Wednesday, December 17, 2014 News

Utilities and Solar Advocates Reach Net Metering Settlement

by Andy Hollis

Utilities, solar businesses, and conservation groups reached a settlement agreement last week on how rooftop solar will be treated for the foreseeable future in South Carolina. The settlement agreement is a critical step forward in implementing South Carolina’s recently adopted landmark solar legislation, Act 236, which laid the groundwork for residents, utilities, schools, churches and other nonprofits to begin to capitalize on the state’s significant solar potential.

Under the settlement, residential and commercial utility customers that install solar panels on their rooftops before 2021 will receive full retail credit for any excess power that flows back onto the electric grid and will be eligible to remain on this rate until December 31, 2025 without any solar-specific charges or fees. Additional solar programs and incentives designed to spur investments in residential and commercial solar will be filed by utilities with the PSC within 60 days of settlement approval.

The settlement also establishes a methodology for valuing solar power for purposes of utility recovery of lost revenues, if any, which will be recoverable by the utilities through distributed energy resource programs that were authorized by Act 236. In 2020, the PSC will reevaluate the solar policies included in the settlement and will consider any appropriate changes at that time.

News coverage of the settlement

“Today’s settlement represents a win for solar in South Carolina and is a testament to the consensus-based approach that continues to prove effective in advancing solar energy in the Palmetto State,” said Hamilton Davis, of the Coastal Conservation League in Charleston.

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“SCE&G has worked in the spirit of collaboration from the beginning with other stakeholders last year to pass the landmark S.C. Distributed Energy Resource Act. In that same way, we recognize that all parties represent different points of view, but we’ve come together to compromise and support the net metering settlement agreement, which allows us to move forward and advance solar for all in South Carolina,” said John Raftery, general manager, renewable products and services and energy demand management at SCANA Corp.

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“Cooperation was a key element when South Carolina passed solar legislation in June. Many of those same groups participating in that process have ironed out an agreement that will enable solar development in the state,” said Clark Gillespy, Duke Energy president — South Carolina. “Our customers will participate in the growth of solar through the various incentives described in the settlement. We believe this is a positive step for South Carolina — and the future of solar energy in our state.”

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