Welcome to the September net metering round up. Here you will find an update on the net metering changes that happen from month to month. Buckle up. NEM has had a bumpy ride.
APS Withdraws Rate Increase Proposal in Arizona
Last week, Arizona Public Service (APS) withdrew its proposal for a solar rate increase. In its place, the utility has requested that the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) launch a study of the value of solar.
It was somewhat surprising that the issue even arose. Last month, the ACC ruled that 2 other utilities needed to wait and apply for the solar net metering increase along with their full rate change proposal. But APS was to be allowed to present their case.
This led to resistance from solar advocates. Meanwhile, members of the ACC have been alleged to have received funds from APS. These allegations have been denied.
California Net Metering 2.0
The Arizona case has many wondering what impact this decision will have on California’s proposed changes to their net metering program. The utility proposals before the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) amount to cutting the credit by about half in addition to charging a monthly fee. The current NEM cap of 5 percent will also be reviewed.
Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity has stated that this would be “catastrophic” for the solar industry in the state, as reported in the LA Times.
At the same time, installers in San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) territory are worried that the area might hit their net metering cap before the issue is resolved. Net metering is currently capped at 5 percent of energy capacity per utility territory. At the end of last month, solar had reached nearly 4 percent, or 407 MW of the maximum 607 capacity in the region.
Hearings are set to begin on October 5th.
Michigan Continues to Consider Getting Rid of Net Metering
In Michigan, the Senate continues to debate Senate Bill 438, introduced which proposes to eliminate net metering in favor of a value of solar (VOS) program. Unfortunately, the value of solar has not been well established, and the Michigan Public Utility Commission (MPUC) recommended additional study in its report last summer.
On the other side, the House has introduced legislation that would increase net metering caps in the state, as well ensure the rates are competitive in the marketplace.
While the debate continues in the legislature, the issue hits home with Ontonagon County Rural Electrification Association (OCREA) solar customers as the co-operative changes its NEM rates. Beginning October first, excess electricity will be purchased at wholesale rather than retail prices. This will amount to a difference of nearly 10 cents per kWh.
At the same time, the co-op is lifting its NEM cap.