The future of rooftop solar panels in Utah is at a crossroads. Rocky Mountain Power has proposed significant cost increases for solar homeowners. The Standard-Examiner and several other sources estimate that the proposed fee change requests a new $9.02 per kilowatt demand charge and a lower charge per kilowatt-hour for rooftop solar households. Rocky Mountain Power estimates the change will bump up net metering households’ average monthly bills by around $19.
In response, proponents of solar have submitted expert testimony exposing flaws in the utility’s claim that solar customers aren’t paying their fair share to connect to the power grid. If Rocky Mountain Power successfully passes its proposed net metering changes, solar interveners say the future of rooftop solar in Utah will be in severe jeopardy.
These proposed changes to net metering rates were still under consideration as of December 13, 2016. Next up in the case is the rebuttal testimony due in July, followed by a public hearing in August.
A diverse array of solar industry and nonprofit stakeholders submitted expert testimony to the Utah Public Service Commission, providing compelling data to inform their ruling on the proposed changes. The formal interveners include Utah Clean Energy, Utah Solar Energy Association, Energy Freedom Coalition of America, HEAL Utah, Vivint Solar and Sierra Club. Their testimonies make the case a more fair and balanced approach for solar customers and the public, in sharp contrast to RMP’s proposed 150 percent increase in charges for rooftop solar customers.
The Public Service Commission won’t hold a hearing on Rocky Mountain Power’s larger proposal—possible net metering rate changes—until August.
In the meantime, the future of net metering rates in Utah remains uncertain, including whether any changes would apply to existing rooftop solar customers.