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NC Clean Energy Technology Center’s 50 States of Solar Report Shows Solar Policy Action Across the Country

Wednesday, Feb 01 2017

Morgan Lyons

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) released the Q4 and annual review editions of its 50 States of Solar report on Tuesday, which showed that 47 states plus Washington D.C. made changes to solar policy in 2016. Last year was a year of record growth for the solar industry, which is particularly impressive given the policy uncertainty in many states around the country. 

This report provides lawmakers, regulators, utilities and solar industry stakeholders with updates on how states are making changes to distributed solar policies. This annual review reported 212 solar policy actions taken by states and utilities across the country in 2016, which is 37 more than 2015. SEIA was heavily involved in many of these policy discussions, advocating and fighting for strong solar policy in a number of key states.

There were utility requests in 35 states to increase monthly fixed charges on all residential customers, and 28 states considered or enacted changes to net metering policies.

Arizona and Nevada were the most active states in 2016 for solar policy development, where changes to net metering, residential demand and fixed charges were debated throughout the year. In case you missed it, SEIA’s vice president of state affairs, Sean Gallagher, recently weighed in on the solar coaster ride in the Southwest with this blog back in December.

The annual review’s Top 10 most active states also includes states like Florida where SEIA successfully campaigned against Amendment 1, a deceptively worded ballot initiative, and Colorado, where Xcel Energy’s proposed Grid Use Charge was dropped in a settlement favoring time-of-use rates.

“2016 was a very busy year for policymakers and those of us tasked with staying on top of their activity,” noted Brian Lips, Energy Policy Project Coordinator at NCCETC. “With several state solar markets hanging in the balance, 2017 is looking like it will be another exciting year.”

More than 40 states took actions on solar policy in Q4 2016 alone, totaling 131 policy developments and making it the busiest quarter of the year. NCCETC expects this high rate of policy action to continue in 2017 as states and utilities wrestle to bring balance to energy policy, and you can be sure that SEIA will be out there on the front lines fighting for solar.