Net Metering

Program Net Metering
Category Regulatory Policy
Implementing sector State
Last Update
State South Carolina
Website http://www.energy.sc.gov/index.aspx?m=6&t=99
Technologies Solar Thermal Electric, Solar Photovoltaics
Sectors Residential

In April of 2014 the South Carolina legislature unanimously passed S.B. 1189 to create a voluntary Distributed Energy Resource Program. In March 2015 the Public Utilities Commission approved a settlement agreement among  solar stakeholders detailing how the new net metering mandates laid out in S.B. 1189 would be fulfilled.

The settlement agreement approved by the Public Service Commission stipulates that utilities will offer net energy metering at the full retail rate.. Additionally, no new charges or fees distinctly separate from new net metering rates will be imposed upon customer generators until the expiration of the agreement on January 1, 2021.

The settlement agreement also stipulates that utility-specific distributed energy resources net metering incentive (DER NEM incentive) will be applied to customer-generators receiving service under new net metering tariffs prior to January 1, 2021. Customer-generators whose net energy metering facilities were operational prior to the availability of net energy metering rates approved by the commission under the terms of the settlement agreement may remain in historic net energy metering programs through December 31, 2020.

Eligibility and Availability

Resident net metering customers of independently owned utilities (IOUs) can install renewable systems of 20 kW or less and nonresidential customers can install systems with a cap of the lesser of 100% of demand or 1 MW. Renewable systems are defined as solar photo-voltaic, solar thermal, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, tidal, wave, recycling, biomass, and combined heat and power and hydrogen fuel derived from renewable sources. These systems must be owned, leased, or operated by the customer-generator and must meet all interconnection, performance, safety, and reliability standards established by relevant authorities.

Cooperatives are required by S.B. 1189 to examine net metering policies but are not bound by law to implement new programs.

Net Excess Generation

The utility is responsible for maintaining an account of total electricity produced and consumed. When less electricity is produced than consumed in a month, then the customer-generator pays the difference. When more electricity is produced than consumed in a month, excess kilowatt-hour credits roll over to the next month. Utilities must annually pay out for any excess electric production at the avoided cost rate to zero-out electric bills and re-start the monthly carry-over process. Excess generation credits cannot be used to pay for non-volumetric charges.

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