Published on December 1st, 2009 | by Zachary Shahan6
How Easy is it for Americans to Sell Electricity to the Grid?
December 1st, 2009 by Zachary Shahan
A new report by Network for New Energy Choices (NNEC) — Freeing the Grid — shows which states make it easy for people to sell electricity to the grid and which make it difficult. In addition, the report compares the current situation with the situation in 2007.
Overall, there has been a lot of progress on this issue since 2007, but there are still several lagging states as well.
NNEC (coordinating with Vote Solar, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), the Solar Alliance and the North Carolina Solar Center) evaluated states on two issues — net metering and interconnection practices.
Net metering, basically, “is a simple billing arrangement that allows solar customers to get fair retail credit for the excess electricity their systems generate during daytime hours.” On the other hand, interconnection standards “are the technical requirements and legal procedures that allow a customer-sited generator to ‘plug-into’ the electricity grid.”
NNEC graded states on both of these factors using an A through F scale (yes, like in school).
In total, 27 states got an A or B grade on net metering in 2009, whereas only 13 got an A or B in 2007. Similarly, 15 got an A or B on interconnection in 2009, whereas only 1 state got a B (no A) in 2007.
This shows a significant improvement over the past two years in many states, but there is still plenty of room for improvement in many areas of the country. 14 states got an F (and 10 could not be graded) on interconnection in 2009, and 3 got an F (with 7 not being graded) on net metering.
Interconnection standards seem to be struggling more than net metering, and only one state (Virginia) has received an A on that.
The leading state overall is considered to be Oregon. NNEC uses it as a “Best Practices Case Study“:
“Oregon’s inclusive net metering program goes beyond standard practices with its aggregation rule that allows customers, such as farmers, who may have more than one electric meter on their property, to use net metering credits at multiple sites, allowing more cost effective use of renewable energy. State regulators have set up simplified interconnection procedures and reduced unnecessary safety requirements for smaller systems. By combining strong net metering and interconnection procedures with an over-all comprehensive renewable energy strategy — which includes generous rebates and a strong RPS with a 20-MW solar carve-out — Oregon is set to expand renewable energy statewide.”
Across the US, states are becoming more and more supportive of renewable energy through net metering and interconnection standards. Hopefully, we will see even greater improvements in 2010.
Image Credit 1: 350.org via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 2: SkipSteuart via flickr under a Creative Commons license