Sixteen NC Solar Companies Join Forces for Future of Industry

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                                                                                                         September 8, 2015


Sixteen NC Solar Companies Join Forces for Future of Industry

Fifteen years of taxpayers’ investment at risk if tax credits are allowed to expire

Asheville, NC – Led by Asheville-based renewable energy company Sundance Power Systems, a coalition of sixteen solar energy companies from across the state has joined forces calling out for support of their industry as the current legislature decides on the final budget. Their decision on whether or not to extend the State’s 35% Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit (REITC) which has been tremendously instrumental to NC’s burgeoning solar economy threatens to destroy the investment NC has made in developing the solar industry in the State.

An ad placed by the group in Raleigh’s News & Observer today includes a cartoon warning “Dark Storm Threatens NC Solar Industry.” This rally for grassroots support and to pressure the legislature to renew the REITC stands on the significant economic growth that fifteen years of the incentive have brought to NC. Adopted in 1999, the tax credit was designed to enable renewable energy companies to increase market scale and reduce per unit costs until each resource can be part of a ‘least cost’ electricity resource mix without incentive, according to the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA.) It has gone through three rounds of extension since its inception, and is currently set to expire at the end of this year (December 31, 2015.)

“The credit has been incredibly successful, and is working,” stated Sundance Power System’s Co-Founder Dave Hollister. “The industry is almost to a point of sustainability but some support is still needed, contrary to the claim by opponents of its renewal that solar is ready to stand on its own and that the tax credits are no longer needed. That may be becoming true for the large utility-scale solar developers, but it is not true for the rooftop solar industry that this coalition represents.”

Renewable energy projects in NC have generated $1.54 in state and local government tax revenue for every $1.00 taken in tax credit, according to figures from NCSEA. This investment of tax payer’s money has been a positive economic force, and NC boosts the nation’s second strongest solar industry in 2014, supporting over 4,300 jobs. “Ending the tax credit prematurely would jeopardize the intent of the 15 year investment the taxpayers of NC have made to build a strong solar industry in the State. At some point solar tax credits should be phased out, that’s not the issue,” declared Hollister, “cutting them out now when we are so close to being sustainable will destroy the rooftop solar industry in North Carolina, cost thousands of jobs and set back our goals for a clean energy future immediately. This decision would be an absolute waste of our State’s resources.”

About Sundance Power Systems: Sundance Power Systems has been an active leader in the renewable energy industry since being founded in 1995. Dave Hollister, President and CEO, has been advocating for strong clean energy policies at legislative and utility levels for years, having served on the board of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association and participating in Progress Energy’s Community Energy Action Advisory Council, among others.

For information, please visit



Faith Communities join Solar Companies in Call-out to Duke

Faith Community with Solar

Date         August 25, 2015

Release    Immediate                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Faith Communities join Solar Companies in call-out to Duke

Significant development in effort to get Duke Energy to publicly support solar legislation

Asheville, NC – As Legislators continue to delay in deciding upon a budget and if it will include an extension of the renewable energy tax credit, the solar industry’s effort to sway Duke Energy into issuing a public support statement in support of an extension is being fortified by an alliance with leaders in the faith community.

Today a press conference is being held at the United Church of Chapel Hill, a congregation that is in the process of installing a solar energy system.  According to Kathy Miller, Co- Founder and CEO of Yes! Solar Solutions, faith-based communities are supporting extending the tax credit for two years so that other non-profit groups have time to assure the tax credits to their donors, stating “While installing an 83 kilowatt solar system on its roof, United Church of Chapel Hill realized the dilemma non-profits and churches and individuals face with the loss of the tax credit. It took UCCH the better part of two years to formulate, plan, raise the funds and contract for the solar system. In 2015, it took months for permitting and interconnection approval. Kehillah Synagogue had a similar story, as did Community Church of Chapel Hill and many others.”

On August 18, Sundance Power Systems, along with three other NC rooftop solar providers (Baker Renewables, Southern Energy Management, Yes! Solar Solutions) sent a letter to Duke Energy’s CEO Lynn Good urging that the Utility publicly endorse the proposed two year extension of the renewable energy tax credit. This coalition’s request of Duke Energy is based on the premise that delays in their interconnection process “threatens millions of dollars of lost revenue” for smaller-scale rooftop solar companies like theirs. Furthermore, Duke Energy itself has been the largest benefactor of the tax credit in North Carolina.

