NCCETC Releases Q2 Solar Policy Update to The 50 States of Solar

Raleigh, N.C. (August 13, 2015) – The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center announced the release of the quarterly installment of The 50 States of Solar: A Quarterly Look at America’s Fast-Evolving Distributed Solar Policy Conversation. Fixed customer charge increases and changes to net energy metering rules were the most common distributed solar policy changes proposed or enacted in Q2 2015, the report finds.

This report is the most comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the rapidly-evolving state policy landscape for distributed solar. It includes links to track what is happening at the state legislative and regulatory level through the end of Q2 2015. The 50 States of Solar was prepared by the Center’s Energy Policy team, which also manages the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, and Meister Consultants Group of Boston, Massachusetts.

The report provides details on 87 instances in 40 states and the District of Columbia of proposed or enacted regulatory and legislative state-level distribute solar policy changes during Q2 2015.

“With so many states and utilities examining existing rooftop solar policies or electricity rate design, understanding the rapidly changing policy landscape is more important now than ever,” said Benjamin Inskeep, an Energy Policy Analyst at the Center. “Our goal with this quarterly publication is to provide a comprehensive and objective source of information on these proposed and adopted changes.”

Key Details from The 50 States of Solar

Table 1 below summarizes the distributed solar policies included in the report:

Q2_50 states

The report found that there were 32 examples from 18 states of utilities requesting residential customer monthly fixed charge increases of 10 percent or more. These monthly charges are for all customers—not just those with solar—but can have a large impact on the residential solar value proposition. Of the 32 proposed changes in Q2 2015, the average existing monthly residential fixed charge is $9.70, and the average proposed fixed charge is $15.45—an average proposed increase of 59.3 percent. Fifteen of these proposals were decided in Q2 2015, with regulators allowing fixed charges to increase by an average of $2.50 per month compared to an average increase request of $4.71 per month. Proposals for fixed charge increases on all customers was much more common than proposals to add charges only to solar customers (six examples in five states) or minimum bill increases (two examples in two states).

There were 18 examples in 16 states of proposed or enacted legislative and regulatory changes to net energy metering policies during Q2 2015, and 15 states had legislative or regulatory-led efforts studying the value of solar, net metering rules, or distributed generation policy.
In addition, seven states and the District of Columbia proposed or enacted changes to community solar rules. Five states introduced or passed legislation related to expanding options for third-party ownership of solar, and one investor-owned utility in Georgia started selling distributed solar systems through an unregulated affiliate.

The top five distributed solar policy developments in Q2 2015 are highlighted below:










“I expect the number of proposed changes, as well as the pace at which they are being proposed, to continue to increase in the coming months and years,” said Inskeep. “This resource can help policymakers and stakeholders stay updated on both the broader trends as well as find specific information on what every state is doing on distributed solar policy and rate design.”

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, green energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information about the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center, visit: Twitter: @NCCleanTech

Media Contact:
Shannon Helm
N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center