From the Alliance for Solar Choice
The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) today announced two new wins for rooftop solar in 2014 as the public continues to defeat attacks from anti-solar utilities, their national trade association Electric Institute (EEI), and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). In Utah and the state of Washington, solar advocates preserved net metering with zero changes to this core rooftop solar policy.
Utility net metering attacks have now failed in six states over the past year. ALEC joined this anti-solar battle by introducing a template for model anti-net metering policies in a variety of states, and Washington and Utah are the first decisions stemming from this template – both ending in ALEC defeat.
“In state after state, overwhelming public support for rooftop solar continues to trump multi-million dollar attacks from utilities, EEI, and ALEC,” said Bryan Miller, President of TASC and VP of Public Policy for Sunrun.
Net metering allows rooftop solar customers to have the choice to use clean solar energy that they generate themselves, and to then receive full retail credit for any excess electricity sent back to the grid. Utilities turn around and sell this energy at the full retail rate to the neighbors, even though they paid nothing to generate, transmit or distribute that cleaner power. Utilities attacking net metering want to eliminate the policy to stifle energy choice and protect their monopolies.
Additional details on these ALEC-inspired attacks are as follows:
Washington: TASC and fellow clean energy advocates upheld net metering. The same anti-net metering legislation (SB 6541, HB 2176 and HB 1301) also would have given utilities monopoly control over the existing rooftop solar market. The anti-competition proposal stated “if an electric utility offers a leased energy program, no other entity may offer leases to the utility’s customers.” This attempt to ban competition – the first of its kind – contradicts the very free market principles that groups like ALEC espouse.
The legislation died with the end of session last week – a blow to ALEC, as well as anti-solar utilities and EEI.
Utah: Also inspired by ALEC, Rocky Mountain Power attempted to slip net metering attacks into SB 208. Solar industry groups and advocates ensured that no changes to net metering were included in the legislation. SB 208 is now a simple study bill that will look at the value of distributed solar. It is headed for signature from Governor Herbert after passing through both the Senate and the House.
“The ALEC-inspired attempts to stop rooftop solar in such early-stage markets demonstrate that this has nothing to do with utility concern for ratepayers and everything to do with a monopoly trying to stifle competition,” said John Stanton, co-Chair of TASC and VP of Policy and Electricity Markets for SolarCity.
The solar victories in Washington and Utah are two more examples of state leaders and regulators continuing to recognize voter support and demand for rooftop solar.
Image at op of page: The Utah State Capitol Building, and Capitol Hill with other government buildings.