Every single utility’s retail sale in California must come from renewable sources by 2050, according to a climate bill passed by the state. The Western state is on the right track to achieving its goal, considering the increasing number of individuals and corporations going solar.
In fact, today, California outperforms all other US states in terms of the use of solar energy, with 13,241 megawatts of total installed solar power. Therefore, debates of the right solutions to solar issues are of the utmost importance for residents of California.
With net metering having polarized all solar stakeholders, you might be wondering who to trust. Read on the guide to both sides of the debate to form an opinion, independently!
What is Net Metering?
Before diving right into the hot debate, let’s discover what net energy metering (NEM) is. In brief, through NEM, homeowners are billed only for the net energy they use per month. To put it simply, that’s the difference between the energy generated by the solar panel system and the energy consumed by the household over a monthly period.
What’s special about NEM, then? It allows you to make money on your surplus solar power by sending it back into the grid.
A number of states have already passed NEM regulations, including Washington, DC, reports North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC). But in those states that are yet to join them, utilities may provide net metering programs on a voluntary basis or in the scopes of regulatory decisions.
That said, differences between state laws and policies of implementation mean that the types of customer compensation differ across the country.
What are the Positions of Both Sides?
According to solar advocates, cutting NEM export compensation can be destructive for solar panel companies and individuals who have the right to self-generation.
Meanwhile, present compensation for solar owners results in a massive shift of system costs concerning those who don’t own a solar panel system, note U.C. Berkley economists. In addition, they mention that energy prices might skyrocket should the current environment be approved.
“The solar industry is attacking groups that support reform, but today’s NEM is a material driver of rate increases,” says Matthew Freedman, a TURN Staff Attorney. Furthermore, he states that any potential proposal ought to recognize that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Otherwise, a solar panel cost shift would be inevitable, with fewer people able to afford solar power in the next few decades.
By contrast, solar advocates believe that a solar panel cost shift can only be meaningful at solar penetrations that concern state policy goals or the conditions of the grid. Proudlove states, “but California is at that penetration, and if there is a cost shift, it could be meaningful there.”
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