The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. board approved yesterday a net metering program for residential consumers that would allow homeowners to install solar panels in their houses and get paid for any excess power it returns to the CUC grid.
The CUC board approved the implementation of the net metering program for residential customers only at 12:30pm. It will only apply to any applicant requesting up to 10 kilowatt per hour and not to exceed 70 percent of its consumption.
CUC executive director Alan Fletcher told board members that CUC has about 10,000 residential consumers.
Net metering is a low-cost type of renewable energy technology that allows customers to bank their energy and use it at their convenience.
Fletcher said that having net metering is a great concept that will allow customers to sell back power they produce to CUC.
One example the CUC board brought up was that if a residential customer were to install solar panels and self-generate more power than they can use, customers will be able to sell back power to CUC.
CUC may also benefit from net metering because when customers are self-generating electricity during peak periods, CUC’s system load factor will also improve.
Section 8634 of Public Law 15-23, which establishes the requirements for the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency and for other energy and cost-saving measures, states that “the electric utility shall develop a standard contract or tariff providing for net energy metering and shall make this contract or tariff available to eligible customer-generators, upon request, on a first-come-first-served basis until the time that the total available capacity produced by eligible customer-generators equals 30 percent of the electric utility’s system peak demand; provided that, on good cause shown, the regulator may increase, by rule or order, this percentage amount.”
Fletcher said that back in 2013 they have been on hold for net metering and have been processing quite a lot of applications. He said the reason for this is that the board can approve the residential part and in the process will give CUC enough time to devise a proper way of putting “light” commercial customers under net metering.
The Commonwealth Public Utilities Commission approved the proposed net metering tariff at its Jan. 27 public hearing.