Utah Gov. Gary Herbert lauds rooftop solar settlement

Thursday , October 05, 2017 - 1:34 PM

LEIA LARSEN, Standard-Examiner Staff

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert applauded stakeholders Wednesday for coming together and reaching an agreement on the future of small-scale solar in Utah.

The settlement came after those stakeholders spent most of 2017 hammering out on compromise on net metering rates, given the rapid rise of rooftop solar installations in the state. The Utah Public Service Commission approved the settlement last week, which provides stability for current rooftop solar customers and a little more certainty for future customers, at least in the near-term.

“We have a lot of issues in the state of Utah where we hope we could come together and have a frank, open conversation with civility,” Herbert said at yesterday’s gathering, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. “That’s what happened here.”

Herbert was joined by several individuals who helped draft the compromise, including representatives with the Utah Division of Public Utilities, the Utah Office of Consumer Services, Rocky Mountain Power, Vivint Solar, Utah Solar Association, Utah Clean Energy and HEAL Utah. Most — although not all — stakeholders in Utah’s growing rooftop solar industry have voiced support the settlement. 

It means existing rooftop solar customers will have their rates grandfathered until Jan. 1, 2036. But for all new rooftop solar installations, the agreement means the end of net-metering. 

On Nov. 15, customers enter a transition period. For a residential system, instead of receiving market rates for excess energy, Rocky Mountain Power will pay 9.2 cents per kilowatt-hour or or 9.4 cents if the Utah legislature doesn’t extend the $1,600 tax credit to 2020. The transitional rates are grandfathered until Jan. 1, 2033.

During the transition period, expected to last around three years, Rocky Mountain Power and other solar stakeholders and renewable energy advocates will work to develop a long-term structure to reimburse solar customers for the energy they contribute to the grid.

Contact Reporter Leia Larsen at 801-625-4289 or llarsen@standard.net. Follow her on Facebook.com/leiainthefield or on Twitter @LeiaLarsen

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