- Sunrise Energy President David Hommrich is suing Pennsylvania electric utility PPL Corp in federal court alleging civil rights violations because the utility referred his interconnection request to the state utility commission for a decision on whether the solar installations qualify for net energy metering.
- A home solar system that generates electricity for the house clearly qualifies for NEM in Pennsylvania but the PUC is studying a proposal that would characterize a solar array in the middle of a field with no independent demand for electricity at the site as a merchant generator instead of a customer generator. That would make it ineligible for NEM.
- Hommrich/Sunrise Energy has three 1.95 megawatt projects in PPL territory that would, if they qualify for NEM, earn the retail rate for kilowatt-hours delivered to the grid but the PUC decision on the NEM rules-change, delayed since February, have paralyzed the utility, according to PPL.
Legal authorities say Hommrich's federal lawsuit against PPL, because it would be heard in a federal court, could set a national precedent on the legality of the Pennsylvania PUC proposal.
A three megawatt solar project from Mid Atlantic Green Builder has also been put into limbo and PPL , which covers 29 counties in eastern and central Pennsylvania, expects more interconnection requests.
In May 2013, about 7,600 Pennsylvania customer-generators were net-metered, totaling 186 megawatts in capacity, less than half a percent of the state’s electricity.
A PA PUC spokesperson said the ruling will clarify existing practice rather re-interpret Pennsylvania’s 2004 NEM law but it is not clear how many NEM systems in PA will be affected.