New State Legislatures report explores how states are responding to rise in localized energy production

Published on August 10, 2017 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

Although solar energy accounts for approximately 1 percent of total generation in the United States, growth in the solar market outpaced natural gas and wind energy market growth in 2016, according to a report released by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) on Monday.

The report, “Here Comes the Sun: A State Policy Handbook for Distributed Solar Energy,” explores how state policies, incentives, and regulations have changed in response to the unique challenges of solar energy like on-site energy generation and emerging technology.

“Generating power on-site and close to where it is consumed has evolved over the past 20 years, requiring states to explore new regulatory and policy approaches,” the report’s executive summary states. “Most states’ electricity regulatory frameworks were designed with large centrally owned and operated power stations in mind. Adapting the grid and its supporting policies to accommodate consumers’ decisions to generate and use their own power, while sending some power onto the distribution grid, may require significant changes in regulatory and operational approaches.”

Most utilities across the country are overcoming the technical challenges of integrating consumer-produced power, the report continues, but different policy and operational approaches taken by states have impacted cost and reliability as distributed power has continued to gain market share.

The report investigates and compares and contrasts the different approaches that states have taken to rate design, incentives, integration, financing, workforce development and regulation of localized energy production.