62-126.7. Commission authority over electric generator lessors.

(a) No person shall engage in the leasing of a solar energy facility without having applied for and obtained a certificate authorizing those operations from the Commission. The application for a certificate of authority to engage in business as an electric generator lessor shall be made in a form prescribed by the Commission and accompanied by the fee required pursuant to G.S. 62-300(a)(16).

(b) In acting upon the application for a certificate of authority to engage in business as an electric generator lessor, the Commission shall take into account the State's interest in encouraging the leasing of solar electric generation facilities and avoidance of cross-subsidization as declared by the policy objectives of this Article as provided in G.S. 62-126.2, as well as the policy of the State, as provided in G.S. 62-2(a). The Commission shall issue a certificate of authority to engage in business as an electric generator lessor if the Commission finds that the applicant is fit, willing, and able to conduct that business in accordance with the provisions of this Article. The certificate shall be effective from the date issued unless otherwise specified therein and shall remain in effect until terminated under the terms thereof, or until suspended or revoked as herein provided.

(c) As a condition for issuance and continuation of a certificate of authority for an electric generator lessor, the applicant shall certify to the Commission all of the following:

(1) The applicant will register with the Commission each solar energy facility that the applicant leases to a customer generator lessee.

(2) That each lease of a solar energy facility that the applicant offers or accepts will comply with the provisions of this Article.

(3) The applicant will consent to the auditing of its books and records by the Public Staff insofar as those records relate to transactions with an offering utility or a customer generator lessee that is located in the State.

(4) That the applicant will conduct its business in substantial compliance with all federal and State laws, regulations, and rules for the protection of the environment and conservation of natural resources, the provision of electric service, and the protection of consumers.

(d) Upon the request of an electric public utility, an electric membership corporation, the Public Staff, a customer generator lessee, or person having an interest in the electric generator lessor's conduct of its business, the Commission may review the certificate to determine whether the electric generator lessor is conducting business in compliance with this Article. After notice to the electric generator lessor, the Commission may suspend the certificate and enter upon a hearing to determine whether the certificate should be revoked. After the hearing, and for good cause shown, the Commission may, in its discretion, reinstate a suspended certificate, continue a suspension of a certificate, or revoke a certificate.

(e) It shall be a violation of law punishable by a civil penalty of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per occurrence for any person to either directly or indirectly do any of the following:

(1) Solicit business as a lessor of solar energy facilities without a valid certificate issued under this section or otherwise in violation of the terms of this Article.

(2) Engage in any unfair or deceptive practice in the leasing of solar energy facilities or otherwise violate the requirements of G.S. 62-126.6.

(3) Operate in violation of the terms of the certificate issued by this Article. (2017-192, s. 6(a).)