Turning Point for Distributed Energy
Briana Kobor is Program Director, DG Regulatory Policy, at Vote Solar. Briana specializes in utility regulation, ratemaking, and policy development. She has been in the energy industry since 2007, spending eight years in energy consulting at MRW & Associates before joining Vote Solar.
2016 was an important year for solar and distributed energy resource (DER) policy.
California concluded a multi-year evaluation of its successful net metering program with a decision to preserve full retail credit. In New York, an exhaustive assessment of DER policy is underway. Regulators there proposed preserving net metering for residential customers while more data is collected on the value of distributed resources.
Nevada reversed course on its 2015 net metering decision by grandfathering existing customers. Regulators there declared that further expanding net metering is in the public interest. And Massachusetts regulators rejected punitive fees in a major rate case, concluding "the department is not persuaded that a cost-shift from DG (distributed generation) customers to non-DG customers exists."
All across the country, policymakers have been looking at net metering, the cornerstone policy for distributed energy resources. They have largely found that the policy is a fair and easily understood tool for compensating valuable ratepayer investment in solar and local energy infrastructure. It is especially notable that Arizona's policy, in the home of one of the most extensive solar resources in the country, stands in contrast to those other outcomes.