Faith Communities have been adopting solar energy across the state as they embrace sustainability initiatives within their congregations. Asheville’s First Congregational United Church of Christ led the movement in 2011, when Sundance Power Systems installed their 9.5 kW system. NC Interfaith Power and Light has been a tremendous resource for faith-based non-profits, helping identify different business models to help congregation members invest in solar and realize the benefits of tax incentives. Director Susannah Tuttle will be addressing the importance of these structures to the group today.

With the faith community engaged in this critical issue, the solar companies are working to get other organizations, businesses, and individuals to join the call to action. They are requesting that letters be sent Duke’s Strategic Outreach and Communications Manager, asking that Duke Energy reconsider supporting the two year extension of the tax credit.

About Sundance Power Systems:Sundance Power Systems has been an active leader in the renewable energy industry since its founding in 1995. Dave Hollister, President and CEO, has been advocating for strong clean energy policies at legislative and utility levels for years, having served on the board of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association and participating in  Progress Energy’s Community Energy Action Advisory Council, among others.



Companies urge Duke Energy for public support of Solar

 rooftop solar installation

Date         August 20, 2015                                                            Contact   Erika Schneider 

    Release    Immediate                                                                      Phone     828 645-2080 x 122


Companies urge Duke Energy for public support of Solar

Critical time for industry as NC Legislators decide on extension of tax credit in budget


Asheville, NC – Local solar energy company, Sundance Power Systems, along with three other NC rooftop solar providers, sent a letter to Duke Energy’s CEO Lynn Good earlier this week asking that they join in calling on the Legislature to include a two year extension of the Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit in the budget.

“Our industry has worked hard to make solar affordable for more North Carolina residents and business owners, and we’ve been very successful. The tax credit has provided the financial footing needed for our young but capable industry to serve residential and commercial customers statewide. We have seen first-hand how the certainty provided by this policy translates to a strong business pipeline that keeps jobs and income in our communities, and builds a grid that is more distributed, resilient and clean. Small-scale solar is a key contributor to our state’s $4.8 billion solar industry,” they state.

With the slated sun-setting of the 35% state incentive, the small-scale solar industry has been adversely impacted by delays in the interconnection process as the Utility has been swamped with an overwhelming number of large projects. This threatens millions of dollars of lost revenue for the industry. “The extension of the tax credit would help level out demand for the rest of the year and allow the industry to phase out the tax credit over the next two years, during which time we can work collaboratively with Duke Energy to figure out how to make sure our grid continues to be affordable, reliable and increasingly clean,” the group says.

Within hours of the letter being sent, the Charlotte Business Journal ran an article with Duke’s response of “No.” Duke spokesman Randy Wheeless was quoted as saying “Our stance hasn’t changed. We know tax credits are a hot issue in Raleigh. We believe that the General Assembly is in the best position to settle this issue itself.”

“Duke’s political stance of ‘neutrality’ on this issue is a farce and represents an opposition to residential and commercial rooftop solar in North Carolina,” says Sundance’s Dave Hollister.  “A failure to extend or phase out the credit will jeopardize the majority of small to midsized solar companies and take away this clean energy choice from businesses and residential customers. It will crush an industry that has provided thousands of jobs and significant economic growth in our state.”

The rooftop solar industry has joined together in a grassroots campaign to engage customers and the general public that support a thriving clean energy economy in our state. This is an opportunity for Duke to join forces and work together with the solar industry to  foster continued growth of jobs, a cleaner energy mix, and a more sustainable future.


About Sundance Power Systems:

Sundance Power Systems has been an active leader in the renewable energy industry since its founding in 1995. Dave Hollister, President and CEO, has been advocating for strong clean energy policies at legislative and utility levels for years, having served on the board of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association and participating in  Progress Energy’s Community Energy Action Advisory Council, among others.

For information, please visit




Letter to Duke Energy

This is a critical time for the solar industry in NC, and so many have been working to ensure a clean energy future in our state. However, we are getting down to the wire, and so are engaging all efforts on this front.

Today Dave Hollister, Sundance’s President and CEO, along with several other companies speaking for the rooftop solar industry, sent this letter to Ms. Lynn Good, President and CEO of Duke Energy, asking that the Utility join us in calling on the Legislature to include a 2 year extension of the Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit in the budget.

