The NC Clean Energy Technology Center, in a collaboration with Meister Consultants Group, reports all but four states took some form of solar policy action on policies or rates in 2015. As you might imagine, a number of policy considerations for solar involved net metering.
Regarding the issue of solar electricity, the report has issued these details:
- 27 states considered or enacted changes to net metering policies
- 24 states formally examined or resolved to examine some element of the value of distributed generation
- 7 states had policy action on community solar
- 61 utilities in 30 states proposed increasing monthly fixed charges on residential customers at a median rate of $5 per month
- 21 utilities in 13 states proposed adding new or increasing existing charges specific to rooftop solar customers
- 6 states had policy action on third-party solar ownership laws or regulations
- 5 states had action on utility-owned rooftop solar policies or programs
The report also looked at existing state solar policies:
- 41 states have mandatory net metering rules for all or certain utilities
- At least 10 states have conducted studies to develop methodologies to value the electricity generated by rooftop solar systems
- 14 states have statewide community solar policies
- 26 states allow third-party solar power purchase agreements, a popular financing mechanism for homeowners going solar
Benjamin Inskeep, report co-author and energy policy analyst at the NC Clean Energy Technology Center, said, “With more than 200,000 Americans working in good-paying solar jobs, solar has been a true success story for our recovering economy.”
Inskeep said this report demonstrates important state policies like net metering are experiencing unprecedented uncertainty, as many states considered drastic policy changes in 2015. “If we want to continue to increase the amount of electricity we generate from clean energy and keep these good jobs in our communities, then it is paramount that solar policies fairly treat — not penalize — folks who go solar,” said Inskeep.
Report details are contained in a special annual review edition of the quarterly report, “The 50 States of Solar.” The quarterly series provides insights on state regulatory and legislative discussions and actions on distributed solar policy, with a focus on net metering, community solar, residential fixed charges, residential solar charges, third-party ownership, and utility-led rooftop solar programs.
Key Solar Policy Actions in 2015
Many of the headlines have focused on changes to net metering, especially in Nevada, Hawaii and California.
“The last quarter of 2015 has demonstrated that states and utilities are responding to the increase in distributed generation in radically different ways,” Kathryn Wright, study co-author and consultant at Meister Consultants Group, said in a statement. “Nevada’s decision to roll back net metering and California’s continued support of retail-rate net metering illustrate the stark contrast.”
Image via NC Clean Energy Technology Center