Solar Tribune

Report card grades the 50 states on ease of going solar


The 2013 Freeing the Grid report card has found California, Massachusetts, Oregon and Utah to be the states where it is easiest for homeowners to go solar.

The report ranks all 50 states on net metering, which allows solar users to sell excess electricity back to the local grid, and interconnection, the ease with which homeowners can go solar and “plug in” to the grid.

Vote Solar and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), who compiled the report, argue that these two factors are critical to “make sure energy customers get fair and consistent treatment from their utilities when they want to generate their own power,” especially now that solar is more affordable than ever.

Credit: Freeing the Grid 2013

Credit: Freeing the Grid 2013

“Effective energy policy and a hefty dose of ingenuity have achieved something remarkable: renewable resources are now at the scale and cost necessary to allow them to be a real and growing part of our energy landscape,” said Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar.

“Families, schools and businesses are going solar in record numbers nationwide, even as incentives decrease. Now that we’ve built this new energy economy, it’s critical that we keep the way clear for Americans to keep going solar with strong net metering and interconnection policies,” he continued.

In terms of net metering, two states improved their grades from last year – Minnesota and the District of Columbia – and no state saw a decline in grade, with over two-thirds of U.S. states having a good ‘A’ or ‘B’ grade in this important category.

“This is an exciting transition as renewables edge closer to mainstream status. However, policy design on the frontiers of our fast-changing clean energy marketplace can be a challenge to get right,” said Jane Weissman, president and CEO of IREC, a point quite relevant to the interconnection grades of states, where only half of the states received A or B grades.

And four states achieved A grades in both categories: California, Massachusetts, Oregon and Utah, signifying that they “lead the nation in allowing customer participation in the renewable energy market.”

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