Utilities across the country are grappling with a changing energy landscape as technologies like rooftop solar grow in popularity. Rocky Mountain Power has recently changed to a new rooftop solar policy, and municipal utilities across Utah have been reviewing their own net metering policies with mixed results. Rooftop solar owners are compensated for electricity exported to the grid in different ways depending on your utility and when you install solar.
Rocky Mountain Power
Solar Export Transition Program
Applies to: customers who apply to install solar after Nov. 14, 2017
Rocky Mountain Power has switched to a billing arrangement (named the "Transition Program") that compensates rooftop solar customers at a reduced rate for excess electricity that is sent to the grid. As a Transition Program customer, you can still use the energy you generate in real time to power your home and reduce your energy bills. If you generate more energy than you are able to use in a given 15-minute period, you will receive a bill credit for the value of the exported electricity. Customers in the Transition Program are guaranteed this export credit rate until January 1, 2033. After that, Transition Program customers will be switched a new rate structure which is yet to be determined. Rooftop solar customers who applied to install solar before November 15, 2017 are grandfathered into the Net Metering program, which pre-dated the Transition Program. Learn more about the Rocky Mountain Power Transition Program.
Many municipal utilities offer a 1:1 credit for solar kilowatt-hours exported to the grid, a policy known as net metering. Review your municipal utility's solar policy to learn more. Always contact your municipal utility before installing solar to ensure you have up-to-date information on their solar policy and are in compliance with your utility's specific requirements.
Bountiful City has implemented a Feed in Tariff (FIT) for new solar customers. Also known as a "buy-all, sell-all" arrangement, a FIT requires rooftop solar customers to sell all of the electricity they produce to the utility. In this case, Bountiful solar residents must purchase electricity from the utility at the retail rate, and sell the solar energy produced by their system at a reduced rate. The FIT took effect June 1, 2017.
- The rates are as follows
- Midnight – noon: 4 cents / kWh
- Noon – 4PM: 6 cents / kWh
- 4PM – Midnight: retail rate (9.25 cents / kWh)
Lehi City allows net metering for solar projects less than 10 kilowatts. On May 9, 2017 the Lehi City Council approved a new, additional solar policy which allows City customers to sell solar power to the City at a fixed price through a Feed in Tariff. Smaller solar installations (less than 10 kW) receive 5 cents per kilowatt-hour for the power they generate, and larger solar installations (10 kW – 1,000 kW) receive 4 cents per kilowatt-hour. The new policy also allows the City Council to adjust the price up or down in the future.
In late 2016, Provo Power eliminated net metering for solar customers and implemented a solar export credit. Those who installed solar before October 5, 2016 were grandfathered into the net metering program. Under the new program, Provo Power residential customers purchase energy for 8.7 - 12 cents per kilowatt-hour, depending on how much energy is used, and solar customers are compensated 6.7 cents for each kilowatt-hour exported to the grid. In 2016, the Provo City Council formed the Solar & Energy Committee, tasked with making a recommendation regarding changes to net metering. Utah Clean Energy was asked to serve on the Committee, along with two City Councilmen, the Director of Provo Power, and several community members.
The Kaysville City Council has been considering changes to net metering rules since June 2015, and formed a Power Commission composed of Kaysville residents to increase citizen involvement in the process. The Kaysville Power Commission plans to recommend changes to the net metering policy to the City Council in early 2018. The Kaysville Power Commission is hosting presentations to gather feedback on the proposed changes, and all meetings are open and available to members of the public.
Murray City is considering changes to their net metering program.
Logan City Power & Light offers a net metering program.
Washington City offers a net metering program.
Types of Solar Policies
Net metering is a billing arrangement with your utility that allows you to receive a kilowatt-hour credit for excess renewable electricity delivered to the grid. A 'net meter' tracks both the electricity consumed onsite and the electricity generated by the solar energy system. Electricity generated by the rooftop solar array powers onsite electricity demand first, and any excess electricity is sent to the utility grid. If the rooftop solar system generates more electricity than the home uses during a given billing cycle, the solar customer receives a bill credit for each kilowatt-hour exported which can be used to offset future usage. This simple billing arrangement has allowed the growth of the distributed renewable energy market. Rocky Mountain Power customers who applied to install solar by midnight on November 14, 2017 are grandfathered into the net metering program until January 1, 2036.
Rocky Mountain Power and several municipal utilities in Utah have eliminated net metering and now instead offer credits for solar energy exported to the grid. Solar Export Credit programs allow solar customers to use the energy generated in real time to power their home and reduce their energy bills. If a solar owner generates more energy than they are able to use in a given period, they receive a bill credit for the value of the exported electricity. The export credit value and the period over which energy usage and energy generation are netted varies from utility to utility.
Unlike net metering and export credits, customers using a feed-in-tariff (FIT) are not able to use the power they produce onsite to power their home or building. Instead, all of the power produced by a solar customer is exported to the grid in exchange for a payment from the utility. The rate at which a FIT customer is paid for their solar energy may be higher or lower than the price at which they buy electricity.