The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

PUC May Decide California's Fight Over Net-Metering

As California continues to inch toward its 33 percent renewables target, a particularly contentious battle over the future of net-metering could soon be finding a resolution.

The California solar industry and the state’s top utilities have been locked in a standoff over an existing net-metering cap that threatens to limit the financial benefits of future rooftop installations. Now, California Public Utilities Commission Chairman Michael Peevey has introduced a proposal that would more clearly state the Net Energy Metering law’s intentions, and if approved it could provide a long-term boost to the residential market.

As written, the law caps net metering at 5 percent of “aggregate customer peak demand.” After that, there is no guarantee that utilities will allow new solar customers to sell their unused power back to the grid.

The implications of the ruling can be measured in gigawatts. A change in methodology is projected to allow a cumulative capacity of 4,600 megawatts of mostly residential installations. That figure, which also includes a limited amount of small commercial projects that qualify for net-metering, would be about 2,100 megawatts higher than if the current law stays as is.

The question before the PUC is how the 5 percent cap is calculated. Right now, the state’s three big utilities — Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric — each has a different way of measuring “aggregate customer peak demand.” Leaders in the state’s solar industry, including Vote Solar, SEIA, IREC and the Sierra Club, contend that there needs to be a uniform methodology. In the end, utilities are looking to continue their more restrictive interpretation, which solar advocates say results in almost 50 percent less net metered solar energy than would otherwise be allowed. According to Carrie Hitt, Vice President of State Affairs for SEIA, the methodology currently being used overestimates the amount of solar on the grid.

The solar industry, though, has Peevey in its corner. He’s recommending that the Net Energy Metering statutes written in 1995 and revised in 1998 include clarity about how “aggregate customer peak demand” is defined and calculated. According to his written proposal, Peevey concludes that utilities “should use the highest recorded sum of non-coincident peak demands in a calendar year as the denominator for their NEM cap calculations.”

Peevey writes in his report that according to PG&E, the solar industry is attempting a strained interpretation that is not reasonable or sensible.

The full commission will vote no earlier than May on whether to accept the proposal. When they do so, they’ll be looking closely at the original intent of the law. Comments from former Assemblyman Fred Keeley, the author of the original net metering law, makes that intent rather clear.

“When we crafted California’s original net metering law, the goal was to maximize the amount of clean distributed energy on the grid,” said Keeley in a quote posted on the Vote Solar website. “By proposing this methodology, the CPUC is complying with the original legislative intent and helping California lead the way toward a clean energy economy.”

Untitled Document

Get All the Renewable Energy World News Delivered to Your Inbox - FREE!

Subscribe to Renewable Energy World Magazine and our award-winning e-Newsletter to stay up to date on current news and industry trends.

 Subscribe Now



Evaluating the Case for Module-Level Shutdown

Hannes Knopf With 2014 NEC adoption in full swing, many are anticipating what the next version of the code will hold for the PV in...

A Case Study in Energy-Transition Momentum

Tim King South Australia is clearly at the forefront of the global energy transition as it establishes a fast-moving model oth...

Listen Up: Can I Get Solar if my Roof is Shaded?

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World Rooftop solar panels only work when they are in direct sunlight. So if you have a partially shaded roof, the output o...

US Senate Democrats Unveil Energy Bill That Restores PTC and Extends ITC

Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg Senate Democrats unveiled a bill that would provide more tax credits for renewable energy while killing some tax ince...


Power Engineering and Renewable Energy World Magazines Name Projects of the Year Awards Finalists

Tulsa, Okla. and Nashua, N.H., Oct. 5, 2015 -- The editors of Power Engineering and Ren...

Sun Xtender® Launches New Website at

The newly designed website for Sun Xtender solar batteries is now live on the World Wid...

Canadian Solar Closes Purchase of Ontario Assets from KKR

Canadian Solar Purchased 3 Solar Power Plants Totaling 59.8 MW AC from KKR

Array Technologies Finalizes Shipments to E.ON’s Maricopa West Solar Project

Array Technologies, Inc. (ATI) has completed DuraTrack® HZ shipments to the 20 MW (ac) ...


energy efficiency

Beyond the Trend: Maximizing the Impact of Your Energy Efficiency Solution

A revolution is happening in the energy sector. From the new regulations pushed out earlier this summer by the EPA’s ...

Northeast States Create Cap-and-Trade Program for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Northeast states have worked together for several decades to address air quality issues and, more recently, climate c...

Why the Solar PV Industry Should Love Geothermal Heat Pumps Pt 2

It’s a marriage made in heaven: Solar PV and Geothermal Heat Pumps Part 2 of a 6-Part Series Prevailing Heati...

The Whirlwind Known As Tradeshow Season 2015

Wow. What a tradeshow season 2015 is turning out to be! Hot on the heels of Intersolar and SPI, next week we’re...



Volume 18, Issue 4


To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:


Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon



Successfully Integrating Solar: A Proactive Approach

•      What does the increasing solar penetrati...

Solar Power Asset Management and Performance

SEIA and SEPA collaborated with industry leaders to present the first ev...

Solar Power Northeast

  From the team that produced Solar Power Southeast and the sol...


Join us at the New Solar Power Northeast

From the team that produced Solar Power Southeast and the sold out P...

SPI Brings Out The Best In Solar

Phew…...those cross-country flights sure take a lot out of a guy....

Saving Vs. Gaining

Whenever I do a national keynote speech or customized coaching session f...


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now