Distributed Energy Resources

SRP rate options among key solar policy developments in Q4

Among the top solar policy developments in the fourth quarter of 2018 was public power utility Salt River Project’s proposing two new rate options for customer-generators in December, a new report from the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center said.

The center said in the executive summary for the report that with respect to SRP, currently customer-generators are required to pay a demand charge based on maximum monthly demand during system peak hours.

One of the new options includes a demand charge based on an average of daily demand, while the other option does not include a demand charge but provides a reduced credit rate for energy delivered to the grid.

Additional information about SRP’s new customer generation price plan options is available here.

Also listed in the report as a top solar development in the fourth quarter was the Maine Public Utilities Commission moving to restore net metering for medium and large customers.

In December 2018, the Maine PUC exempted medium and large non-residential customer-generators from the gross metering provisions of the state’s new distributed generation compensation rules. The PUC found that the cost of installing a second meter to implement the gross metering provisions is not justified for these customers due to the demand charge component of their bills, according to the executive summary.

The other three solar policy developments in Q4 highlighted by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center were:

  • The New York Public Service Commission approved a new hybrid tariff for customers with value stack eligible generators that are paired with energy storage;
  • In December 2018, Sunrun filed a request for a declaratory ruling in Wisconsin on the legality of the company’s residential solar equipment lease. Currently, the legality of solar leasing and third-party power purchase agreements is unclear in Wisconsin; and
  • The Kansas Corporation Commission approved Kansas City Power & Light’s request to implement a mandatory demand charge of $9.00 per kW (summer) / $2.00 per kW (winter) for residential distributed generation customers. This is the third mandatory residential solar customer demand charge approved in 2018, although Eversource’s charge has since been overturned by legislation enacted in August.

In Q4, 43 states plus D.C. took action

The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center said that in the fourth quarter of 2018, 43 states plus the District of Columbia took a total of 152 actions related to distributed solar policy and rate design. Of the 152 actions catalogued, the most common were related to residential fixed charge and minimum bill increases (41), followed by DG compensation rules (39) and community solar (29).

Annual review for 2018

The executive summary also provided an overview of activities for all of 2018.

State and utility solar policies continued to undergo review in 2018, with nearly every state in the country considering policy or rate design changes -- a trend that the center said is likely to continue through 2019 and beyond.

Of the 264 actions catalogued, the most common were related to residential fixed charge and minimum bill increases (77), DG compensation policies (71), and community solar policies (39). The actions occurred across 47states plus DC in 2018.

The states that saw the most solar policy action, or the most impactful actions, during 2018, were: Michigan, South Carolina, New York, Massachusetts, Arizona, Maine, New Jersey, Virginia and Montana.

The executive report is available here.