Net Metering On the Line

by Carly Rixham

Net metering, the policy that gives credit to solar-equipped homeowners for the clean power they contribute to the grid, is at risk in many states. Utility companies are pushing back hard to restrict net metering. They like large solar farms, because they sell that power. But utilities view rooftop solar as a threat to their bottom line, and want to remove incentives that help individuals to provide clean energy.

Right now, utilities have asked for anti-net metering actions in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. Many states are currently in a public comment periods as corporate lobbyists push legislatures and utility commissioners to decide in favor of utility power mongers.

Armed with scientific and economic studies on the costs and benefits of net metering, solar installers and advocates are fighting to defend net metering On the opposing side, utilities have ordered their own privately-funded studies. In many states the utilities claim that net metering is a subsidy, paid to solar-powered homeowners by other ratepayers. Independent studies dispute this, and show instead that net metering saves the cost of grid upgrades and therefore holds prices down for all ratepayers. Stakeholders must be involved in order to ensure that state lawmakers hear the facts. ASES joins VSI (Vote Solar Initiative), TASC (The Alliance for Solar Choice), SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Association) and IREC (Interstate Renewable Energy Council) as a key advocacy group leading the net metering fight.

It is unclear how the tide will swing on this critical issue. Net metering of rooftop solar is the cornerstone policy of solar energy growth– it is absolutely needed if this country is to achieve 50 percent renewables by 2050. Please join your state campaigns in providing fair value to Americans producing solar energy. Net metering is necessary to make rooftop solar economical.. Learn more at www.oursolarrights.org. Contact annie@votesolar.org to see how you can become involved to save solar energy in your state. It is easy to take action at http://www.oursolarrights.org/get-involved/to let your lawmakers know you support net metering.