- Green Mountain Power, which serves about three-fourths of Vermont’s electricity customers, expects to reach the net energy metering (NEM) cap of 15% of peak load by early 2016, after which it would not be able to provide credits to new owners of distributed generation for power they send back to the grid.
- In 2014, the Vermont legislature increased the cap on the program from 4% of peak load to its present level, but utilities quickly caught up with the new cap thanks to growth in residential and commercial-industrial solar sales.
- The 2014 law also created a framework to help the state's Public Service Department (PSD) redesign the policy for when the 30% federal investment tax credit for solar reverts to the 10% for commercial installations and zero for residential systems.
Only Hardwick Electric, a localized utility, has already reached the 15% of peak load NEM cap. Vermont Electric Cooperative, which has a 3-year phase in for the cap, has reached its 2015 cap and could, because of planned projects, get to its 2016 cap at the beginning of the year.
The Vermont PSD is expected to release a draft proposal soon of its post-2017 plan to support the growth of DERs. The plan is expected to include significant revisions to NEM.
The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, faced with a similar decision and a nearly 20% penetration of DERs on the state’s grid, just eliminated retail rate net metering. The regulators found that, in conjunction with Hawaii’s high retail electricity prices and low installed solar costs, DERs no longer needed NEM to drive growth.
The Hawaii PUC substituted two replacement offerings, a “self-supply option” and a “grid-supply option.” Customers with installations approved before the beginning of the new program will have NEM’s retail rate credits for the life of their agreements.