In Texas, 1 company is making rooftop solar work without net metering
- With some exceptions, Texas does not offer net metering, making rooftop solar a tough sell. But SolarCity moved into the state last year, partnering with MP2 Energy to offer retail rates for excess generation, with similar terms to programs in other states, Greentech Media reports.
- Greentech Media digs into how MP2 was able to offer the product, by operating both as an energy retailer and “qualified scheduling entity" that can trade in the state's wholesale energy markets.
- SolarCity launched in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in 2015, and announced last month it was expanding into the Houston market as well.
While some questioned SolarCity's move into Texas, given the state's overall lack of a statewide net metering policy, the company's expansion into the Houston area last week appears to be a good indication the program is working. The company is scouting the Houston area for its first installation center, and could hire up to 100 employees this year.
Greentech Media takes a close look at how the partnership with MP2, which manages about 1.5 GW of renewable power and another 50 MW of gas plants. The company operates as a “qualified scheduling entity” in addition to being an energy retailer, which allows it to leverage the solar energy in the ERCOT markets.
It is solar energy's "shape," how it provides the most energy at peak times of use, that is most important, according to MP2 Energy’s Vice President of Sustainability Maura Yates.
“Shape is the most valuable thing that solar has, and it’s more valuable in ERCOT than any other market we’ve worked in," she told Greentech, " When you start trending where volatility comes, when risk comes in the market, it’s highly correlated with when solar is in the market as well.”
Some states have begun transitioning away from retail net metering. Hawaii eliminated its retail net metering program last year, replacing it with two new programs for customers who want to install solar — self-supply and grid-supply options. Nevada regulators last year rolled out a new net metering tariff that cut its retail rate remuneration closer to the wholesale rate while increasing fixed charges over a span of 12 years.
New York utilities and solar companies also struck a compromise deal earlier this year to transition away from net metering at a pace that wouldn't damage the value proposition for rooftop solar developers.
Correction: A previous version of this article said Maura Yates was SolarCity's Vice President of Sustainability. That is incorrect. Maura Yates is MP2 Energy’s VP of Sustainability.
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