A fight over the future of net energy metering (NEM) in California is expected to be decided in a May 24 California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) decision on the arcane question of how to define the NEM cap. It has become a battleground over NEM for investor-owned utilities (IOUs) and solar advocates.
NEM, the solar industry's key incentive in California, benefits some 99 percent of the state's solar owners. It allows them to roll their meters backward for every kilowatt-hour they send to the grid (up to the point where their bills zero out). The return they get on the electricity they generate is the same retail rate they pay for what they consume.