Californian Governor Jerry Brown has signed a key piece of legislation that will provide residential solar users with added certainty.
AB 327 bolsters the state’s net metering laws by removing a planned suspension at the end of next year and opening the door to an end to the cap on the system.
Net metering allows solar users to export excess energy to the grid and wind back their meter. There are concerns that the system means those who do not benefit from having solar installed, are left to foot the bill for the transmission and distribution network.
“I expect the Commission to ensure that customers who took service under net metering prior to reaching the statutory net metering cap on or before July 1, 2017, are protected under those rules for the expected life of their systems,” said Governor Brown.
More than one-third of US solar installations have been in California in 2013 so far and added certainty around net metering will boost the residential sector.
A recent report by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) claimed that consumers that do not have rooftop solar panels will pay an additional US$287 million for the upkeep of the grid every year by 2020.
The Vote Solar advocacy group said the report was biased as it counted the cost of self-consumed solar power as a grid cost, even though the grid would not come into play.
The new legislation also removes the 33% ceiling on the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.