ORIGINAL REPORTING: Solar has transformed into solar-plus-storage: What will net metering become?
Solar has transformed into solar-plus-storage: What will net metering become? New rate designs to replace solar’s foundational policy leave solar-only behind.
Herman K. Trabish, May 7, 2018 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Rooftop solar installers are only just beginning to understand how to cope with the changes in net energy metering described here.
When distributed solar becomes more of a stress than a service to the grid, it transforms into solar-plus-storage and begins again the struggle to build economies of scale to drive its price down to levels competitive with traditional generation. That transformation happens when distributed solar penetration levels approach the point where the system can no longer benefit from new daytime generation. It has already happened in Hawaii. Growth trends show that penetration level is coming in California, Arizona and Massachusetts. Net energy metering (NEM), the policy that solar has long relied on to drive its growth, was no longer tenable in Hawaii. It is facing the same circumstances and the same fate in California, Arizona and Massachusetts. But NEM, too, is being transformed.
Policymakers are trying new rate designs intended to drive solar-plus-storage growth the way NEM drove solar. That explains the new policy debates emerging between utilities and solar advocates at state legislatures and utility commissions across the country. The Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies (CEERT) was among the renewables groups that pushed for California’s original renewables mandate and for its trend-setting increases. But California now has large deployments of renewable and distributed resources and its goal of "just building MWs" must change to be of service to the grid and help meet the state's climate goals, Executive Director V. John White told Utility Dive. New numbers from the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) Q1 2018 50 States of Solar show solar policy debates are accelerating across the country, and two examples of this shift — time-of-use rates and three-part rates with demand charges — have emerged in recent policy actions… click here for more
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