Lynn Good letter FINAL (2)


Measuring up to SunPower’s Tips for Selecting a Solar Installer

With 20 years of “Empowering People with Solar” under our belt, we think you’ll find we more than measure up to these 6 Tips to land the perfect solar installer compiled by SunPower.  We deal with only highly vetted manufacturers and components (like SunPower,) we’re licensed and insured,  we’re experienced in both residential and commercial solar, and we work customers through all aspects of an investment in solar…. Current incentives, financing, and monitoring your production.

We’d like to add another important tip to this list: #7  Find out if they have a Service Department for ensuring your system’s optimal performance years into the future. (Yeah, we have a great one!)

Give us a call at 828 645-2080 if you’ve been thinking of solar energy  for your home or business… time is narrowing to take advantage of NC’s tax credit of 35% while it is still in place (it could be late September or even October before we know if legislators will support a renewal into 2016.)


Here’s SunPower’s wise advice for selecting a solar installer:

Solar is a booming industry. New companies and contractors are popping up every day to get in on the action. If you use Yelp to search for “solar installation” in the San Francisco Bay area, you’ll get nearly 500 results. With hundreds of hit or miss options, what’s next?

Let’s narrow down the field of potential solar contractors so you can start generating clean energy without worrying about what’s happening to your roof.

  1. Find out which types of solar systems they offer
    There are many pieces of hardware involved in a home solar installation. Solar panels, inverters, wiring and cables. Many (even most) solar installation companies tend to “Frankenstein” their solar systems together without testing how they’ll really perform in the real world. This may cause problems. Not just problems in the initial installation, but down the road in terms of overall system performance. If you’re shelling out thousands on a solar system, make sure your installers are using quality equipment that works well together. They should be able to provide you with an accurate energy estimate for how much your system will produce each year. If you choose wisely, it’s likely that your system will be generating energy for decades. (If you choose a SunPower solar system, it’s likely to be over 40 years.)1
  2. Find out how long they’ve been installing solar 
    Yes, it’s true that every master was once a beginner. However, experience matters in solar. When people are attaching heavy equipment to your roof, tying it to your electrical system, and in most cases allowing you to sell energy back to the grid, you want someone who knows what they’re doing. In that vein, it’s extremely important that you know that they are licensed in your state, insured and certified. Ask to view their credentials (solar, electric and general contractors licensing). The best solar installers have staff members that are certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)Another common practice is subcontracting. Ask if they use subcontractors for different parts of the installation. Checking the credentials of the core company isn’t as meaningful if people who don’t have the same credentials install the system. Simplify the process and have peace of mind by choosing a company that can manage your project from start to finish, including design, installation, permits and system maintenance.
  3. Find out if they are familiar with all the incentives 
    Most people don’t have time to research every possible rebate or tax incentive. Rebates and incentives vary wildly by state, county, city and even utility provider, leading to a patchwork of regulations. Good local solar installers know the ins and outs of all the incentives you are eligible for. The best companies will file all the paperwork for you so you don’t have to worry about it.
  4. Find out what is under warranty and how long
    There’s nothing worse than getting everything installed and then finding out that your solar system isn’t working like it should be. A great way to compare solar installation companies is to ask them about what happens when something goes wrong.

    • ​What’s covered under the product warranty? How long does the coverage last?
    • What’s covered under the power warranty? How long does the coverage last?
    • Who pays for the shipping and labor to replace defective components?
    • Is there a warranty on the installation itself?
    • What happens if something goes wrong and the installer is no longer in business?
    • What happens if my system doesn’t generate the amount of electricity I was expecting?
  5. Find out what your payment options are
    There are many ways to pay for a home solar system, but not all companies offer every option. Leasing isn’t for everyone. Ask the solar installation company up front for their available options so you can compare them to other bids you’ll receive. While you’re at it, make sure they clearly explain any annual fees your utility may charge for your system to be connected to the grid, if any.
  6. Find out how you can monitor your system’s performance
    Many companies offer monitoring applications that work on both Apple and Android phones so you can monitor your solar system’s performance. It can be very fun and gratifying to watch your system save (or even make) you money and its positive effects for the planet.

