|Program Type||Net Metering|
|Technologies||Photovoltaics, Solar Thermal Electric, Wind, Small Hydroelectric, and other renewables|
|Amount||Excess energy credited to customer’s next bill at retail rate|
|Required Documentation||Interconnection agreement with utility|
|Official Web Site||N/A|
Under the law, enacted in 1998, grid-tied, net-metered systems are credited at retail electric rates for any net excess generation on their next bill. The net excess generation is credited forward for a year period ending annually on April 30. At that point, any overall net excess generation provided by the system reverts back to the utility with no payment to the customer.
Utilities must offer net metering until the capacity of net-metered systems reaches 0.25 percent of their peak demand. In January 2014, the amount of net-metered power they must allow will increase to 0.5 percent of their peak demand in 1996. Of the net-metered capacity requirements, at least half is reserved for purely renewable energy systems.
The law requires utilities to provide customers with a bi-directional meter allowing for the flow of electricity from the system to be measured as well as the amount of electricity provided to the building by the utility. The customer is responsible for providing additional equipment like a current transformer enclosure, meter sockets and junction box.
Net-metered customers also are eligible to enroll in Washington’s Renewable Energy Production Incentives program. In that program, customers are paid for the electricity their system produces. But utilities may require system owners to have separate production meters for that program, and customers are required to pay for such meters and related costs. Customers also retain any renewable energy credits their system generates.
Under the law, systems must be UL certified and utilities are not allowed to require customers to purchase liability insurance or comply with other safety or performance standards. To charge customers interconnection or other fees associated with net metering, like standby or capacity fees, utilities must seek approval from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.