There’s an increasingly shrill discussion among utilities (and from their own Edison Electric Institute) about the threat to their business from distributed energy, as their customers shift to getting their own power from local renewable resources. Reports and news stories – e.g. “Adapt or Die” – suggest changes to the business model are imminent as… Continue reading
Viewing the net metering tag archive
This presentation by Director of Democratic Energy John Farrell shows the politics, process, and policy that led to Minnesota becoming the 17th state with a solar or distributed renewable energy standard in 2013. Delivered to a webinar audience of Oregonians for Renewable Energy Progress (OREP) on July 16, 2013, it explains the new solar standard,… Continue reading
From outdated technical rules to local permitting to incentive policies, there are opportunities to increase the potential for local solar. This is the fourth of five parts of our Rooftop Revolution report being published in serial. Read Part 1 or Part 2 or Part 3. Download the entire report and see our other resources here…. Continue reading
Minneapolis, MN —Within a decade, more than 35 million buildings may be generating their own solar electricity (without subsidies) at prices lower than their utility offers, sufficient to power almost 10% of the country.
That’s the powerful headline from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s latest report, Commercial Rooftop Revolution. Despite the opportunity, utilities, regulators, and policy markers are largely unprepared for the surge of local solar power.
Read the report, view the interactive map, and more
Net metering is a common distributed renewable energy policy in the United States, allowing individuals to “turn back” their meter (and reduce their electric bill) by generating on-site electricity. But utility accounting systems typically prevent people from sharing the output from a single, common solar or wind project. Virtual (or group or neighborhood) net metering… Continue reading
When you subtract out shady roofs, renters, and other factors, only about 25% of Americans have a place to install solar power. With the high upfront cost of a complete system, the potential solar universe shrinks further. That changes with “community solar.” After a long wait on the state’s Public Utilities Commission to finalize the… Continue reading
Update: A third-party study of net metering in California also found that solar customers provide more benefit than cost to the utility Utilities often claim that allowing customers to run their meter backward (by generating electricity on-site, e.g. from rooftop solar) can affect their bottom line because these customers don’t pay enough to cover the… Continue reading
Updated 2/1/12 because I underestimated how the tiered pricing worked. Thanks to bkarney at Renewable Energy World for the comment. Last week I wrote about the time-of-use pricing scheme that PG&E offers in San Francisco, and how solar power is worth 14% more compared to a standard flat-rate electricity plan. In reality, it’s 36% or… Continue reading
I just got a copy of a utility bill for a Minnesota business that has a 40 kilowatt (kW) solar PV array. I’d hoped to get a sense for how quickly he’d pay off his array with the net metering revenue. I was shocked. Payback time was 30 years. Even if the business owner had… Continue reading
We’ve talked previously about the perversity of using tax credits to incentivize renewable energy production, increasing transaction costs and reducing participation in renewable energy development. But there are other perversities in U.S. state and utility renewable energy policies, especially with upfront rebates and net metering. Let’s start with rebates. Many states and utilities offer upfront… Continue reading