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May 22, 2018

Solar has transformed into solar-plus-storage: What will net metering become?

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Utility Dive – When distributed solar becomes more of a stress than a service to the grid, it transforms into solar-plus-storage and begins again the struggle to build economies of scale to drive its price down to levels competitive with traditional generation.

That transformation happens when distributed solar penetration levels approach the point where the system can no longer benefit from new daytime generation. That happened in Hawaii. Growth trends show that penetration level is coming in California, Arizona and Massachusetts.

Net energy metering (NEM), the policy that solar has long relied on to drive its growth, was no longer tenable in Hawaii. It is facing the same circumstances and the same fate in California, Arizona and Massachusetts. But NEM, too, is being transformed. Policymakers are trying new rate designs intended to drive solar-plus-storage growth the way NEM drove solar.

That explains the new policy debates emerging between utilities and solar advocates at state legislatures and utility commissions across the country.

Read more at Utility Dive.