• The NCCETC Q3/2018 report on distributed solar policy actions taken by state administrations in the US show Arizona, California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana and Virginia taking the lead over other states
  • Among other subjects, most of these actions related to distributed generation compensation rules, followed by residential fixed charge and minimum bill increases and community solar
  • 45 states and the District of Columbia took some type of distributed solar policy action with most of these related to net metering policies, third-party ownership and utility-led rooftop solar programs
  • Policy actions being taken and being discussed at state level are veering towards complex structures for the future of solar compensation

Headed by a federal US government that undermines the role of renewables, including solar in the country’s current and future energy scenario, various states are taking the development of solar  seriously. In its latest quarterly report for Q3 2018 ‘50 States of Solar’, the NC Clean Energy Technology Centre (NCCETC), part of the North Carolina State University’s College of Engineering, says 45 states and the District of Columbia took some type of distributed solar policy action during the quarter, with most of these related to net metering policies, third-party ownership and utility-led rooftop solar programs.

The quarterly edition by the NCCETC assesses state actions on distributed solar policy with a focus on net metering, distributed solar valuation, community solar, residential fixed charges, residential demand and solar charges, third-party ownership, and utility-led rooftop solar programs.

It counts 157 distributed solar policy actions taken during the reporting quarter with maximum taking place in Arizona, California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana and Virginia. Most of these were related to distributed generation (DG) compensation rules, followed by residential fixed charge and minimum bill increases and community solar, among others.

Lead author of the report and Senior Manager of Policy Research at NCCETC, Autumn Proudlove believes ‘increasingly complex structures’ can be expected as the future of solar compensation. “Some states are identifying the locational value of DERs, while others are piloting time-varying credits or considering demand and grid access charges,” said Proudlove.

The report points out three trends that it says emerge out of the activities undertaken by the states in the quarter:

  1. Resurgence in proposals for distributed generation customer fees
  2. Grid planning and solar compensation discussions converging on locational value
  3. States and utilities considering who should bear the cost of additional meters

NCCETC is happy about the fact that states are looking into distributed solar so deeply. “With almost every state examining its solar policies, the level of conversation has grown deeper and more complex,” said Brian Lips, Senior Policy Project Manager at NCCETC. “We are now seeing an increasing convergence between solar policy and grid modernization discussions, with a number of states using their distribution system planning efforts to create more fine-tuned DER compensation measures.”

The Q3/2018 edition of the 50 States of Solar report is available on the website of NCCETC with price starting from $500.