Friday, May 27, 2016

Going solar: a complex challenge for utilities, policymakers and regulators

Rooftop solar: Net metering is a net benefit

By: Mark Muro and Devashree Saha, Brookings Institute, May 23, 2016

Rooftop solar is booming in U.S. cities.

One of the most exciting infrastructure developments within metropolitan America, the installation of over a million solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in recent years, represents nothing less than a breakthrough for urban sustainability — and the climate.

Prices for solar panels have fallen dramatically. Residential solar installations surged by 66 percent between 2014 and 2015 helping to ensure that solar accounted for 30 percent of all new U.S. electric generating capacity. And for that matter, recent analyses conclude that the cost of residential solar is often comparable to the average price of power on the utility grid, a threshold known as grid parity.

So, what’s not to like? Rooftop solar is a total winner, right?

Well, not quite: The spread of rooftop solar has raised tricky issues for utilities and the public utilities commissions (PUCs) that regulate them.

(Continued here.)

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