The 50 States of Solar Report: 41 States and DC Took Action on Distributed Solar Policy and Rate Design During Q3 2017
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Raleigh, N.C. – (October 18, 2017) The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) released its Q3 2017 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 Q3 2017
The report finds that 41 states and the District of Columbia took some type of solar policy action during Q3 2017 (see figure below). Specifically, the report finds that:
- 44 utility requests in 26 states plus D.C. to increase monthly fixed charges or minimum bills on all residential customers by at least 10% were pending or decided.
- 24 states considered or enacted changes to net metering policies.
- 19 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.
- 13 states took policy action on community solar.
- 14 utility requests in 7 states to add new or increase existing charges specific to rooftop solar customers were pending or decided.
- 5 states had action on utility-owned rooftop solar policies or programs.
- 1 state had policy action on third-party solar ownership laws or regulations.
Q3 2017 Policy Action on Net Metering, Rate Design, and Solar Ownership
Utilities in more than have of U.S. states had pending proposals to increase residential fixed charges by at least 10% during Q3 2017, with eleven utilities proposing new fixed charge increases during the quarter. Regulatory commissions in eight states issued decisions on requests to increase residential fixed charges, granting only one utility its full requested increase.
Distributed solar compensation discussions continue to spread to new states, with at least seventeen states considering changes to net metering credit rates during the quarter. Six states also took action related to credit rates for community solar projects.
“More states are adopting community solar policies,” said Achyut Shrestha, Senior Policy Analyst at NCCETC. “However, we’re also seeing some states move away from retail rate credits for community solar programs and take unique approaches to credit structures, from crediting at avoided cost to adopting adders for low-income participants.”
A total of 142 state and utility-level distributed solar policy and rate changes were proposed, pending, or enacted in Q3 2017. The report notes the top five policy developments of Q3 2017 were:
- Utah’s Rocky Mountain Power beginning a transition away from net metering;
- The Kansas Corporation Commission issuing a DG compensation and rate design policy determination;
- Idaho Power requesting the creation of a separate customer class for DG customers;
- Implementation beginning for Illinois’ new community solar program; and
- NV Energy submitting its proposal to implement A.B. 405 net metering changes.
“Many states are taking an incremental approach to net metering and other solar policy changes,” noted Autumn Proudlove, lead author of the report and Manager of Policy Research at NCCETC. “These states are adopting smaller changes while continuing to consider broader reforms, as well as phasing in credit rate adjustments and implementing pilot programs in order to test new designs and introduce these concepts to customers.”