The fourth annual Freeing the Grid report has come out, outlining the wide range of states’ progress towards modern and understandable net-metering service, a requirement of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Essentially, net metering lets a customer back-feed solar energy to the grid, and lets their account be credited at the full retail rate.

The report, done by the independent organization Network for New Energy Choices, advocates common sense net metering policy. With simple rules and standards, a number of states have demonstrated the readiness with which solar photovoltaic (PV) systems can feed the grid renewable energy. On the other hand, excessive system requirements, redundant applications, and general unfamiliarity with grid-tied technology still pose obstacles in other states.

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Photo of a 3.6 kW ground mounted array in Bath Maine. Derek Wilbraham uses his solar credits to offset the electricity bills at his home and camp!

In Maine, specific recommendations were made to remove system size limits and allow solar PV systems to be sized to meet on-site load. The report also recommends adopting safe harbor language to protect customer from extra and/or unanticipated fees (e.g. CMP’s $50 net metering charge.) The report notes that Maine has adopted a policy of “meter aggregation”- where a customer can spread solar generation credits across several accounts which are metered separately, one of the first states in the country to do so. Maine’s overall grades were B for net-metering, and A for interconnection.

In New Hampshire, similar recommendations are made to lift unnecessary net metering requirements. The report also shows a need for a more concise and rational interconnection standard. New Hampshire’s overall grades were B for net-metering, and D for interconnection.

You can also download the full report, containing a detailed state-by-state summary.