Net metering is once again under debate across Utah. Local governments and large utilities are revisiting the question of whether or not Utah's current solar net metering rules are fair and in our long-term best interests. This November, Rocky Mountain Power proposed changes to net metering rates, and in the meantime, several local governments with municipal utilities have been reviewing their own net metering policies with mixed results.
Provo Makes Changes to Net Metering
In October 2016, the Provo City Council voted to impose a monthly per-kW charge on all solar customers, including existing solar customers. Ultimately, the Council rescinded their vote and formed the Solar & Energy Committee, tasked with making a recommendation regarding changes to net metering by early January. Utah Clean Energy was asked to serve on the Committee, along with two City Councilmen, the Director of Provo Power, and several community members. After several weeks of discussion, the Committee voted on a set of recommendations to change Provo’s net metering program, which passed with 6 votes “for” and 2 abstentions.
Utah Clean Energy abstained from voting on the new recommendations. It is important to fully evaluate the long-term costs and benefits of the clean energy that solar customers export to the grid when considering rate design for rooftop solar customers, and the Committee’s timeline did not allow for a full cost-benefit analysis. However, the Committee’s recommended approach will send price signals to encourage solar customers to make smart energy choices, does not single out solar customers for increased fixed charges, and ensures that only the incremental costs of serving a given customer are collected through the fixed customer charge.
As such, the Committee’s recommendations represent a significant improvement compared to the net metering changes passed on October 4th.
Kaysville City Forms Power Commission
The Kaysville City Council has been considering changes to net metering rules since June 2015, and recently formed a Power Commission composed of Kaysville residents to increase citizen involvement in the process. We are pleased with Kaysville’s collaborative approach to solving this problem and the City’s efforts to involve both solar industry representatives and Kaysville residents in the process.
Good News Coming out of Heber Power and Light
Thanks to a forward-thinking local utility, Heber Valley businesses can to farm the sun to produce their own homegrown solar electricity. Read full blog on this news here.