Rooftop solar installations fall under net-metering phaseout

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Monday, August 27, 2018

There’s been a 23 percent drop in the number of new rooftop solar installations in Utah since the state’s main power company started paying customers a lower rate for the extra power they generate.

The deal by Rocky Mountain Power Inc. to phase out net metering, which paid customers a market rate for the power they generated, took effect in November. People with new solar power installations are in a transitional program that lasts until 2033 and pays them just under the market rate for their excess power.

People who had installed their solar panels before the change took effect have been grandfathered in at the previous rates, which will last until 2035.

“The low-hanging fruit is already taken,” said Ryan Evans of the Utah Solar Energy Association. “Those people interested in solar, if they’d been looking, they went for it in 2016” before the end of net metering.

Approximately 12,400 new rooftop solar installations were added in 2016. That fell in 2017 to almost 9,400 customers installing new systems.

The power company contended that net metering transferred costs to its customers who don’t have solar power. It came to the agreement with groups including Utah Clean Energy.