Study: Net metering is a net positive for Missouri
- A cost-benefit study of net energy metering (NEM) in Missouri has concluded that the practice is beneficial for all customers, regardless of if they have rooftop solar or not, Midwest Energy News reports.
- The study used values for two costs and two benefits and concluded NEM's “net effect” is positive. The typical solar owner pays only 20% less in fixed grid costs and costs the utility an estimated $187 per interconnection. Solar owners benefit the system through reduced emissions and energy costs.
- Even accounting for a range of utility costs, including administration and the shift of some infrastructure expenses, the Missouri Energy Initiative study of NEM from 2008 to 2013 reached a similar conclusion as NEM studies for Vermont, New York, Texas and Nevada.
About 6,000 Missourians use NEM. Most are customers of investor owned utilities Ameren Missouri and Kansas City Power & Light, the state’s dominant electricity providers, which have been in conflict with solar advocates since 2013 over solar rebates.
The study did not quantify the net effect of NEM but used previous studies’ data to qualitatively compare utility claims that solar owners’ reduced bills shift infrastrucuture costs to non-solar owning customers and solar advocates’ claims that solar offers more benefits than costs.
The Missouri Public Service Commission backed IOU efforts to limit their solar rebate obligations. Empire District Electric Co., the other Missouri IOU, recently lost its legal effort to be exempted from rebates.
A roadmap for the state’s first comprehensive energy plan is expected by May 31 from a committee establish by a Governor Jay Nixon executive order.
A 2013 study in Vermont concluded an average rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system provides a $0.043 per KWH net benefit. A New York state study found the benefit was between $0.15 and $0.40 per kWh. A 2014 study done for the Nevada Public Utilities Commission concluded that NEM benefits are “likely positive” but “very small.”
- Midwest Energy News Study finds net metering to be a net benefit in Missouri