New York’s energy regulators are considering a policy that would change the way distributed solar and wind energy projects are compensated for the energy they produce. This is the first step in a process to move away from “net metering” in New York.* For years, New York’s net metering policy has made it possible for households, businesses, schools, and municipalities to make the switch to solar and wind.
Now, as part of the major energy policy overhaul called “Reforming the Energy Vision,” New York’s Public Service Commission is considering a proposal that would temporarily protect net metering for those who can deploy renewable energy on their residential property. But the policy would quickly transition away from net metering compensation for shared renewable energy projects and for some other larger-scale and commercial projects.
We do not, in principle, oppose the replacement of net metering credits with something that more accurately compensates renewable energy producers for the value of their electricity. However, the proposed policy change has some major flaws that must be fixed before it can move forward. If you’re interested in the nitty gritty detail, we have created this policy guide to explain the proposed policy and our recommendations.
In its current form, the proposal would slow down the development of community solar and other shared renewable energy. These projects are the only access to renewable energy that most households will have. Renters and homeowners who do not have a site suitable for solar or wind will be locked out of participation in the renewable energy transition, unless we see widespread development of community solar and wind. We need policy that will accelerate the development of these projects, not make them harder to get up and running.
Last week, the NY Energy Democracy Alliance submitted a comment signed by 98 organizations, elected officials, and small businesses. The comment calls on the PSC to slow down the transition away from net metering until it has fixed the flaws in its transition proposal. Most specifically, we called on the PSC to ensure that the policy values environmental projection, equitable access to renewables, local jobs and economic development, and environmental justice.