California’s Net Energy Metering (NEM) Tariff was the subject of Environmental Concerns meeting Oct 13, 2014 as presented by California Public Utilities Commission Supervisor of the Customer Generation Program Sara Kamins. NEM is designed for customer generation by allowing customers to serve onsite energy needs and be compensated for exports. It allows you to use the energy on demand. Eligible renewable technologies are solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, renewable fuel cells, small hydroelectric generation, digester gas, municipal solid waste conversion, landfill gas, and hydro-technologies. Storage systems paired with a generator also receive benefits. NEM customer pays only for the annual net imports. Bill credits are provided at the full retail rate. Customers may rollover excess bill credits for up to a year. At year’s end customers are paid for any net excess kilowatt hours (kWh) exported to utility on an annual basis. Program capacity cap: current NEM ends July 2017, or the date on which a utility reaches five percent of aggregate customer peak demand.
Other programs include California Solar Initiative “Million Solar Roofs”: $3.4 billion subsidy program for one million solar rooftops and 3,000 MW by 2016; Self-Generation Incentive Program: #3 83 million/year for non-solar customer DG that reduces greenhouse gas emissions; and Federal Investment Tax Credit: 30% tax credit for residential and commercial systems until 2017.
California Solar Initiative has driven the market since 2006 with the goals of creating a self-sustaining solar market ensure customer protection and to reach all Californians including low income.
Since then, system costs have decreased 47% from $10.70/Watt in 2007 to $5.50/Watt in 2013 while third-party-owned systems have made solar more accessible. “We’re on track to reach our megawatt storage,” Kamins said. “Solar is growing and growing.”
However, NEM has ratepayer impacts. Since NEM customers may zero out their bills and not pay fixed system costs, other ratepayers pick up the tab.
For more information:
CPUC/NEM website: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/energy/DistGen/netmetering.ht
Go Solar California website: www.GoSolarCalifornia.ca.gov
California Solar Statistics: www.californiasolarstatistics.ca.gov