Solar Tribune

Solar firms launch new lobby group to protect net metering


A group of solar companies have formed a new lobby group, The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), to ensure that net energy metering programs across the country  continue.

The founding members of TASC are SolarCity, Sungevity, Sunrun and Verengo. The Alliance aims to protect consumers choice to switch from utility power to distributed solar.

“Americans are choosing solar in record numbers to save money on electric bills,” said TASC member and Sunrun co-Founder Edward Fenster. “While this benefits the American consumer and the economy, monopoly utilities want to stop this progress to protect their own interests.”

A SolarCity installation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, AZ. Photo: SolarCity

A SolarCity installation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, AZ. Photo: SolarCity

The first initiative from TASC is to protect net energy metering (NEM) programs, currently offered in 43 states. Net energy metering means that consumers are credited for any energy generated by their home solar installations that goes back to the grid.

The homeowners has a credit on their energy bill, and the utility has additional electricity it sells to other consumers. But according to TASC, “[m]onopoly utilities are trying to eliminate NEM to halt the consumer-driven popularity of rooftop solar.”

credited_TASC_save net meteringThe group argues, with support of studies across multiple states, that net metering benefits not only solar homeowners but also provides a benefit to all ratepayers.

On the other hand, TASC says that utilities see solar as a threat to their business model, because distributed solar lowers demand for electricity from conventional power sources.

“Without consumer choice and empowerment, the utilities will continue to increase their rates and profits,” said TASC member and SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive.

“If Americans are denied the right to choose how they produce and consume electricity, monopoly utilities will continue to choose their profits over the interests of consumers.”

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