Ed Smeloff is the director of grid integration at Vote Solar.
Briana Kobor is the program director, DG regulatory policy at Vote Solar.
Several state regulatory commissions have been considering whether residential customers who have arranged to have behind-the-meter solar distributed generation meet a portion of their load should be treated differently than other residential customers with respect to ratemaking.1
The crux of the argument for separate rate classes is that by exporting some power to the grid, DG customers impose incremental costs to the operation of the grid that would not otherwise occur.
Evidence supporting this assertion has not withstood careful examination at state regulatory commissions. Vote Solar is concerned that the creation of new customer classes could end up stifling innovation and create an unnecessary barrier to the growth of rooftop solar, energy storage systems, and other resources that have the potential to lower the cost of operating the distribution grid.
Arizona was among the first states to separate DG customers into a distinct rate class. In the January 3, 2017 Value of Solar decision, the Arizona Corporation Commission found that because solar customers export power to the grid, they should be treated as a separate class of customers.