Rooftop solar is growing; utilities are pushing back

June 25, 2019

As solar energy becomes more popular, utility companies are seeking reductions to net metering, a system that allows consumers who generate their own electricity to get credit on their electric bill for the energy they produce, according to InsideClimate News.

This means it will take far longer for rooftop solar to pay for itself, making it less attractive to consumers.

More than 1.8 million U.S. households have their own solar power systems, encouraged by state-run incentive programs, falling costs and new businesses selling and installing solar. This is up from less than 138,000 households in 2010 but, as the industry grows, utilities and regulators are pushing back.

Solar growth comes as a part of a push for greener energy production in the U.S. On average, a rooftop system on a house will pay for itself through utility bill savings in fewer than eight years, according to a recent EnergySage report. Reductions to net metering would remove these incentives.

New regulations on net metering came to Indiana in 2017, capping the amount of credit new net metered systems are eligible to receive at full retail rate. This means that systems installed any time after January 1, 2018 will take longer to pay themselves off in savings on energy costs.

Rooftop solar is growing; utilities are pushing back