In the face of increasing force majeure claims arising from delays related to obtaining renewable energy approvals and necessary connection approvals, the OPA announced yesterday that it will be offering one year extensions of the milestone date for commercial operation to all FIT counterparties who have not yet reached commercial operation. The one-year extension will not affect domestic content requirements, meaning that solar projects meeting the 50% domestic content level and wind projects meeting the 25% domestic content level will be permitted to be constructed throughout 2011. It is unclear how this extension will apply to capacity-allocation exemption projects, which had the applicable milestone date for commercial operation pushed out by four months last year.

The extensions will be implemented through FIT contract amendments, which will include a waiver by the supplier of certain force majeure rights. The OPA has indicated that it will be contacting FIT counterparties directly via email with the extension offer and further details on the associated amendment.

The announcement, along with a frequently asked questions summary, can be found on the OPA’s website.