Net Metering Savings – What’s the Equivalent FIT Rate?

Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryCurrently Reading: The Impact of Rate Design and Net Metering on the Bill Savings from Distributed PV for Residential Customers in California

Some researchers at LBNL more or less calculated the range of equivalent FITs for California’s net metering system and some variations (residential sector only):http://eetd.lbl.gov/ea/emp/reports/lbnl-3276e.pdf. This calculation is a great way to see how much customers are really saving from net metering – given that everyone’s usage is different, it’s hard to know what to expect from the incentive, and of course uncertainty is not the greatest characteristic to have in an incentive…

Quick summary:

  • Customers generally save 15-30 cents/kWh but highly variable
  • Higher savings from smaller systems (covering 25% of load vs. 75%)
  • TOU rate structure provides higher savings than standard rates, particularly for larger systems
  • Hourly or monthly net metering + excess compensated at avoided costs yields similar savings to normal CA net metering
  • FIT at avoided costs would significantly reduce savings (note: the avoided costs value is time-specific, which is better for PV in CA than an average value)
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Joanna Gubman is a 2011-2012 recipient of the German Chancellor Fellowship for Prospective Leaders. She is spending her fellowship year at the German Solar Industry Association, BSW-Solar , exploring incentive and business model alternatives as the German market achieves grid parity. Previously, Gubman was a Managing Consultant in the Energy Efficiency group at Navigant Consulting. There she analyzed technologies and policies to improve energy efficiency, including analysis and implications of the CPUC Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan (net zero energy new buildings and widespread adoption of whole-house retrofits); identification & promotion of emerging technologies for utility energy efficiency incentive programs; and development of corporate sustainability initiatives. She also served as project manager for the California Sustainability Alliance. Gubman received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. You can find her online on LinkedIn , Twitter ( @JoannaGubman ), and xing , and via email at cleantech@alumni.stanford.edu . The views she expresses here and elsewhere are her own, and do not reflect those of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation or the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar).

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