California, United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] This week Governor Schwarzenegger secured a commitment from PG&E to increase the amount of solar net metering allowed in its territory from 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent of peak demand.
Net metering is a simple billing arrangement that allows solar customers to get fair retail credit for the excess electricity their systems generate during daytime hours. Today more than 50,000 California homes and businesses take advantage of the state’s net metering program.
Existing law requires California’s major electric utilities to make net metering available to customers until the total program capacity exceeds 2.5 percent of the utility’s peak demand. Data from the state’s solar rebate program indicates that there may be enough applications to hit the 2.5 percent program cap in PG&E territory as early as the first half of 2010. The commitment from PG&E to raise the cap to 3.5% solves an immediate need to allow continued net metering access in the utility’s territory until state law can be changed.
“With guidance from Governor Schwarzenegger, PG&E has made the decision to go above and beyond current law to support the right of its customers to receive the full economic benefits of going solar. We applaud both parties’ impressive leadership on the issue,” said Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar.
Browning said that he and other solar advocacy groups such as the Solar Alliance would like the opportunity to “consider eliminating all net metering caps in the 2010 legislative session.” He said such a move would allow maximum private investment in solar to reduce the state’s peak power demand and harmful carbon emissions.