Freeing the Grid

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I covered Network for New Energy Choices’ 2009 Freeing the Grid report last December. A good report on “which states make it easy for people to sell electricity to the grid and which make it difficult.” NNEC now has the 2010 Freeing the Grid report out.

As a little reminder, NNEC (in partnership with Vote Solar, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, and the North Carolina Solar Center) evaluates net metering and interconnection procedures in this report, critical issues related to selling electricity produced from renewable energy sources back to the grid.

The news is pretty good. “The tremendous progress we’ve seen over the four short years of the report’s publication leaves no doubt that states are able and willing to tackle these tough issues and advance our clean energy economy,” Kyle Rabin, Director of the Network for New Energy Choices (NNEC), says.

Net Metering

Net Metering, “commonly known as the policy that lets a customer’s electric meter spin backwards, net metering is a simple billing arrangement that ensures solar customers receive fair credit for the excess electricity their systems generate during daytime hours.”

NNEC, giving states a grade from “A” to “F” on this topic, has found much improvement across the U.S. over the last 4 years. This year, 37 states received “A” or “B” grades on net metering, compared to 13 states in 2007 and 27 states on 2009.

Interconnection Procedures

Interconnection procedures, very simply, “are the rules and processes that an energy customer must follow to be able to ‘plug’ their renewable energy system into the electricity grid.” This seems like it should be straightforward and easy for states to get right, but there are cases where the “process is so lengthy, arduous and/or expensive that it thwarts the development of clean energy altogether.” You can probably imagine what I’m talking about.

While in 2007, only one “B” grade was awarded, 20 states got “A” or “B” grades in 2010. Last year, 15 got “A” or “B” grades.

Best States

This is the first year that a state received an “A” in both categories, and, actually, two states did! The hot shots were Massachusetts and Utah.

Colorado was also a clear leader, it achieved the top score for net metering. “Colorado allows many customer types and systems sizes to benefit from net metering, enabling broad participation in the state’s renewable energy economy,” NNEC reports. “In 2010, the state also took pioneering steps to allow shared, community solar energy systems to receive net metering credits through ‘Community Solar Gardens.'”

“I am proud that Colorado is leading the way on distributed renewable energy,” says Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, who also wrote the foreword for the 2010 report. “We have worked hard to diversify our energy supplies and create jobs, while also trying to make distributed renewable energy affordable for our commercial and residential sectors. This is smart, forward-thinking policy that other states can, and should, follow.”

Want to learn more, check out the full report here: Freeing the Grid

Photo Credit: jhritz

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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