For years, the net metering system in Connecticut was shrouded under the mist of uncertainty due to regulatory indecisiveness. The question of how residential solar customers should be compensated for the excess solar power they divert to the grid has been a hot topic for debate.
As the Connecticut Green Bank’s legislative mandate to operate the net metering program neared, the need to arrive at a decision grew only more urgent. Fortunately, the decision was made by Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) early this year.
PURA has made several key changes to the net metering system in the state, and these changes will make the program more convenient and lucrative for many solar customers. Here are some key takeaways from the PURA’s decision.
- Sell-All Tariff
Solar customers will now have the option to sell ALL the power generated by their solar system directly to their utility company at a fixed rate for 20 years.
In one swell swoop, this decision has eliminated revenue uncertainty for solar customers and cost uncertainty for utility companies. The customers can feed all their solar power to the grid and earn from it. The fixed tariff will be set at a rate higher than current utility prices.
So, solar customers get to enjoy higher savings in the initial years, at least until the inflation catches up.
- Electric Car-Ready Solar
Traditionally, residential solar customers in CT were allowed to install just enough solar capacity to meet or offset their power needs. This was done to discourage homeowners from turning net metering incentives into an income opportunity.
However, the new decision allows homeowners to make provisions for future electric cars when estimating their solar capacity. The program now allows the customers to provision the capacity of up to 2 electric car chargers when calculating the ideal solar capacity.
- Higher Net Metering Rates for Low-income Families
Low-income customers, whose income is lower than 60% of the state’s median income, get a bump in their net metering rates. For those who meet this income criterion, an additional rate of $0.025/kWh is added to the standard net metering rate. And for financially distressed families who don’t meet the income criterion, the price bump is about $0.0125/kWh.
You Should Also Know…
Interestingly, PURA has also changed the net metering payments to credit only. So, there will be no annual payouts like before, but the credits will roll over indefinitely until the homeowner moves. This is done to discourage homeowners from treating the net metering program as an income opportunity.