Rooftop Solar Credits...Your Time is Almost Up
- Jan 25, 2022 8:35 am GMT
It’s official, residential solar is in trouble. Most residential solar credit programs were started to promote clean energy and provide customer savings. Residential customers were happy to pay the upfront costs, of rooftop solar installation, in exchange for lower bills and credits for excess energy sent to the grid. The federal solar investment tax credit isn’t set to expire until 2024 but some states are making the switch now.
- States like Georgia are maxed out and utilities are reconsidering net-metering rates. In Georgia, the pilot program was capped at just 5,000 participants and might not be opened to new customers until early 2023. Georgia Power will most likely review the program this year with its proposed long-term energy plans and subsequent rate changes to the state utility commission.
- California tabled its plan to reduce benefits by 80 percent when it was met with fierce opposition. However, it may resurface after a few tweaks. “There’s no question the commission needs more time on this,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, the executive director of the California Solar and Storage Association.
- The Florida Legislature is considering a plan that would crack down on rooftop solar credits as well. Many are concerned about the domino effect this will have. The passage of these bills could discourage further investment in solar, cause the loss of thousands of solar-related jobs leaving customers who already own solar stranded for maintenance help. “This bill is a small-business issue,” said Michael Vergona, president and co-founder of Urban Solar. “When you add additional costs to the cost of solar, you take it off the table for many homeowners.”
- State utility regulators in Arizona and Louisiana have agreed to end net metering. In the past, Louisiana combined the 50 percent state tax rebate, the federal Investment Tax Credit with the retail-rate. Now regulators have replaced net metering with compensation based on a 12-month calculation of wholesale rates.
- In Arizona, net metering has been phased out causing a decline of about 20 percent in solar installations. Admittedly, 20 percent may not seem like much but Arizona is the fifth-ranked consumer of solar energy systems in the U.S. Net metering supporters are worried, if it can happen there, it can happen anyway.
On the other side of the issue, Republican Sen. Jennifer Bradley defends Florida regulator’s plans arguing that the solar industry is “mature,” and the current policy is “regressive.” She believes this bill, SB 1024, will level the playing field for non-solar owners. “The cost shift to non-solar customers is substantial,” Bradley said. Is the decision to reduce or remove net metering premature? How are utilities defending long-term plans that don't include credits to residential solar customers?
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