Our network of dealers has installed tens of thousands of home solar energy systems around the globe. Find a local certified SunPower installer >

- See more at:


NC and the EPA’s Clean Power Plan

The Sierra Club has been drawing attention to the critical issue of how NC will develop its Clean Power Plan according to recent EPA rulings. We credit them for the following informative update:

Later this summer, the EPA will release its first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants. This is a big deal as well as a big opportunity. States will now have the chance to create their own plans to meet the requirements of the Clean Power Pan with clean energy solutions that will protect health and support local economies.

Unfortunately, instead of seizing on this opportunity to help North Carolinians forge our own path to a clean energy future, Governor McCrory is continuing to sit on the sidelines – or sometimes even cheerleading for the opposing team – denying that we need to act at all.

On July 21, thousands from across the state are going to put pressure on the governor from all sides. We will place hundreds of calls into the governor’s office and thousands more will raise our voices of support on social media to urge him to begin a state stakeholder process for the Clean Power Plan.

Tell Governor McCrory it’s time to start developing a climate plan that works for all North Carolinians. Send him a message now.

The solutions are at hand: North Carolina has been a powerhouse in developing clean energy for decades. Our solar leadership has been key in attracting hi tech employers like Google and we’ve just broken ground on our first wind farm. North Carolina is uniquely poised to be a leader on clean energy. By starting a stakeholder process now, Governor McCrory can make sure we reduce pollution and build clean energy in the most impactful way.

You can click this link to send McCrory a message  Together we can keep North Carolina moving forward in a clean and sustainable way.


Special Legislative Update

Salutations Readers. As the direction of clean energy in NC will be critically impacted by the outcomes of several pending legislative issues, we would like to focus this blog  on the current legislative landscape for renewables in North Carolina.There are 3 areas of pending legislation that could really change things for North Carolinians: The Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit, The effort to repeal the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards, and The Energy Freedom Act.

According to the Solar Energy Industry Association, last year North Carolina is in second place, behind California, for new solar project installations in the United States. It is believed that 2014 had 22,995 people employed directly in clean energy jobs. This includes jobs in geothermal, biomass, wind, energy efficiency, solar, and hydro-power sectors. This figure does not include the many indirect jobs. Renewable Energy offers a sustainable, healthy and viable way forward for our state. It will take education, effort and citizen participation to keep our state renewable energy friendly. Policies like the Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit and the REPS have created a favorable environment for the growth and success of renewables. We’d like to see North Carolina take the lead in installed solar, we think you would too.

We’d like to give a shout out to NCSEA – the North Carolina Solar Energy Association for all of their amazing and relentless work on behalf of solar for North Carolina. They always have the most current information on all things solar. Check them out. Also, NC WARN is on the frontlines of keeping us informed on issues and giving us ways to take action. In this issue of our newsletter, rather than moving to the “Action You Can Take” section, you’ll find the action you can take in each update.

The Renewable Energy Tax Investment Credit

The North Carolina Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit was established in 1999 and has been renewed in 5 year increments since. Currently, the tax credit will expire on 12/31/2015. The credit can be taken against both personal and corporate income tax. The credit amount is 35% of the eligible installation costs up to 50% of a taxpayer’s tax liability. The commercial credit is limited to $2.5 million per installation and must be taken in five equal annual installments. Click this link here to see what resources are eligible for the tax credits as well as more details about the tax credits.

As of this week, the Senate has delayed the rollout of the proposed budget but it is anticipated later this week. The Senate is considering the House budget (HB97) which includes a 2 year extension of the tax credit.

At this point in time, the most helpful thing you can do is to contact your Senators (now- don’t put this off) and let them know that you want them to support an extension of the Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit. If you are unsure of your Senators, or how to best contact them, use this link . This is a great campaign to involve friends and family in as well.

Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards

The growth of NC’s solar industry was spurred significantly in 2007 when NC passed Senate Bill 3 and adopted a Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS.) This bill mandated that  Utilities generate 12.5% of their energy through renewable resources. The North Carolina General Assembly prioritized the use of solar electric/thermal and swine and poultry waste with “set-asides” for each. The solar industry met its targeted set-aside of at least 0.07% in 2012 much more quickly and cost-effectively than could have been predicted, and has led to significant economic impact and job creation in our state.

