January 22, 2014
The Colorado Energy Office (CEO) filed a motion with the Public Utilities Commission to sever issues related to net metering from the 2014 Renewable Energy Standard Compliance Plan docket (Docket No. 13A-0836E) to a new docket. If adopted, this motion will lead to a broad and diverse stakeholder discussion about the critical role net metering plays in the solar marketplace.
"We commend the Governor's Energy Office for taking a course of action that aligns with the best interests of Colorado's energy consumers and our state's growing economy," said Meghan Nutting, spokesperson for The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC). "If approved, the CEO's filing will give stakeholders an opportunity to have a thorough discussion about the value of solar and ultimately allow Colorado continue to demonstrate national leadership in solar."
Rooftop solar helps Colorado families, schools and businesses take charge of their power supply and their electricity bills. This private investment in local clean energy delivers economic, environmental and public health benefits to solar and non-solar customers alike.
- Grid benefits: Local solar energy systems reduce the need for expensive centralized power plants and transmission infrastructure, which benefits Colorado's non-solar customers. These grid benefits total up to $13.6 million annually for Xcel's ratepayers in Colorado.
- Job & economic benefits: More than 300 solar companies currently employ 3,600 Coloradans throughout the state. In 2012, private investment in installing solar on Colorado homes and businesses totaled $187 million.
- Energy Choice for Coloradans: Recent poll results show that statewide support for net metering exceeds 70 percent in every region around the state and is greater than 60 percent across all of the key voter groups in Colorado.
- Specifically, the CEO's motion makes the following recommendations:
- The CEO requests that the Administrative Law Judge refer to the Commission for their opinion as to whether the issue of net metering costs and benefits should be severed from the current proceeding.
- The CEO further recommends that a Miscellaneous Docket proceeding be initiated to address net metering. Further, CEO recommends that the Commission establish a scope and process sufficient to address the issue of system costs and benefits associated with distributed solar generation, as applicable to the electric utility systems regulated by the Commission.
- The CEO offers that, at a minimum, the Miscellaneous Docket should address the following concerns:
- 'What methodologies should be used to estimate the cost and benefits of net metered distributed generation?
- What are the effects of DSG on cost allocation and other components of rate design?
- Determine the appropriate procedure to conduct a study of costs and benefits.
- Conduct a study of solar distributed generation costs and benefits.
- 'The CEO requests a shortened response time of 5-days for parties to comment on this motion, and requests that the Commission act upon this motion by January 31, 2014.
The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) advocates for maintaining successful distributed solar energy policies, such as retail net metering, throughout the United States. Retail net metering (NEM) provides fair credit to residents, businesses, churches, schools, and other public agencies when their solar systems export excess energy to the grid. The organization was formed on the belief that anyone should have the option to switch from utility power to distributed solar power, and realize the financial benefits therein. The rooftop solar market has been largely driven by Americans' desire to assert control over their electric bills, a trend that should be encouraged. TASC Member companies include REC Solar, SolarCity, Solar Universe, Sungevity, Sunrun, and Verengo.
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