IREC and Vote Solar Release 2012 Report Card on State Renewable Energy Policies

More States Move to the Head of the Class on Both Interconnection and Net Metering

ORLANDO, Fla. – September 11, 2012 – Today the Vote Solar Initiative (Vote Solar) and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) released the 2012 findings of Freeing the Grid, a policy report 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. The report was released during Solar Power International, North America’s largest solar trade show.

Now in its sixth year of production, Freeing the Grid is a guide for improving state net metering and interconnection rules. The online report and resource center is designed to make it easy to access, understand and share best practices and state progress on these foundational renewable energy policies.

Find the full report online at:

“Freeing the Grid is an invaluable tool for the solar industry, state decision makers and consumers. By measuring our progress on these policies year after year, it tells us where we’ve been and where we need to go,” says Jane Weissman, Executive Director of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.

“An interesting trend this year: we saw improvement in many states that are already leading our nation’s solar market.  Once they got a taste of what solar power can do, they decided they wanted more. Freeing the Grid provides a roadmap for all 50 states to be able to do the same,” said Adam Browning, Executive Director of Vote Solar.

Freeing the Grid 2012 report highlights include:

  • Net Metering: 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. The District of Columbia, Minnesota and New York improved their grades over 2011. Net metering best practices have evolved to include virtual net metering, meter aggregation and other innovative community shared models. New Jersey and Maryland added a bonus point to their already-stellar A’s in Net Metering for allowing meter aggregation.
  • Interconnection Procedures: These are the rules and processes that an energy customer must follow to be able to “plug” their renewable energy system into the electricity grid. This process should be straightforward, transparent and fair.  Nine states received outstanding A grades this year, a significant improvement from five in 2011 and none in 2007, the first year of Freeing the Grid’s publication.
  • Head of the Class: A record number of states received A’s for excellence in both net metering and interconnection policies this year: California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts and Utah.
  • Most Improved: Hawaii leapt from an F grade to a solid B in Interconnection. In November 2011, the state adopted simplified interconnection rules for small renewable systems that effectively streamline the previously arduous review 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, Inc. (IREC) is a non-profit organization accelerating the use of renewable energy since 1982. IREC’s programs and policies lead to easier, more affordable connection to the utility grid; fair credit for renewable energy produced; best practices for states, municipalities, utilities and industry; and quality assessment for the growing clean energy workforce through the credentialing of trainers and training programs.



Press Contacts:

Rosalind Jackson, Vote Solar –­

Jane Pulaski, IREC –


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