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New solar deadline—what does it mean?

By October 5, 2017 No Comments

Rocky Mountain Power just announced a new settlement with the solar industry. We sat down with Kelly Curtis from Solaroo Energy to answer some questions on how this agreement affects both new and future solar customers.

Question 1: What happened?

Last year, Rocky Mountain Power filed a rate change that would have been harmful to solar customers. In response to that filing, Governor Gary Herbert supported settlement talks for a structure that would work for both the utility and solar industries.

As such, Rocky Mountain Power, the solar industry and others recently reached a settlement over the net metering program — the program that governs how most residential and commercial solar customers are compensated for electricity exported to the grid.

Question 2: What are the victories for solar?

We really fought hard on two fronts:

  • Maintaining the current deal for solar customers under which they originally agreed to with their solar installation and preserving the choice and economics for future solar customers. We also fought to keep incentivizing consumers who choose solar.
  • Rocky Mountain Power has agreed to help the solar industry lobby for a more favorable state solar tax credit, which is set to be reduced at the end of the year.

Question 3: Did anything change for current solar customers?

Existing solar customers and those who sign up before November 15th will get to keep the current rate structure and net metering program — with a guarantee on that program for roughly 18 years. Rocky Mountain Power won’t be able to discriminate charges solely against solar customers during this time. It’s a big win; we have never had that level of certainty with solar here in Utah ever!

Question 4: What changes will future solar customers see after November 15th, 2017?

There are a few changes. They will see a change in how the utility values the solar they produce. In other words, they will not see a change in the value of a kwh they produce on their roof that their home uses, and they will get roughly 92.5 percent of the current value of each kwh they send back into the grid.

They will also see a couple of modest application fees for the net metering program. This will help Rocky Mountain Power administrate the program, but the fees aren’t steep enough to damage the economics of going solar.

Question 5: Let’s talk about the need to do solar now. Why is it so important?

Well, for those customers who sign up before November 15th, 2017, they will get the current net metering program guaranteed for 18 years. This is huge! I don’t know of another state with that kind of certainty for a solar program. It’s a great chance to lock in savings and peace of mind with going solar. The other reason is that this is the last year for the full state solar tax credit in Utah, which will reduce for 2018 solar installations.

Last question: What does someone need to do to make the November 15th deadline?

They need to meet with one of our solar consultants for a free no-obligation consultation. If they decide solar is right for them, we will help them fill out some paperwork on their project. Once we understand the details about their solar system, we will send that and a completed net metering application to Rocky Mountain Power. This will then allow them to take advantage of the guaranteed 18-year program.

Interested in switching to solar or want more information? Just go to our website, click the “quick quote” button and one of our experienced staff members will reach out to you in a hurry!