Dear readers - thank you for visiting our blog! This article will go over the upcoming changes to the rate at which homeowners are credited for their solar production. This blog is a little longer than usual, but this can be complicated stuff and there is lots of explaining to do!
Reading hint: There are definitions at the very bottom of this article for the following terms; kWh, Siting Adjustor, REC Adjustor, Blended Residential Rate, Certificate of Public Good (CPG).
On November 20th, 2020 the Public Utility Commission (PUC) announced timelines associated with changes to the blended residential rate, REC adjustor and siting adjustor.
In the table below, the column labeled "Prior to 1/31/21" is where the rates were when the commission announced the rate reduction last November. The column labeled "2/1/21 - 8/31/21" is where the rates are currently (April 2021). The column labeled "9/1 and beyond" are the rates to take effect on 9/1/21 until the next biennial evaluation by the commission.
This table only covers Category I & II systems because this is the most applicable to the typical residential array.
The good news: The blended rate has increased! The commission will evaluate this rate every 2 years to be sure that it's in line with the cost of electricity. Good job, PUC!
The less good news: That red highlighted siting adjustor goes into the negative for a Certificate of Public Good (CPG) that is filed on or after 9/1/21.
But, it's OK! The cost of installing solar continues to drop since its popularity has increased. Going solar at any capacity is still an enormous money saver because solar owners are less effected by utility rate changes. So what is the 10 year savings associated with having a CPG filed by August 31, 2021?
For a solar array that produces 7,000 kWh a year that would be....
7,000kWh x $0.01 = $70/year
Ten years of $70/year savings....
This is important to some people, others may not give a care, either way...Vermonters who are considering solar deserve to know as soon as possible! Why as soon as possible? Because in the state of Vermont an installer cannot legally file a CPG on behalf of a customer without a 'Binding Contract for the Installation'. The date a CPG is filed is the date those siting and REC adjustor rates are locked in. See text in red below.
Why is this important? Call me a slow poke, but I don't like to sign binding contracts in a rush. Its important to know this change is coming up so you can take your time...get quotes, shop for your solar investment wisely and without the pressure of a deadline. Get a site visit, ask questions, get the attention you deserve, feel a company out, then sign a contract.
Got questions? Give us a ring - (802) 882-7067
1) kWh: Kilowatt Hour - This is the unit of measurement for calculating electricity use and solar production.
2) Siting Adjustor Rate: This is a state mandated rate of reimbursement per kWh of solar production. The rate differs depending on the size of the system and if it's being installed in an ideal area, like a roof or a small residential ground mount. Most residential roof/ground systems are Category I Net Metered System and are eligible for the highest incentive rate. The original intent was to offer a higher adjustor rate for projects in preferred locations. Hence the name "siting" - an incentive associated with the array site.
3) REC Adjustor Rate: A Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) is one way that utilities can build their renewable energy portfolio. A homeowner can opt to transfer their REC's to their utility to receive reimbursement.
4) Blended Residential Rate: This is the rate that the utility reimburses for solar production that a customer produces but does not use in a given month. A utility does not have to reimburse at this rate. They have the option to reimburse at either their retail rate or if they have tiered rates, the average rate they sell electricity at based on revenue and kWh sold in a given year.
5) Certificate of Public Good: Also known as a CPG. This is a permit filed with the Public Utility Commission (PUC). Filing of this form is how your utility and other agencies know you are going solar. The date that it's filed, your adjustor rates are locked in for 10 years. EXAMPLE: CPG is filed 8/31/21....System is installed 2/2/22...Solar production is reimbursed at that rate that was in effect on 8/31/21.
50 pages that explain the commissions considerations and reasoning behind the decision to lower adjustor rates - includes utility and solar company comments