Shining Rewards: The Value of Rooftop Solar Power for Consumers and Society
Net metering policies are critical to the expansion of solar power in the United States. Net metering offsets costs for the panel owner and ensures they receive compensation for electricity provided to the grid.
Solar energy creates benefits for the electricity grid. These include providing clean renewable energy without losing power over transmission and reducing the need for capital investment like new power plants or transmission lines. Furthermore, it provides a stable price to consumers unlike more volatile fossil fuel sources. Solar capacity avoids the costly environmental compliance cost of traditional fossil fuel power plants.
Solar provides benefits to the environment and society. Solar does not produce greenhouse gas emissions, it reduces air pollution that damages public health, and provides news jobs at a rate of 20 times the general economy.
Solar homeowners generally provide more benefits to society than they are compensated for through net metering. Environment America cite that all 11 analyses reviewed stated solar brought net benefits to the power grid. Of the 11, eight found the value of solar to be greater than the average residential retail electricity rate.
Environment America calls for further expansion of net metering policies to ensure America’s momentum toward a clean energy future. States should lift arbitrary caps on the availability of net metering in rapidly expanding solar markets. Local and state governments evaluating net metering should take all benefits, including environmental and societal, into account. State and local governments should reject alternatives to net metering that do not provide fair market compensation.