Author: Glen Brand               Published:  5/29/2020         Solar Neighborhood United

 

Ronald,

Thanks to everyone who joined us yesterday for our webinar “How to protect your solar rights: NERA and the threat to net metering”!

Even if you weren’t able to join us, we wanted to share the webinar with you.

Click here to get the full webinar video (59 mins). I’ve included the Q&A below.

The June 15 deadline for comments is coming up fast. We only have a couple of weeks to stop NERA’s petition for a federal takeover of state solar energy policy and the stripping of your solar rights.

What can you do?

  1. Before anything else … take action at SaveSolar.org!
  2. Share the Save Solar campaign on TwitterFacebook, or use our social media images to make your own posts.
  3. Participate in our online Day of Action to Save Solar on Wednesday, June 10. We need everyone to flood social media with images and messages to get as many people as possible to take action at SaveSolar.org.

Best,

Glen Brand
Vice President of Policy and Advocacy
Solar United Neighbors

Webinar Q&A

Don’t many solar homeowners already get credited the wholesale rate? I think that’s how it works here in CA.

Editor’s note: The wholesale rate is what the electricity costs the utility to produce vs. the retail rate which is the higher rate that the utility charges customers for that electricity.

It varies from state to state and in some cases by utility.

Has NERA suggested wholesale credits from solar generators be at time of year and time of day wholesale prices?

It’s not clear what rate structure will be allowed.

Would the net metering loss to solar owners be covered by takings legislation?

Almost certainly no.

Wouldn’t people with net metering agreements with their electric utility be grandfathered in so they would not be affected by any changes?

It’s not clear at this time if there will be any grandfathering.

Can PURPA’s “avoided cost” include avoided social costs and therefore be greater than just the current wholesale cost?

Editor’s note: PURPA is the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act. It was meant to promote energy conservation and promote greater use of domestic energy and renewable energy.

NERA argues no.

If solar customers will need to pay taxes on the payments they receive does this mean that NERA is asking FERC to implement a “buy all, sell all” mechanism?

Editor’s note: “Buy all, sell all” is an arrangement where solar owners cannot self-consume electricity — all self-generated electricity goes directly onto the grid. A customer uses electricity exclusively from the grid and pays the retail rate.
Solar owners receive a predetermined sell rate for the electricity their systems generate. Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

This is a real possibility.

Does FERC have a “precedent” approach that is consistent?  If they’ve ruled once on an issue is that usually dispositive? Also, what remedies exist if FERC approves petition?

They have a tradition of respecting precedent, but… There will likely be legal opposition if FERC agrees with the petition.

Could a coalition of State Attorney Generals file a lawsuit on constitutional grounds?

Numerous Attorneys General are intervening in the case… We show a map late in the webinar.

Have you hired a lawyer for this? You need someone who’s familiar with all the nitty-gritty legal stuff and is also a good speaker.

Both Vote Solar and Solar United Neighbors are intervenors in this case….we are represented by Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law organization.

Are you asking us to send comments directly to the FERC docket, EL20-42?

No. We are asking people to take action at SaveSolar.org.

Sounds like ALEC is hiding in the background, so far.

Editor’s note: ALEC is American Legislative Exchange Council, a nonprofit organization of conservative state legislators and private sector representatives who draft and share model state-level legislation for distribution among state governments in the United States.

ALEC did do a report on net metering that cites the work of NERA’s attorney on the issue.

Solar United Neighbors is a solar advocacy group that is illuminating this issue regarding FERC and NERA. Are there any other solar groups or organizations that are taking up this issue to oppose it?

Solar United Neighbors and Vote Solar are part of a large coalition opposing the petition.

What actions have the US solar installers taken to date?

Many are urging their customers to take action at SaveSolar.org.

Who are the FERC commissioners? Are they appointed? Are they bipartisan or appointed by the current administration?

They are listed here: https://ferc.gov/ They are appointed by the President, and 3 out of 4 of them have been appointed by the current administration.

My Governor is against solar net metering. Is there someone else to send a letter to?

A main focus of the letters sent through our site is on states’ rights to set these policies. You can also use http://www.savesolar.org/act-now to just sent to FERC.

Is there a way to send comments in directly to FERC, instead of to the governor/state?

All comments submitted through SaveSolar.org will be submitted to FERC

Solar United Neighbors is a community of people building a new energy system with rooftop solar at the cornerstone. We help people go solar, join together, and fight for their energy rights.