Providing tax credits or rebates for solar systems is only one element of good policy. In order to establish an effective solar program, rules need to be established that give consumers easy access to the grid.
In the U.S., those rules mostly come in the form of Net Metering and Interconnection standards. Net Metering allows an owner of a residential or small-commercial system to receive credit from a utility for any excess generation fed into the grid. Interconnection standards establish the rules that consumers must follow in order to place a system in service. If the rules are not clear or are too burdensome, adoption of solar is slowed.
So how does your state stack up? The latest “Freeing the Grid” report from the Network for New Energy Choices grades state-level solar programs on consumer access. Here are the rankings:
This is the fifth year the rankings have been established. The state-level landscape has changed a lot since NNEC started grading net metering and interconnection policies. In 2011, 17 states got “A’s” for their net metering policies — up from five in 2007. And this year, 23 states got “A’s” or “B’” for interconnection rules — up from only one “B” in 2007.
Let’s hope we can get all 50 states to make the rankings in 2012. That would be a huge step for the U.S. solar industry.