Study: Solar 'Net Metering' To Provide Over $92 Million in Benefits to California Ratepayers, Electrical Grid


| 2/18/2013 1:55:27 PM


Tags: net metering, rooftop solar, clean energy, Vote Solar Initiative, ,

A study released today by the Vote Solar Initiative finds that net-metered rooftop solar will provide more than $92 million in annual benefits to ratepayers of California's three investor-owned utilities.

Net metering is a program that provides rooftop solar customers with utility bill credits for the surplus clean energy that their solar systems feed onto the electric grid. Net metering has been a key driver of the rapid expansion of solar across California's rooftops, with two-thirds of home solar installations now occurring in low and median income neighborhoods, according to a July 2012 California Solar Initiative report.Net metering is a program that provides rooftop solar customers with utility bill credits for the surplus clean energy that their solar systems feed onto the electric grid. 

The study comes as the state's investor-owned utilities-- Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric-- increasingly criticize net metering, which reduces their ability to justify the capital investment infrastructure projects that earn them a guaranteed profit.

A link to the full Crossborder Energy study and a Vote Solar summary fact sheet with infographics is available here.

The study was commissioned by the Vote Solar Initiative and was authored by consultant and former California Public Utilities Commission advisor Tom Beach of Crossborder Energy. Using a CPUC-approved economic model and data from solar customers, the study assesses the overall impacts of net metering to ratepayers in territories covered by Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric.

It finds that the financial benefits of net metered power outweigh the costs, with a total net benefit value of more than $92 million annually by the time the state's net metering program is fully subscribed. Benefits include: savings on expensive and polluting conventional power; reduced investments in transmission and distribution infrastructure; reduced electricity lost during transportation over power lines, as net metered solar's surplus energy is sent to the grid locally; and savings on the cost of meeting carbon reduction and renewable energy requirements.




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