Good news coming from the DC Public Service Commission (PSC). A new regulation raises the maximum size of Net Energy Metered (NEM) solar PV systems. For a refresher as to what exactly a NEM system is, take a look at this article we posted a few months ago.
Prior to this change in regulation, a roof owner could only build a solar PV system that would produce no more electricity than 100% of the estimated usage of the electric meter that it connects to. The rationale for this limitation is to control distribution costs for the utility. If there is more energy going through the power lines, Pepco will eventually have to pay to upgrade the capacity of those lines.
But why would a property owner want to produce more electricity than they use? For one, they can sell it back to PJM*. This is sold at the wholesale rate, which is around 3¢/kWh or ~25% of the Pepco retail rate. The big incentive is for the Solar Renewable Energy Credits, or SRECs, which is a state specific incentive. These credits are currently worth around 43¢/kWh in DC; more than 3.5 times the 12¢/kWh kilowatt hour Pepco.
With this new reg, the DC PSC now allows you to build NEM systems up to 120% of the meter’s estimated usage. This level will increase each year by 20 percentage points capping at 200% in 2024 and thus aligning with Maryland’s current limit. This could make a big difference in the economic return. On a 100 kW system, we estimate that increasing the size by 20% means an additional $157,000 over 20 years. Increasing by 100% adds up to a cool $785,000 in the same period. Serious money!
What’s perhaps most remarkable about this change in regulation is that it was spearheaded by a local citizen and activist, David Roodman. David has volunteered a great deal of his time to work with the PSC and an industry working to manifest this deregulation. We thank Mr. Roodman for his efforts and making a major contribution for the District of Columbia’s goal of having 100% of our electricity generated by renewable sources!
Are you interested in seeing whether your current PV system can be upgraded to take advantage of this new regulation? If so, shoot us a note in the form below and we’ll research it for you.
*the Regional Transmission Organization that manages power supply in many Northeast US utilities including Pepco