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Louisiana Public Service Commission Eliminates Cap on Solar Net - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Louisiana Public Service Commission Eliminates Cap on Solar Net Metering

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PHOTO COURTESY: MGN ONLINE PHOTO COURTESY: MGN ONLINE

Baton Rouge - Ending prolonged debate and uncertainty, the Louisiana Public Service Commission last Thursday rejected utility restrictions on solar power and sided with customers who want to install solar panels on their property and receive credit for the power they generate to the grid.

"The patchwork of utility caps and restrictions over the past two years were a real impediment for customers who want to go solar," said Jeff Cantin, president of the solar trade group Gulf States Renewable Energy Industries Association. "With Net Metering reinstated across the state, Louisiana residents and businesses can once again invest in rooftop solar panels and enjoy the full benefit of the clean renewable energy they produce."   

Over the past two years, many of the state's investor-owned and co-operative utility companies used loopholes in previous net metering rules to cap participation and impose a patchwork of fees, charges, and restrictions on customers who installed solar panels.  The new rules create consistency across the state, whereby any residential or business customer will be credited for every kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity they put onto the grid for an equal amount of energy in return during the monthly billing period.  Any credits in excess of their use during the month will roll over to the following month, but now at a lower "avoided cost" wholesale rate.  Customers who installed solar panels but where caught in limbo after their utility imposed a solar cap will also now receive credit for the power they generate in accordance with the new rules. 

Commissioner Lambert Boissiere and the late Commissioner Clyde Holloway brokered the compromise rules to end the previous policy impasse and reinstate solar net metering. Commissioners Foster Campbell, Lambert Boissiere, Scott Angelle and Clyde Holloway's interim replacement, former LA House Speaker Charlie DeWitt Jr, supported the new rules.  Commissioner Eric Skrmetta cast his vote in favor as a procedural matter, but stated his opposition to the rules.

Net Metering is a widely adopted policy that encourages the use of renewable energy and local job creation.  Last week's decision is an important step forward for solar in Louisiana, but unlikely to be the last time the issue is debated at the Commission.  Solar owners, business, and GSREIA will continue to monitor and work with the Commission to maintain policy consistency and the rights of customers to generate their own solar energy.

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