South Carolina is the latest solar victory in 2014, according to The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), and overall it’s a been a good year for solar. In all, TASC says that seven states expanded their solar net metering programs in 2014 and no states repealed or reduced their net metering programs this year.
With the victory in South Carolina only six states lack a net metering provision for residential and small business solar power. “Repeated expansions and the addition of a 44th net metering state demonstrate the strength and fairness of solar net metering,” said Bryan Miller, TASC co-chairman and VP of Public Policy for Sunrun. “The public wants more rooftop solar, and they support net metering as the policy that drives solar growth.”
South Carolina’s two major utilities, Duke and SCE&G agreed to a net metering program at full retail rate, and to not seek solar-specific charges until 2021. “Cooperation was a key element when South Carolina passed solar legislation in June,” said Clark Gillespy, Duke Energy president of South Carolina. “Many of those same groups participating in that process have ironed out an agreement that will enable solar development in the state. Our customers will participate in the growth of solar through the various incentives described in the settlement.”
The organization said that the agreement reflects the will of South Carolinians. “In a recent South Carolina poll, 73 percent of respondents across political party lines said they want to see more solar growth. A strong majority of South Carolinians (more than 75 percent) agree that rooftop solar is an important part of providing choice and competition in electricity,” TASC stated.
Other states also saw major victories for rooftop solar. On the same day the news came from South Carolina, New York, made yet another move to increase solar power in that state. The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) also agreed to raise its net metering cap across all utilities in the state to 6 percent from 3 percent.
"This is a huge step forward in New York’s efforts to create new jobs, reduce pollution and fight climate change,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Governor Cuomo and the PSC deserve a lot of credit for being forward looking and for understanding the importance of market certainty. With 338 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity already installed across the state, this action puts New York on a clear trajectory to become one of the nation’s leading solar states.”
Aside from New York and South Carolina, TASC said 2014 saw net metering expansions and eligibility clarifications in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. “Despite utility attempts to eliminate rooftop solar across the country, TASC delivered seven net metering expansions in 2014 and zero retractions,” TASC said.Tweet