House Bill 332, Energy Policy Amendments, would stall the standards at 6 percent. Initially introduced to address cost recovery for natural gas utilities, the REPS amendment was added later. The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) and the national group Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) oppose the proposed changes to REPS. Several AEE member companies working in North Carolina’s nascent but growing solar market issued statements against the “job-killing” legislation. “H332 is unfair to the entire ecosystem of local businesses who supply solar in N.C. This bill threatens many of the 23,000 jobs and the $4.8 billion in annual revenue that have been created in N.C. thanks to the REPS,” said Melanie Santiago-Mosier, director of government affairs for SunEdison. “It would disqualify many solar projects from longstanding benefits that make clean, renewable energy valuable for owners, on grounds that are arbitrary and capricious. Changing the rules of the road like this is anti-business and anti-consumer.”

The bill passed in the House and was sent to the Senate in late April. Language on reforming the REPS contained in H332 also exists in HB 760, the state’s omnibus regulatory reform bill, which is currently making its way through the state Senate. A third bill with the same language (HB 681) failed in the state House in late April.

NCSEA’s Legislative Weekly reported on Friday, June 12, that there was no movement that week on these bills. Time is of the essence to reach out to your Representatives asking them to oppose House Bill 332 and any energy policies that put our clean energy future at a stall.

The Energy Freedom Act – Third Party Sales

The Energy Freedom Act, introduced in March as House Bill 245, would allow third-party sales of electricity. Currently, NC is one of five states that prohibit the sale of electricity by any other entity than the Utility company. Adoption of this Bill would introduce market competition to the current utility monopoly by allowing solar leasing options by renewable energy companies.

The leasing model has been very popular in states like California where companies like Solar City and Sungevity have been very active. According to GTM Research, two out of three new residential solar installations in the US were third-party owned in 2013.  Leasing has expanded the penetration of solar significantly in mid to lower income households as it eliminates the upfront costs of purchasing.  Customers enter into a long-term contract and ownership is maintained by the solar company. While this model has undeniably led to more widespread adoption of solar energy systems, the benefits and disadvantages need to be weighed carefully against direct ownership itself. For customers who can take advantage of tax incentives and have the financial resources or financing to purchase the system themselves, direct purchase may offer greater financial savings.

However, as pointed out in a recent blog by NCSEA entitled “In NC, Everyone Can Win with Third-Party Sales of Electricity” leasing would be a boon to our military facilities and university system. Government institutions, non- profit organizations, faith communities, and others that can’t directly benefit from tax credits may find that a leasing contract offers an opportunity to bring clean energy generation to their facilities.  Large corporations such as Wal-Mart, Target, Lowes and Family Dollar support the legislation, and interestingly, Duke Energy Renewables, the unregulated arm of Duke Energy, recently made a major investment in REC Solar, a leading third-party solar company.

NCSEA reports that action has been taken on this legislation these past few weeks, but support for this bill is growing every day.  Call Your Legislator and ask them to support House Bill 245 today.


Cheers To Efficiency!

We are excited to share this blog BUILD-A-BREWERY: COLD BEER, WARM FEET that featured our radiant floor installation in the liquid center at New Belgium’s new brewery being constructed in Asheville.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

This month we poured the concrete floors in the Asheville Liquid Center, and while it may look like any concrete floor, embedded in it is approximately 4,000 feet of ½ inch PEX tubing, installed by Asheville-based renewable energy company Sundance Power Systems.

Laid out in carefully calculated looping pathways to ensure even heat distribution, this network of tubing is part of a hydronic radiant floor heating system. Come late fall and cooler temperatures, hot water will be pumped and circulated through this tubing, and the floor will essentially become one large radiator, warming the surface of objects in the space as well as the air itself. This even heat provides great comfort, but radiant floor heating is a highly efficient way to heat a building as well. Most people feel comfortable at room temperatures 3 to 5 degrees cooler than in rooms heated by forced air systems, resulting in less fuel use. It’s also quiet and clean as there’s no forced air blowing dust, dander and other unknowns about.

We’re all about producing world-class beer, while proving business can be a force for good. Partners like Sundance Power Systems help us do that by helping us implement continuous, innovative quality and efficiency improvements. Thanks Sundance! Cheers to warm feet and cold beers!

Build-a-Brewery: We have partnered with some amazing folks in the process of building our brewery, liquid center and distribution center here in Asheville, NC. Let us tell you about how they are helping us get our east coast home up and running.


