PRESS RELEASE: The 50 States of Solar: States Address Equity Issues in Solar Program and Rate Design During Q2 2023
Raleigh, NC – (July 19, 2023) The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) released its Q2 2023 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.
The report finds that 40 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, took some type of distributed solar policy action during Q2 2023 (see figure below), with the greatest number of actions continuing to address net metering policies (57), community solar policies (48), and residential fixed charge or minimum bill increases (44). A total of 176 distributed solar policy actions were taken during Q2 2023, with the most actions taken in California, New Mexico, Connecticut, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Arkansas, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, and North Carolina.
Q2 2023 Policy Action on Net Metering, Rate Design, and Solar Ownership
The report identifies three trends in solar policy activity taken in Q2 2023: (1) addressing equity issues through distributed solar program and rate design, (2) states developing new iterations of their community solar programs, and (3) modifying treatment of monthly net excess generation from customer-generators.
“This was an active quarter for Maryland; lawmakers enacted a pair of bills that alter net energy metering and community solar programs in the state,” notes Vincent Potter, Policy Analyst at NCCETC. “New Maryland laws allow customers to opt out of annual payouts and infinitely accrue their excess generation credits. That same law allows community solar subscribers to accrue credits in the same fashion as net metering customers. Another law made the state’s community solar pilot program permanent with some provisions for several facilities to be located close to each other under specific land use or subscription scenarios and reserving 40% of energy output for lower-income subscribers.”
The report notes the top five distributed solar policy actions of Q2 2023:
- Maryland lawmakers passing permanent community solar program legislation;
- California utilities proposing income-graduated residential fixed charges;
- Idaho Power filing a net metering successor tariff proposal;
- Minnesota legislators revamping the state’s community solar program; and
- Rhode Island lawmakers revising net metering and community solar rules.
“States are showing increased interest in energy equity,” noted Brian Lips, Senior Policy Project Manager at NCCETC. “While policymakers continue to view community solar as an opportunity to address access and affordability for low-income customers, policymakers are considering new experimental approaches, including the income-graduated fixed charges proposed in California.”
ABOUT THE N.C. CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGY CENTER
The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University, advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, sustainable energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information about the Center, visit: http://www.nccleantech.
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