Washington State rejects net metering fee and solar leasing ‘monopoly’ legislation

  • TASC
    TASC has successfully lobbied against net metering fees for solar users in Washington State. Image: TASC

Legislation that campaigners said would have harmed solar net metering and "monopolised" solar system leasing has been rejected in Washington State.

Pro net-metering lobby group, the US Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), claimed it and other solar advocates had successfully lobbied to keep net metering charges, and what TASC claims as “monopolistic” control of solar leasing, out of Washington State legislature.

The proposed HB 2176 ‘leasing of energy systems’ and HB 1301 ‘renewable energy incentives for creating clean energy jobs in Washington state’ legislation would have mandated a fee for rooftop solar users, and given power to utilities – rather than local solar companies – for the leasing of solar systems.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an association for conservative law makers, proposed a template anti-net metering policies in 2013 on which the proposed Washington legislation was based.

TASC said Washington State’s decision not to implement a policy based on the template was a “blow” to ALEC and allies such as the Edison Electric Institute (EEI).

EEI, which represents investor-owned electric companies, and was confronted with claims of dark money funding its campaigns last November, claims on its website net-metered customers are dodging grid maintenance fees. The EEI says clean energy grid supplying customers, “effectively are avoiding paying [these] costs for the grid.”

EEI has argued maintenance costs are “shifted to those customers without rooftop solar or other distributed generation systems through higher utility bills”.

TASC has counter-lobbied by claiming that “rooftop solar benefits everyone” by delivering “extra energy from rooftops to neighbours”.

Environmental conservation group, Sierra Club’s Washington chapter described the bills as “contradictory and complicated” and accused the policy template of creating “confusion in Washington's incentive payment programme” that would “ultimately diminish, not expand, the number of new solar installations in Washington”.

Sierra Club also ran a campaign to tell elected officials to vote against the two bills.

PV-Tech Storage Promo

Newsletter

Preview Latest
Subscribe
We won't share your details - promise!

Publications

  • Photovoltaics International 24th Edition

    Signs earlier in the year of the global industry entering a growth phase have now been confirmed beyond any doubt. Almost all the big-name suppliers have now announced some form of manufacturing capacity expansion, a trend that analysts agree will only gather pace as long as the levels of demand predicted over the next few years turn out to be correct.

  • Manufacturing The Solar Future: The 2014 Production Annual

    Although the past few years have proved extremely testing for PV equipment manufacturers, falling module prices have driven solar end-market demand to previously unseen levels. That demand is now starting to be felt by manufacturers, to the extent that leading companies are starting to talk about serious capacity expansions later this year and into 2015. This means that the next 12 months will be a critical period if companies throughout the supply chain are to take full advantage of the PV industry’s next growth phase.

Partners

Acknowledgements

Solar Media