The Solar Export Credit Rate (the compensation solar owners receive for the excess solar they share to our energy grid) is re-calculated and updated every year. Utah Clean Energy is adamantly opposed to the annual update as it makes it impossible for rooftop solar customers to accurately predict what they will save on their energy bills from year to year, or to lock in their return on investment. That said, it is currently the policy of the land (well, Rocky Mountain Power’s territory anyway), and we’ve got this year’s numbers.
As a result of the re-calculation, the solar export credit rate has been reduced by 11% in summer and 19% in winter. All existing and new customers will be affected by the new rate (Schedule 137 customers).
Utah Solar Export Credit Rate Changes
|Old 2020 ECR||New 2022 ECR||% Change|
|Summer||5.817 ¢ per kWh||5.160 ¢ per kWh||-11%|
|Winter||5.487 ¢ per kWh||4.462 ¢ per kWh||-19%|
Impacts on Solar Customers
The change in the Export Credit Rate amounts to about a penny per kilowatt-hour, and for most rooftop solar customers the impact will be just a few dollars per year. But considering that the payback for the average residential rooftop solar system in Utah ranges from 15 to 18 years, changing the rate every year subjects Utahns to unnecessary risk to their payback, and as mentioned above, no way to lock in energy bills.
The new Export Credit Rate will go into effect starting March 1st, 2022. While the Public Service Commission will almost certainly approve the re-calculated rate, the methodology of the Export Credit Rate itself has been appealed to Utah’s Supreme Court. Utah Clean Energy filed an Amicus Curiae brief in support of the challenge to Utah’s Export Credit Rate, arguing that it’s important for rooftop solar customers to have certainty as to the value of the solar Export Credit Rate from year to year. Our brief also highlights the critical role the Utah Public Service Commission plays to protect utility customers from the future costs and risks of climate change by appropriately accounting for these impacts in the value of exported solar energy. The Utah Supreme Court is expected to hear the case this summer.