Freeing the Grid 2.0: Award-Winning Renewable Energy Policy Guide Goes Digital

July 16, 2012 – Today Vote Solar and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) launched an interactive web version of Freeing the Grid, a policy guide that grades all 50 states on two key programs: net metering and interconnection procedures. Together these policies empower American energy consumers to use rooftop solar and other small-scale renewables to meet their own electricity needs.

Now in its sixth year of production, Freeing the Grid is intended to help state policymakers, regulators, advocates and industry stakeholders improve net metering and interconnection rules. The new web version is designed to make it easier to access, understand and share best practices and state progress on these foundational renewable energy policies.

New Freeing the Grid web features include:

  • Animated introduction to net metering and interconnection policies;
  • Interactive U.S. map that can be filtered by year, policy and key program characteristics;
  • Freeing the Grid grade and summary for each state available in printable PDF format for easy offline use;
  • Additional detailed information regarding the latest net metering and interconnection rules from DSIRE, the go-to resource for current clean energy policies nationwide;
  • Improved social media capabilities and feeds of relevant blog posts and action alerts from Vote Solar and IREC.

Visit the new website at:

“Good net metering and interconnection rules help keep energy dollars invested in the community, they put people to work wherever there’s a roof, and they reduce the need for expensive, polluting power plants – and that benefits us all. Every state has the power to change those rules and unleash that solar power potential,” said Rosalind Jackson, Director of Communications & Development for Vote Solar.

Freeing the Grid is a step-by-step guide for making all 50 states clean energy leaders,” said Laurel Varnado, representing IREC. “With this new web-friendly format, we have made it even easier for states to adopt policy best practices and continue to drive American renewable energy progress.”

Like rollover minutes on a cell phone bill, net metering gives renewable energy customers fair credit on their utility bills for valuable clean power they put back on the grid. Net metering best practices have evolved to include virtual net metering, meter aggregation and other innovative community shared models.

Interconnection procedures are the rules and processes that an energy customer must follow to be able to “plug” their renewable energy system into the electricity grid. In some cases, the interconnection process is so lengthy, arduous and/or expensive that it thwarts the development of clean energy altogether. A straightforward interconnection process can cut through the red tape and help customers connect in a cost-effective and simple process.

Freeing the Grid is produced by IREC and Vote Solar in partnership with the North Carolina Solar Center, which manages the DSIRE database. Its grading methodology was also adopted for use in the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative, which aims to reduce the cost of going solar by 75% before the end of the decade.

About Vote Solar: The Vote Solar Initiative is a grassroots non-profit organization working to combat climate change and foster economic development by bringing solar energy into the mainstream.

About IREC: The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) is a premier resource for current information, education, credentialing and best practices regarding renewable energy.


Press Contacts:

Rosalind Jackson, Vote Solar – 415-817-5061.

Jane Pulaski, IREC –


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