Several states, such as Arizona, California, New Mexico, Idaho, Louisiana, Wisconsin, are discussing revisions to their net metering policies to include fixed monthly charges for residences and businesses that install solar to make it less competitive with conventional energy. The rationale, as given by utilities, is that they must build and maintain the electrical grid over which all power is transferred, so solar installations should be charged a fee to help pay for that.
Last year, for example, Arizona's largest power utility -- Arizona Public Service -- sought a monthly rate increase of $50 to $100 for solar-using customers. Arizona regulators settled on a roughly $5 per-month fee for those solar customers of Arizona Public Service.
"Fixed monthly charges would make solar less competitive if implemented," Shah stated.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.