provided quantitative 
                                        metrics to measure success;
                                    (II) ensure that grants are awarded 
                                to a diversity of geographic locations 
                                and recipients with different 
                                population sizes; and
                                    (III) provide a preference for 
                                grant applicants that have partnered 
                                with States, public utility 
                                commissions, or other stakeholders to 
                                adopt or enhance standards and policies 
                                to overcome other barriers to 
                                distributed generation (including 
                                interconnection and net metering).
            (3) Authorized use of funds for competitive grants.--
        Subject to subsection (c), competitive grants provided under 
        this section may be used for--
                    (A) training for making, to the maximum extent 
                practicable, the local permitting process for solar 
                energy systems more standardized, efficient, and less 
                expensive;
                    (B) the development of materials, Internet-based 
                tools and application processes, and other tools or 
                information to make, to the maximum extent practicable, 
                the local permitting process for solar energy systems 
                more standardized, efficient, and less expensive;
                    (C) solar energy system deployment projects or 
                programs to pilot new permitting strategies or 
                processes; and
                    (D) other programs or projects to achieve the 
                objectives described in subparagraphs (A) through (C), 
                as determined by the Secretary.
            (4) Authorized use of funds for challenge grants.--Subject 
        to subsection (c), challenge grants provided under this section 
        may be used for--
                    (A) solar energy system deployment projects; and
                    (B) programs to pilot new permitting strategies or 
                processes.
    (c) Rescission for Noncompliance.--The Secretary shall rescind any 
amount of grant funds that the Secretary considers to be appropriate 
that is provided to any grant recipient that--
            (1) receives funds based on a commitment to adopt best 
        practices for solar permitting; but
            (2) is unable to implement the steps necessary to adopt the 
        best practices for solar permitting.
    (d) Non-Federal Share.--The Secretary shall require that each 
entity that receives grant funds under this section shall be 
responsible for a matching amount (including in-kind services)--
            (1) established by the Secretary for each fiscal year for 
        which funds are authorized; and
            (2) not to exceed 50 percent of the amount of the provided 
        funds.
    (e) Administrative Expenses.--
            (1) In general.--Not more than 5 percent of the amounts 
        made available for each fiscal year under this section may be 
        used to pay the administrative expenses of the Department of 
        Energy that the Secretary determines to be necessary to carry 
        out this Act (including expenses arising from monitoring and 
        evaluation).
            (2) Grant recipients.--Grant recipients may use not more 
        than 5 percent of the amounts made available for each fiscal 
        year under this section to pay for administrative expenses.
    (f) Coordination; Consultation.--To the maximum extent practicable, 
the Secretary shall consult with the Secretary of the Treasury and the 
Chief Executive of each grant recipient that receives funds under this 
section to ensure that each program or project carried out by each 
grant recipient through the use of the funds is coordinated with each 
other applicable incentive or financing program of the Federal 
Government or any other applicable program.
    (g) Goals.--The goals of the United States, through this Act and 
any additional or existing incentive or research and development 
program, are--
            (1) to install distributed solar energy systems on not less 
        than 10,000,000 properties located in the United States by 
        December 31, 2020; and
            (2) to achieve cost reductions in the price of solar energy 
        by December 31, 2020, consistent with the SunShot Initiative of 
        the Department of Energy.
    (h) Reports.--
            (1) Report regarding additional recommendations.--Not later 
        than 270 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the 
        Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Energy and Natural 
        Resources of the Senate and the Committee on Energy and 
        Commerce of the House of Representatives a report that contains 
        additional recommendations that the Secretary determines to be 
        necessary to achieve each goal described in subsection (g).
            (2) Report regarding progress of grant recipients.--Not 
        later than 2 years after the date on which funds are first made 
        available under this section, the Secretary shall submit to the 
        appropriate committees of Congress a report that contains a 
        description of the progress of grant recipients under this 
        section in implementing and maintaining best practices for 
        solar permitting.
    (i) Funding.--
            (1) In general.--Of the amounts authorized to be 
        appropriated under section 641(p)(3) of the Energy Independence 
        and Security Act of 2007 (42 U.S.C. 17231(p)(3)), the Secretary 
        may use to carry out this section $50,000,000 for each of 
        fiscal years 2012 through 2016.
            (2) Termination.--Paragraph (1) shall terminate on October 
        1, 2016.
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