California Extends Solar Net Metering Law

Posted: 04/14/2014  browse the blog archive
California Extends Solar Net Metering Law

The California Public Utilities commissioners voted unanimously to approve a net metering policy so that consumers with existing rooftop solar arrays can continue selling electricity to the grid at current rates for 20 years, reported Clean Technica late last month.  The CPU’s decision applies to all customers of Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, and Southern California Edison Company.

Under current net metering policies, solar homeowners and businesses are compensated at a set rate for the excess electricity they feed into the grid.  California’s electric utilities have advocated for a different system because they believe that net metering customers aren’t paying their fair share to maintain the grid.  Due to the resulting conflict, a California law approved last year required the CPU to create a replacement system by the end of 2015, and also to establish a transition period for consumers who already have solar arrays. 

The CPU’s decision regarding the transition period was disappointing to some; the utilities had sought a shorter grandfathering period, while a few solar proponents advocated for the current net metering system to apply for the entire lifetime of existing solar arrays.  However, some newscasters such as the SF Gate argue that the CPU’s decision strikes a balance between these positions and ensures that solar owners have enough time to recoup the money the invested in their equipment.

The rules for California’s next Net Metering Policy have not yet been decided, but must be finalized by December 2015.

The Chanler Group is actively engaged in the review and analysis of incentive-based renewable energy programs to determine potential benefits to our clients.  Global energy consumption continues to increase each year and, with this increase, the demand for safe, clean, and unlimited energy is on the rise.  The Federal and State governments promote this interest through a variety of financially-beneficial incentives.  Our understanding of these laws allows us to guide homeowners, businesses, and/or developers through the various ways to take advantage of these incentive-based benefits.  With the appreciation that renewable energy laws and regulations are constantly changing, The Chanler Group is committed to investing in its understanding and practice of this area of law.