In most states, net metering policies allow businesses with solar energy systems to feed their excess electricity back to the utility grid. But these policies are not well-suited for many larger electric customers.
To rectify this problem, several states have now adopted a modification to their current aggregation policies. Here’s how it works.
Basic net metering policies require a photovoltaic array to be attached to the building or electric meter where the business wants to offset energy use costs. Also, each building or property area must be serviced by its own, separate solar array.
This means that businesses with numerous buildings or service areas must install multiple photovoltaic systems if they want to offset electricity use costs at multiple locations.
Aggregated net metering, also known as net energy metering aggregation (NEMA), allows a solar energy system to service multiple electric meters. In other words, a business can offset energy use costs at many buildings or service areas with a single photovoltaic array.
According to the latest 50 States of Solar report from the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center, more than half of the states in the U.S. studied or made changes to their policies in 2015.
Even more are expected to consider reforms — such as net energy metering aggregation — in the upcoming year.
Currently, however, only 17 states have modified their energy policies to allow aggregation. Among the Intermountain West states that have done so are Colorado, Nevada and Utah.
As for Idaho and Wyoming, NEMA is not yet available to any sector of business there.
To qualify for NEMA, businesses must meet certain guidelines.
A single solar energy system can offset electricity use at multiple buildings and service areas, and the photovoltaic array does not need to be installed on the same property as the meters.
However, the sites serviced by the solar array must all be located on adjacent properties that are owned, rented or leased by the same utility customer. Property that is divided by a road is still considered to be adjacent, as long as the business has legal rights on both sides of the road.
Policies that allow aggregation also have limits on the size of eligible solar energy systems.
Most states cap the total generation capacity of a single photovoltaic array at one megawatt. Consequently, larger customers may still need to install more than one solar array, but they won’t need as many as they would have without NEMA.
Are you ready to start reaping the substantial financial benefits that solar energy can offer your business? Contact Intermountain Wind & Solar today for a comprehensive review of your company’s energy needs. We serve commercial customers throughout the Intermountain West region, including Nevada, Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.
We look forward to showing you how much money you can save through aggregated net metering.
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