Compensation for Energy Generation - Utah Solar Pilot
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- Dec 17, 2019 4:43 pm GMTDec 17, 2019 12:46 pm GMT
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Proper compensation for the energy that's generated from renewable sources behind the meter (onsite) is an issue that seems to always be in flux. States have different approaches how best to compensate users per kilowatt hour and some are more generous than others. The state of Utah is no exception. Net metering as its known, provides end-users with compensation most often in the form of credits through your electric power utility. For the excess energy generated onsite and fed back onto the grid, Net Energy Metering customers (NEM) can be compensated at the full retail rate of energy, or less. Today, Utah and 41 states in addition to Washington D.C. and select U.S. territories, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) offer some type of net metering compensation plans. Net energy metering is an important incentive for the use and adoption of distributed generation but certainly isn't the only one. Credits from net metering can also be accumulated and rolled over into future billing cycles when a user exports more power onto the grid than they import.
But like so many other initiatives in the renewable world, coming up with good compensation schemes on a per kilowatt-hour basis takes some experimentation through structured pilots. Utah is working through public surveys and studies to get better insights into how much users could be compensated for the excess power created behind the meter for solar. To that end, Utah Clean Energy Solar is working with 1,000 state residents who are customers of Rocky Mountain Power to understand their energy use and net imports / exports to the grid. The data will be used specifically where it matters the most; for presentation to the Utah Public Service Commission when it reviews a rate compensation case on net metering coming up to understand what rates should apply to customers beginning in 2021. Do distributed generation customers use and export energy to the grid in a fundamentally different way in Utah than in other states? These findings will be critical not just for one state but could help with compensation schemes nationwide.