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Published on April 4th, 2016 | by Glenn Meyers

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46 US States Took Action On Solar Through Policies & Rates In 2015

April 4th, 2016 by  


Originally published on PlanetSave.

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center, in a collaboration with Meister Consultants Group, reports all but four states took some form of solar policy action on policies or rates in 2015. As you might imagine, a number of policy considerations for solar involved net metering.

Regarding the issue of solar electricity, the report has issued these details:

  • 27 states considered or enacted changes to net metering policies
  • 24 states formally examined or resolved to examine some element of the value of distributed generation
  • 7 states had policy action on community solar
  • 61 utilities in 30 states proposed increasing monthly fixed charges on residential customers at a median rate of $5 per month
  • 21 utilities in 13 states proposed adding new or increasing existing charges specific to rooftop solar customers
  • 6 states had policy action on third-party solar ownership laws or regulations
  • 5 states had action on utility-owned rooftop solar policies or programs

nc state 2015-Policy-action-on-net-metering-rate-design-and-solar-ownership

2015 Policy Action on Net Metering, Rate Design, and Solar Ownership

The report also looked at existing state solar policies:

  • 41 states have mandatory net metering rules for all or certain utilities
  • At least 10 states have conducted studies to develop methodologies to value the electricity generated by rooftop solar systems
  • 14 states have statewide community solar policies
  • 26 states allow third-party solar power purchase agreements, a popular financing mechanism for homeowners going solar

Benjamin Inskeep, report co-author and energy policy analyst at the NC Clean Energy Technology Center, said, “With more than 200,000 Americans working in good-paying solar jobs, solar has been a true success story for our recovering economy.”

Inskeep said this report demonstrates important state policies like net metering are experiencing unprecedented uncertainty, as many states considered drastic policy changes in 2015. “If we want to continue to increase the amount of electricity we generate from clean energy and keep these good jobs in our communities, then it is paramount that solar policies fairly treat — not penalize — folks who go solar,” said Inskeep.

Report details are contained in a special annual review edition of the quarterly report, “The 50 States of Solar.” The quarterly series provides insights on state regulatory and legislative discussions and actions on distributed solar policy, with a focus on net metering, community solar, residential fixed charges, residential solar charges, third-party ownership, and utility-led rooftop solar programs.

Key Solar Policy Actions in 2015

Many of the headlines have focused on changes to net metering, especially in Nevada, Hawaii and California.

“The last quarter of 2015 has demonstrated that states and utilities are responding to the increase in distributed generation in radically different ways,” Kathryn Wright, study co-author and consultant at Meister Consultants Group, said in a statement. “Nevada’s decision to roll back net metering and California’s continued support of retail-rate net metering illustrate the stark contrast.”

Image via NC Clean Energy Technology Center

Reprinted with permission.






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About the Author

is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers was editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributing writer for CleanTechnica, and is founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.



  • Bryan

    U.S. trade authorities are recommending that the heterojunction silicon PV maker’s appeal for an exemption from trade duties be rejected.

  • Mike333

    So, Koch Money having negative effects on solar.

  • microm

    In Nevada, where I live, what the PUC did should be criminal (if it isn’t) They can do whatever they want with new customers, but they unilaterally changed the contracted payback schedule for existing customers by not grandfathering the agreed parameters. No one can make intelligent decisions if contract agreements are not binding but unilaterally subject to change. Take Hawaii’s situation where people installed solar but had to wait sometimes years before legally connecting functional systems to their power. Meanwhile they still had to pay for the panel installation that worked but couldn’t be connected. Insane!

    • Frank

      I remember in Hawaii folks stressing about “over voltage” causing problems on some circuits, but at least some, and maybe all new inverters sense voltage, and disconnect if it is too high. BTW, watching Hawaii is like watching/developing the renewable future, cause the diesel generated present costs too much, so they can’t wait to get there.

  • Martin

    200.000 workers in solar, and if I remember correctly with increases in jobs of rates of over 20 % per year, rest of the economy jobs increases at 5 % year or so.

    What industry would you like to work in ?

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