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…
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.
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 [email protected].
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:
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
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
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
South Carolina: Net metering settlement signed by Office of Regulatory Staff and utilities
Tennessee signs ‘Clean Energy’ bill
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
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