As customers nationwide explore solar power options, it is critical that policymakers understand the relationship between residential users and electric utilities. A key part of this relationship is the financial arrangement between utilities and customers when a homeowner produces excess electricity and returns that power to the grid, an arrangement often called ‘net metering.’
To clarify issues surrounding this issue and to recap experiences in states across the nation, Energy Fairness has released its latest guidance on net metering.
“It’s vitally important that policymakers understand the basics about net metering, especially about how net metering policies can affect all customers, not just those with solar rooftops,” explains Energy Fairness Executive Director Cline Jones. “We hope our latest report on net metering will give policymakers the perspective they need to make sound decisions.”
If not properly designed, net metering programs run the risk of raising costs for customers who don’t own solar power systems. According to the report, “Preserving the status quo of overly generous payments to private solar owners only serves to deepen the shifting of grid costs to the overall customer base and extend a net metering model with fundamental flaws.”
As explained in the report, the position of Energy Fairness has always been clear and consistent: both at the regulatory and legislative levels, policymakers should develop net metering policies that accomplish three simple goals:
“Experiences nationwide point to a sensible path for residential solar deployment, one that keeps all customers in mind,” says Jones. “We have the opportunity to learn from previous mistakes and make sure that net metering programs make sense for everyone.”