On March 27, 2012, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) released a report showing more Hoosiers are taking advantage of renewable energy to supplement their electric usage and mitigate a portion of their energy costs.
The arrangement is known as net metering, which is where a consumer installs a renewable energy facility such as a wind turbine or solar panel and produces his or her own energy. If the amount the customer receives from the utility is less than the amount delivered to the utility, the customer receives a bill credit for the difference.
From 2010 to 2011, the number of customers participating increased from 199 to 298, a 50 percent increase. Due to the increase in customer participation, the maximum output for these renewable energy facilities also increased from 783 to 1,852 kilowatts or 136 percent. This increase in output includes wind and solar energy, which increased 187 percent and 112 percent respectively.
“Net metering is a perfect example of Governor Daniels’ Homegrown Energy Plan,” said Commissioner Carolene Mays. “We’re producing more of the energy we need from our own natural resources.”
With the expansion of the net metering rule in July 2011, the IURC included all customer classes – industrial, commercial, and residential – as the minimum standard offering. Under the previous rule, the minimum standard offering only included residential customers and K-12 schools. Other changes to the rule included:
1) An increase in the maximum size of an eligible facility from 10 kilowatts to 1 megawatt; 2) An increase in the aggregate sales level under each utility’s net metering tariff from 0.1 percent to 1 percent of annual kilowatt hour sales.
Freeing the Grid, an annual report published by the Network for New Energy Choices and The Vote Solar Initiative, highlighted the changes by awarding the IURC with a “B” grade. From 2007 to 2009, the grade was an “F,” and in 2010, it was a “D.” The grade improvement ultimately earned Indiana the title of “Most Improved,” according to the news release issued by the report’s publishers.
The net metering rule only applies to investor-owned utilities, which are required to file net metering reports with the IURC on an annual basis. For more information on the breakdown of numbers by utility, please visit: www.in.gov/iurc/files/2011_Net_Metering_Reporting_Summary.pdf.
Source: Indiana IURC