July 2009 IREC “Connecting to the Grid” Newsletter

Editor:  Laurel Varnado

NC Solar Center, NC State University

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE

The Connecting to the Grid newsletter is published electronically every month by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) and the North Carolina Solar Center at North Carolina State University.  This is a free publication.  Click here to subscribe.

FORMAT

While customer-sited net metering and interconnection are primarily state issues, they are also becoming important on a regional basis.    This newsletter has been designed to capture any subtle, emerging regional trends.  The state news is presented in geographic categories, primarily because the standard NERC and/or RTO/ISO regions do not always align with state boundaries. Please direct comments and questions about the newsletter to Laurel Varnado at lavarnad@ncsu.edu.

Note:  Scroll to the bottom of this page to download complete newsletter.

WHAT’S NEW AS OF JULY 2009?

Note from the Editor – Indefinite rollover, the great equalizer

As summer turns up the sun’s rays for PV systems across the country, let us briefly consider how a net metering policy’s provision for Net Excess Generation (NEG) rollover can affect the financial outlook for different types of DG systems. If a customer-generator sizes a system to meet average annual onsite energy consumption, ideally the customer would benefit most from an annualized period that starts before the peak production season of the generation unit so that the excess energy carries forward to the less productive months ahead. Because the seasonal output of solar-energy systems is much different than that of wind-energy or other systems, it is next to impossible to define an annual period that would benefit all customer-generators equally.

Indefinite rollover is therefore considered a best practice, from IREC’s perspective.  With the addition of Delaware this month, by our count, 11 states  and the District of Columbia allow indefinite rollover of NEG, with no monthly or annual settlement for net metering credits. The next best scenario, as in the case of New Jersey, is to allow customers to choose their own annual period so that they can optimize the use of any excess generation. Arizona requires a calendar year true-up at the end of December, and other states, such as Pennsylvania and North Carolina, set an annualized period beginning in June and ending in May of the following year. Some states do not allow retail credits to roll over at all; New Mexico currently requires monthly settlement at avoided cost (though this may be changing through a PRC rulemaking), and Alaska’s proposed rules also stipulate monthly settlement. The following is a brief look at how a few generation types differ regarding peak performance.

Solar –At first glance, it would seem that an annualized period beginning in the late spring would best suit PV systems, due to summer’s longer days.  NEG credits can be a complex issue though, even if the annual period starts at the beginning of the summer. Here in North Carolina, for example, if you look at the PV Watts calculation for peak solar production, you’ll find that peak production months (using the optimal panel tilt for the latitude) occur in March, April and May.  This time period also correspond to some of residents’ lowest energy consumption months, in part, because we don’t need air conditioning yet. North Carolina’s net metering policy, however, requires that all NEG be surrendered to the utility on May 31, with no compensation for the customer.  This annualized period would therefore probably be the least optimal situation for PV system owners in that they may not carry forward all their accrued NEG throughout the high-energy cost summer months.   [Continued in Newsletter]

State News in Detail:

Northeast States

Massachusetts DPU issues net metering order

New Hampshire PUC submits proposed net metering rule to JLCAR for approval

New York DPS approves net metering tariffs

Vermont PSB opens dockets for Feed-in Tariff implementation

Mid-Atlantic States

Delaware bills allow for indefinite NEG rollover, increase aggregate cap and provide net metering-like credits for grid integrated vehicles

New Jersey resumes discussion on Community Renewables Program

West Virginia Legislature requires PSC to consider net metering advancements

Midwestern States

Michigan PSC authorizes munis’ renewable energy plans

Missouri PSC issues order on liability insurance requirements

South Dakota PUC requests comments on Small Generator Interconnection forms

Southern States

South Carolina: Net metering settlement signed by Office of Regulatory Staff and utilities

Tennessee signs ‘Clean Energy’ bill

Western States

Arizona ACC approves APS’s net metering tariff

California PUC approves SCE’s plan for 500 MW of distributed solar installations

Idaho PUC asked to rule on ownership of RECs under PURPA contracts

Miscellaneous News

East Africa: Region’s States Pursue Joint Power Supply Plan

DOE Approves $508M for 16 States’ Spending

‘Fast-Track’ Initiatives for Solar Energy Development on Western Lands Announced

Conferences and Events


 

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