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The Solar "Panel": Recent Changes in Net Metering Policies and the Future of Distributed Solar


July 27, 2016


Washington, DC (and webinar)

This program was sponsored by the Energy Committee of the D.C. Bar Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section and cosponsored by the Environmental Law Institute

Thousands of Nevada consumers purchased solar arrays expecting to sell their electricity back to the grid at the same rates they pay for power – called “net-metering.” Solar companies expected to continue booming sales – and leasing – based on this high rate of return. That all changed last December when the Nevada Public Utility Commission significantly reduced net-metering rates. Existing customers were furious and sales of new systems basically ground to a halt. A few months later, after a similar fight, the California Public Utilities Commission reached a different result, maintaining full net-metering rates until 2019. And just this April, a coalition including Con Edison, Solar City, and Sunpower, Inc., submitted a net-metering proposal to the New York Public Service Commission billed as a breakthrough in utility-solar collaboration. The coalition claims their proposal will continue to incentivize residential solar while also providing utilities with protections necessary to insure that distributed solar will not cause the ever-dreaded Death Spiral for the utility industry. These recent developments are only a sample of the debates raging before Public Utility Commissions across the country, where numerous proposals to change net-metering policies are pending, with important implications for the future of residential solar. We were pleased to cosponsor this panel discussion of these ongoing developments.


  • Edward Comer, Vice President, General Manager & Corporate Secretary, Edison Electric Institute
  • Sandy Roskes, Board Member, Coalition for Community Solar Access
  • Sean Garren, North East Regional Manager, Vote Solar
  • Rick Umoff, Regulatory Counsel and Director of State Affairs, Solar Energy Industries Association (Moderator)