Solar Extends Win Streak with Vermont Decision
Vermont Legislature votes to quadruple net metering cap
SAN FRANCISCO, March 25, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) today announced yet another win for rooftop solar: the Vermont Legislature voted to increase the state’s solar net metering cap from 4% of a utility’s peak load to 15%. The bill, H. 702, is headed to Governor Shumlin’s desk for signature and represents the eighth straight victory for solar net metering in 2013 and 2014.
Net metering allows customers with on-site solar to use clean solar energy they generate themselves, and then receive full retail credit for any surplus electricity sent back to the grid. Utilities turn around and sell this energy to neighboring homes and businesses. The CEO of Green Mountain Power, Vermont’s largest power company, affirmed in a recent news article that net metered solar delivers savings to all ratepayers:
“I think having a cap is a huge problem. There should be no cap,” [GMP CEO Mary] Powell said. “We should figure out how to adapt to this new future that is here and is what our customers want.”
“This major net metering expansion was the result of utilities working alongside the local solar industry and our customers to craft good policy and set a national example,” said Andrew Savage, Director of Communications and Public Affairs for Vermont-based AllEarth Renewables. “The policy reflects the real value solar provides and shows that Vermont’s local utilities are listening to what customers want and need.”
According to the State of Vermont Department of Public Service, net metering is one of the most state’s most successful renewable energy programs.
“Vermont’s decision sends the clear message that rooftop solar delivers benefits to utilities, the grid, and all ratepayers,” said Bryan Miller President of TASC and VP of Public Policy for Sunrun. “We commend the Vermont Legislature for its leadership in expanding access to net metering.”
While Vermont supports net metering expansion, utilities in other states are attacking the policy. These utilities want to stifle rooftop solar to protect their monopolies. ALEC joined the anti-solar attacks last year by introducing a template for model anti-net metering policies. Recent rooftop solar victories in Washington and Utah are the first decisions stemming from this template – both ending in ALEC defeat.
Vermont’s pro-net metering bill and the recent solar victories over ALEC in Washington and Utah are strong examples of state leaders and regulators continuing to recognize voter support and demand for customer-sited solar.
About The Alliance for Solar Choice
The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) advocates for maintaining successful distributed solar energy policies, such as retail net metering, throughout the United States. Retail net metering provides fair credit to residents, businesses, churches, schools, and other public agencies when their solar systems export excess energy to the grid. TASC was formed on the belief that anyone should have the option to switch from utility power to distributed solar power, and realize the financial benefits therein. The rooftop solar market has been largely driven by Americans’ desire to assert control over their electric bills, a trend that should be encouraged. TASC member companies include REC Solar, SolarCity, Solar Universe, Sungevity, Sunrun, and Verengo.
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SOURCE The Alliance for Solar Choice