- Entergy Louisiana told state utility regulators that the utility reached the state's cap on net metered residential solar and will cease offering retail rate remuneration for rooftop solar owners at the end of 2015. PV Magazine reports the move could potentially curtail development in the 10th largest U.S. residential solar market.
- Despite passing the net metering cap of 0.5% the utility's peak load, Entergy told regulators it would continue to accept solar interconnection applications and pay retail rate remuneration for any that are filed before Jan. 1, 2016. After that, solar owners will be paid a lower rate based on the utility's avoided cost for other generation, plus considerations for line loss and daytime power costs.
- The Louisiana Public Service Commission recently voted to keep the 0.5% net metering cap in place, though it's widely considered one of the most restrictive of the 46 net metering policies in the nation. Other utilities are believed to be nearing the cap; so far Entergy has 8203 photovoltaic (PV) solar systems under the net metering policy with a 47.4 MW installed capacity. The systems represent 0.57% of its peak load, exceeding the cap by 0.07%.
Despite hitting the state's net metering cap, Entergy told regulators late last month that it would continue to accept applications, although it will pay solar owners less in the new year for the excess solar they produce.
"The amount of the credit paid for each excess kWh shall be equal to the Company’s average avoided cost, adjusted for line losses and daytime production," the utility wrote to regulators in a Nov. 25 filing.
Entergy Spokesman Michael Burns told Utility Dive the new rates are not permanant, but will serve as a placeholder until regulators and sector stakeholders can settle on a more comprehensive value of solar methodology to form the foundation for a new remuneration program.
Louisiana PSC Commissioner Erik Skrmetta led the vote to implement the caps, and accepted the findings of a draft LPSC report claiming that increasing the cap would add $809 million to ratepayer bills. Skrmetta has been known for outspoken remarks against solar, PV Magazine reports.
In keeping the low cap on NEM in Louisiana, the LPSC was led by Commissioner Erik Skrmetta in accepting the findings of Estimating the Impact of Net Metering on LPSC Jurisdictional Players. Based on setting the value of solar-generated electricity at the annual avoided cost of utilities' fuel purchases, it concluded an increased cap would add $809 million to ratepayer bills.
The analysis, performed by the Acadian Consulting Group on behalf of the PSC, showed Louisiana’s 31,236 net metered solar array owners pay only 64% of what they cost the utilities in a typical year, requiring non-solar owning customers to pay an additional $2 million per year.
Louisiana solar advocates and solar advocacy group, The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), called the report is "a biased study” because it fails to account for the benefits solar provides. TASC noted the study was funded by utilities and authored by an oil-and-gas industries advocate.
Correction: An earlier version of this post stated that Entergy would end its net metering program. In fact, the utility told regulators it would continue to accept applications, but would lower solar remuneration rates below the retail rate of electricity after the new year.