California regulators extend solar power net metering policy

Utility regulators in California, the top state in the U.S. for solar energy, extended the state’s net metering policy in a move solar power users and installers will welcome.

According to reports, the California Public Utilities Commission voted 3-2 to continue to allow rooftop solar owners to sell power they generate but don’t use back to utility companies.

With this policy, solar customers can sell power at the full retail rate and sometimes receive a credit on their bills, according to Reuters.

The policy has been in place for two decades, even as solar net metering has become a much-debated policy amongst regulators, solar providers, customers and utilities across the country.

Grid operators and utilities in favor of net metering reform point out that large amounts of solar power on the power grid can be disruptive, and they need to recover money spent upgrading the grid to accommodate decentralized power generation.

In neighboring Nevada, the PUC approved a new rate structure for customers with rooftop solar panels in December, touching off protests from solar manufacturers and consumer groups. The new rates cut the amount paid out by NV Energy for solar power by three-fourths.

In response, solar manufacturer SolarCity said it would cut jobs and cease operations in Nevada.

California currently has more than 11,535 MW of solar power capacity installed.

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