Dear IndianaDG Blog Readers:
If you were familiar with the earlier versions of Freeing the Grid (FTG), you will love this new and improved digital version. This should make the task of explaining net metering policies to state legislators and regulators even easier now with this redesigned information. Indiana remains steady with a solid "B" Report Card on net metering since the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) approved new net metering rules last summer. The problem though is that these new net metering rules still only apply to the five (5) Investor-Owned Electric Utilities, namely, IPL, Duke, I&M, NIPSCO and Vectren. The most recent status reports on net metering can be found on this blog at: http://wp.me/PMRZi-oi.
But our report card grade of "B" doesn't really tell the whole story. We still have Rural Electric Cooperatives or REMC's that either do not have a net metering policy at all or they have what is called "net billing". Net billing only offers customers perhaps one-third of the retail electric rate for the electricity that their solar or wind system puts back into the grid. Due to their contracts with either Hoosier Energy or Wabash Valley Power, many REMC's cannot or will not permit net metering for systems larger than 10 kW. Some REMC's require onerous fees as well.
So our work is not done yet on net metering here in Indiana.
Also since Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) has decided not to continue their feed-in tariff known as Rate REP, we must also address solar PV systems larger than 1 MW. At the end of a 15 year Rate REP contract with IPL, company officials suggested that these projects such as the proposed Indianapolis Airport solar farm just net meter. That presents two problems. First, the current net metering rules only allow systems up to 1 MW to net meter while the proposed solar farm at the Indianapolis Airport is 10 MW. Second, the proposed Indianapolis Airport solar farm is using a third-party leasing agreement. That's OK under the IPL Rate REP but the IURC net metering rules currently do not permit third-party net metering. See the problem now? Our work is not done my friends.
Laura Ann Arnold
from VoteSolar, July 16, 2012
Today we launched a snazzy new interactive web version of Freeing the Grid, our policy guide 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.
Now in its sixth year of production, Freeing the Grid is intended to help state policymakers, regulators, advocates and industry stakeholders improve net metering and interconnection rules. The new web version is designed to make it easier to access, understand and share best practices and state progress on these foundational renewable energy policies.
Check out Freeing the Grid for yourself! You’ll find:
- Animated introduction to net metering and interconnection policies;
- Interactive U.S. map that can be filtered by year, policy and key program characteristics;
- Grade and policy summary for each state available in printable PDF format for easy offline use;
- Additional detailed information regarding the latest net metering and interconnection rules from DSIRE, the go-to resource for current clean energy policies nationwide;
- Feeds of relevant blog posts and action alerts from us and our partners at IREC as well as other fancy ways you can get social with your media.
Good net metering and interconnection rules help keep energy dollars invested in the community, they put people to work wherever there’s a roof, and they reduce the need for expensive, polluting power plants – and that benefits us all. Every state has the power to change those rules and unleash that solar power potential.
While there’s still plenty of room for improvement, it’s exciting to see states of all shapes, sizes and political persuasions already making real renewable progress. Check for yourself which states are head of the class and which deserve a detention when it comes to their renewable policies.
Laurel Varnado, representing our partners on the project, the good folks at IREC said, “Freeing the Grid is a step-by-step guide for making all 50 states clean energy leaders. With this new web-friendly format, we have made it even easier for states to adopt policy best practices and continue to drive American renewable energy progress.”
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. Net metering best practices have evolved to include virtual net metering, meter aggregation and other innovative community shared models.
Interconnection procedures are the rules and processes that an energy customer must follow to be able to “plug” their renewable energy system into the electricity grid. In some cases, the interconnection process is so lengthy, arduous and/or expensive that it thwarts the development of clean energy altogether. A straightforward interconnection process can cut through unnecessary red tape.
We produce Freeing the Grid in partnership with IREC and the North Carolina Solar Center, which manages the DSIRE database. We’re proud to add that 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.