Rooftop solar and distributed generation policies and regulations are in flux across the nation. That’s according toThe 50 States of Solar, a quarterly publication from the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC). The first quarter of 2017 edition found that states are taking a wide range of actions on distributed generation, some good, some bad.
“2017 is off to a busy start for solar policy and rate design,” said Autumn Proudlove, lead author of the report and manager of Policy Research at NCCETC. “We’re continuing to see states take very different approaches to DG compensation, with new designs emerging each quarter.”
In the first quarter of the year, New York issued an order that will begin transitioning solar reimbursements under a Value of Distributed Energy Resources tariff, which is largely seen as good. Maine adopted a net metering successor tariff. That program has stages, the first stage is a buy-all, sell-all program, which is a similar approach to a bill advancing in Indiana to replace net metering with a buy-all sell-all program, the report found.
“As distributed solar has become becomes more widespread, the policy discussions in many states have moved on from the old battles about debates over whether and how to encourage solar market development,” noted David Sarkisian, Policy Analyst at NCCETC. “Broader discussions are now taking place on the future of electricity generation and how to best incorporate solar energy’s value alongside other resources and new and existing infrastructure.”
The report found that 21 states either considered or made changes to their net metering policies and 12 states took some sort of policy action on community solar. The report also found that 14 states and Washington, DC, expressed interested of examined the value of distributed generation or the costs and benefits of net metering.
Utilities were also active in pushing for new or increased fees, the report found. Fully 46 utilities across 23 states and the Capitol made requests to increase monthly fixed charges or minimum bills on all residential customers by at least 10 percent. Utilities also targeted rooftop solar with new or increased fee proposals. A total of 13 utilities across 8 states made such requests.
However, the utility fee increase requests were largely severely reduced. Of the 12 rate increases cases made in the quarter of 2017, utilities were granted an average 19 percent of their requested increases.Tweet