Distributed Energy Resources, Power Prices, Utilities, Commercial, Distributed Generation, Regulation, Solar - January 8, 2016
California net metering structure to endure through 2019
The California Public Utilities Commission has taken steps toward maintaining the state’s net energy metering tariff, with minor changes, for at least the next three years. Owners of solar systems larger than one megawatt could see grid interconnection fees increase slightly.
One of the proposed tweaks stipulates that larger system owners, such as commercial or industrial program participants, need to pay direct grid interconnection costs and pay for any local distribution system upgrades required to accommodate the higher capacity solar installations.
Another change requires all net metering program participants to pay “nonbypassable charges” on each kilowatt-hour of electricity they consume from the grid. All utility users are already required by law to pay nonbypassable charges to support programs such as low-income ratepayer assistance.
“The current scheme only charges participants these fees based upon the net amount of energy taken from the grid after subtracting the amount of energy fed into the grid by the solar system. The new scheme will impose charges on all electricity taken from the grid and could result in an increase in cost of a few cents per kilowatt hour,” according to Josh Nelson, Glen Price and Ashley Ratliff, attorneys at Best Best & Krieger LLP, who are involved with the proceedings.