SolarCity Appoints Jon Willinghoff as Chief Policy Officer

SolarCity has announced that Jon Wellinghoff, former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), has joined the company as chief policy officer.


Wellinghoff's primary responsibility is to advise and oversee the company's regulatory and legal affairs around federal and state policies. Given FERC's sole jurisdiction over interstate electricity sales and wholesale prices, Wellinghoff aims to transform solar and wind energy resources into wholesale electricity markets.


SolarCity, one of the major installers of residential solar systems in the United States, continues to focus on ongoing debates about net metering. The California-controversial debate (click to see PV-Tech's previous report) stems from the state's new program, which seeks to fully match the load and demand, focusing on the interconnection costs of local taxpayers. Some private public authorities have appealed to the US Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in advance.


The Nevada Public Utilities Commission (NPUC) recently decided to triple the fixed fees paid by customers over the next four years (click to see PV-Tech's previous reports) and reduce credit for excess electricity production by three-quarters. This has caused panic.


Wellinghoff himself served as the general counsel of NPUC and served as the main advocate of two Nevada public utility consumer rights. As a well-known consumer advocate, he will be able to bring this expertise to SolarCity, enabling the company to seek opportunities to work with the public sector while ensuring that local taxpayers have the full benefits of rooftop PV.


Wellinghoff was previously blunt about the issue of solar energy and net metering, including the idea that net metering should be more closely integrated with time-of-use electricity prices.


In other news, SolarCity also announced that it has completed a second financing with US Bank of America Merrill Lynch and another investor for its renewable energy tax equity investment plan, investing $188 million in residential solar projects.

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