ORIGINAL REPORTING: California Regulators Leave Solar’s Net Energy Metering In Place
Inside the decision: California regulators preserve retail rate net metering until 2019; The second stage of California's net metering proceeding concludes with a win for the solar sector
Herman K. Trabish, February 1, 2016 (Utility Dive)
California has been a leader for years in preparing the grid and utility practices for distributed generation, but at the beginning of 2016, one question preoccupied the sector: On the heels of other states’ significant cuts in net energy metering credits vital to solar's growth, would California regulators preserve the retail rate NEM credit for rooftop systems? Solar backers lobbied the California Public Utilities Commission hard and the state's investor-owned utilities (IOUs) responded in kind, arguing the NEM shifts undue costs for grid upkeep to non-solar owners, since consumers with rooftop systems pay less to the utility. The months of lobbying culminated in a tense meeting of the CPUC at which solar backers prevailed when regulators decided to sustain the retail rate credit until 2019.
While regulators in other states have found the utility "cost shift" argument persuasive, the CPUC largely rejected the proposals from California's Big Three IOUs. Southern California Edison called the decision "unwise and unfair.” For the solar sector, the decision was a welcome firewall against utility efforts to compromise the solar value proposition. But the commission warned a different model may be necessary in 2019 when better data on the impacts of NEM is available… click here for more