The 50 States of Solar Report: 40 States and D.C. Took Action on Distributed Solar Policy and Rate Design During Q1 2018
Raleigh, NC – (April 25, 2018) The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) released its Q1 2018 edition of The 50 States of Solar. The quarterly series provides insights on state regulatory and legislative discussions and actions on distributed solar policy, with a focus on net metering, distributed solar valuation, community solar, residential fixed charges, residential demand and solar charges, third-party ownership, and utility-led rooftop solar programs.
Key Solar Policy Actions in Q1 2018
The report finds that 40 states and the District of Columbia took some type of solar policy action during Q1 2018 (see figure below). Specifically, the report finds that:
- 49 utility requests in 26 states to increase monthly fixed charges or minimum bills on all residential customers by at least 10% were pending or decided.
- 25 states plus D.C. considered or enacted changes to net metering policies.
- 17 states plus D.C. formally examined or resolved to examine some element of the value of distributed generation or the costs and benefits of net metering.
- 15 states took policy action on community solar.
- 10 utility requests in 5 states plus D.C. to add new or increase existing charges specific to rooftop solar customers were pending or decided.
- 4 states had action on utility-owned rooftop solar policies or programs.
- 3 states plus D.C. had policy action on third-party solar ownership laws or regulations.
Q1 2018 Policy Action on Net Metering, Rate Design, and Solar Ownership
Legislators considered over 50 bills related to distributed generation compensation policies and studies. The majority of bills under consideration related to credit rates for excess generation, net metering or distributed energy resource studies, and net metering aggregate caps.
“States are expanding their policy and rate design discussions from solar to the broader set of distributed energy resources,” noted Autumn Proudlove, lead author of the report and Senior Manager of Policy Research at NCCETC. “Increasingly, states are undertaking value of DER studies and considering rate designs for customers with solar, energy storage, electric vehicles, and other DERs.”
A total of 149 state and utility-level distributed solar policy and rate changes were proposed, pending, or enacted in Q1 2018. The report notes the top five policy developments of Q1 2018 were:
- Michigan Public Service Commission Staff proposing a net metering successor tariff;
- The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities approving a mandatory demand charge for residential distributed generation customers;
- NorthWestern Energy publishing its Montana net metering cost-benefit study;
- Utilities in North Carolina and Virginia filing proposed community solar plans; and
- The Illinois Commerce Commission initiating distributed generation valuation efforts.
“We are seeing a broadening of the conversation across the country, both from a technology and policy perspective,” said Brian Lips, Senior Policy Project Manager. “Today, states are considering a range of solar compensation structures and program designs, with states acting as laboratories of innovation to explore the range of available options.”