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While the examples of Nevada and Hawaii are strikingly different from each other, they represent a potential sea change that could be seen in many other states as utilities continue the push to recapture revenues lost to solar generation and grid planning costs associated with preparing for higher circuit penetration rates on their lines.

So far in solar’s journey, net metering has been the secret sauce for many sectors that makes the generation profile of solar make economic sense.

The credit is now extended through the end of 2019 at the 30% level, and will step down to 26% in 2020, 22% in 2021, and 10% in 2022 and future years.

Geothermal heat pumps continue to be eligible for a 10% ITC through the end of 2016, and geothermal electric systems are eligible for a 10% ITC through 2022 and future years.

What this amounts to is that solar energy producers will not be credited for excess generation during the day in the way they’ve historically been used to, making pay-back periods much longer and threatening economic viability of many projects altogether.

The PUC hearings for these rulings received enormous press and included testimony from stakeholders across the energy industry such as high profile energy developer Elon Musk, Solar City board chairman.

But typical residential consumers, who by-and-large aren’t home in the middle of the day, have relatively small home loads at these times.

The idea is that as solar costs continue to drop and project economics remain buoyed by the ITC, the case is stronger for utilities to claim losses and expenses as a result of increasing solar adoption.Late last year the Hawaii PUC similarly voted to end net metering for Hawaii Electric Company’s (HECO) solar generating customers.The related issues behind this vote were decidedly a bit more complex than in Nevada due to the uniquely high solar penetration Hawaii is experiencing (as of October 2015, roughly 16% of HECO Companies customers were generating power with grid-connected solar the capacity of which amounted to about 35% penetration on the system peaks[2].The form that’s taken so far is an overhaul to net metering policies.Solar energy systems produce at their max typically in the middle of the day when the sun is most directly incident on the modules.Without net metering, and considering the gradual plateauing trend of installation cost reductions, many are speculating that demand response and storage mechanisms, such as generation-coupled batteries, will be the future of helping to monetize the energy value of customer-sited distributed solar and maintain favorable economics and incentive for consumers to go solar.

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