Faith Communities Embrace Solar

“The use of fossil fuels just seems to be something that we can no longer accommodate. If there is any way we can move to better alternatives, we believe that the Church needs to be a leader in that.” This powerful statement by Reverend Randy Orwig of Elon College Community Church in the video Clean Energy works for Us, produced by North Carolina Interfaith Power & Light (NCIP&L,) epitomizes the recent embracement of solar energy by congregations across the state. Undoubtedly, NCIP&L, which works with faith communities to address the causes and consequences of global climate change and promote practical, hope-filled responses through education, outreach, and public policy advocacy, has been a significant force in this movement.

When the 5 kW solar electric system was installed for Elon Community Church in the Spring of 2013, they were only the third congregation in NC to go solar, according to the article Elon Community Church going green with solar panels. First Congregational United Church of Christ in Asheville led the way and has served as a model since they installed their 10 kW system in April of 2011. David Andes, chairman of Elon’s Green Church Committee, summarized why their group committed to install solar in saying “Eventually, it will save the church money. But it was really to make an environmental statement and have an impact. We want to be a witness to the community and show that earth care is part of who we are as a congregation.”

Caring for creation and the stewardship of our planet is increasingly part of many congregations’ ministries, as evident by the GreenFaith Certification Program. The Episcopal Church of the Holy Family in Mills River, NC, is one of the first in NC to undertake this comprehensive certification process, and the Green Team currently is submitting their final documentation. Their greening initiatives did include the installation of an 8.1 kW solar system, which was commissioned on the 21st of October. (After they’ve seen this system in operation for a few more months, we will do a more in-depth spotlight on their initiatives in the New Year.)

Following with the solar suit, so to say, are two other congregations that our Field Crews are currently installing: The First Christian Church in Black Mountain with a 12.42 kW system, and The First United Methodist Church in Franklin with a 10.7 kW system. Reverend Joe Hoffman of the First Congregational United Church of Christ says in NCIP&L’s video “Being the first faith community in WNC to do this, it was surprising to me how many people noticed.”

Evidently, people are noticing, and these efforts are making a big impact. Opportunities to engage are widening; even the Western North Carolina Alliance, a grassroots organization that has been championing environmental protection for over 30 years, has recently formed a dedicated program to the cause, the Creation Care Alliance of WNC. The Asheville Bioneers Conference this year is dedicating an entire evening to explore and broaden the conversation, with a panel including perspectives from Judaism, Wicca, and Presbyterian faiths. (See calendar for more details.) For all five of the Churches mentioned, installing solar involved significant commitment and strong leadership, (the process is now much simpler thanks to the work of these first models) but these systems stand to inspire and demonstrate what is possible when faith, vision, and community come together.


“Why the Net Energy Metering Debate Misses the Point”

As the topic of net metering is a very important one concerning solar in NC, we thought we’d share this thought-provoking article authored by Matt Lehrman & Peter Bronski and originally published on the Rocky Mountain Institute’s September blog.

“Why the Net Energy Metering Debate Misses the Point”

It’s no secret that net energy metering (NEM) is a controversial topic in the electricity world these days. Customers love the way it helps solar PV offset their utility bill and adds clean energy to their home or business. Some solar advocates argue it is foundational to the continued growth of rooftop solar (as an early-market mechanism, it’s been tremendously successful). And many utilities loathe it, seeing NEM as a “free ride” for solar customers (since a rooftop solar customer could, for instance, net to zero over the course of a month and have a $0 utility bill, thereby avoiding paying for the value of being grid-connected), while also arguing that they can add more renewables to the grid at a lower cost through utility-scale projects than can customers through individual distributed systems on residential rooftops. Then there’s the issue of the benefits that distributed solar brings to the grid.

But the debate around the continuation, expansion, reform, or abolishment of NEM distracts from a much bigger opportunity to unleash innovation and investment in distributed energy resources (DERs) in ways that are better for everyone: customers, DER providers, and utilities alike.


The real lever for unleashing innovation in DERs, including rooftop solar, is the widely held utility rate structure of bundled, block, volumetric pricing. The per-kWh price customers pay for electricity service bundles many components—energy, capacity, frequency regulation, reliability, environmental attributes, and much more. When we net meter with bundled, block, volumetric pricing, perverse incentives and cross-subsidies emerge that encourage customers to install DERs that maximize benefits on one side of the meter (theirs), which often leaves significant value on the table (or can even discourage customers from installing DERs), including value that can cross over the meter to benefit the grid.

Read More…