From: The Honorable Brian Higgins
Sent By: david.l.grossman@mail.house.gov
Bill: H.R. 3852
Date: 4/4/2016

Support Bipartisan Legislation to Promote Residential Solar Energy

Current Cosponsors: Richard Hanna*, Paul Tonko, Alcee Hastings, Mark Takai, Donald Payne Jr., Matt Cartwright, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Chellie Pingree, Kathy Castor, Gerry Connolly, Ann Kuster, Dina Titus, Louise Slaughter, Raul Grijalva, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Dear Colleague,

The increasing affordability of solar power, the cost of which has dropped by half since 2010, paired with critical pro-growth state level policies, has resulted in the rapid emergence of residential scale rooftop solar systems. In fact, through the end of 2014, more than 600,000 homes and businesses had installed on-site solar.

The viability of solar has empowered electricity consumers to choose clean and affordable on-site energy generation, reducing the portion of electricity they purchase from their utility. Through a billing mechanism known as net metering, customers are credited at retail rates for excess electricity they generate and return to the grid, where it can then be sold by the utility to nearby customers.

Net metering, which is currently in place in all but six states, has been vital to the growth of the rooftop solar industry by providing consumers with simplicity and certainty regarding the impact distributed generation will have on their energy bills.

Yet net metering has been under attack in the form of regulatory and legislative efforts at the state level, both through unfavorable analyses regarding the value of solar, as well as proposed rate design changes that would unfairly penalize solar customers. A heavy emphasis has focused on the assertion that net metering shifts costs to non-solar ratepayers, a notion that has been disproven. In fact, a recent study by Crossborder Energy determined that net metering yields more than $92 million in annual benefits to non-solar customers in California.

Many studies being performed at the state level have neglected the plethora of non-monetary benefits that solar provides.  This legislation would ensure that the societal benefits are taken into account by requiring the Department of Energy to conduct a study on all of the benefits conferred by net metering, including:

  • Reduction in demand on the grid during peak hours
  • Increased grid security through localized grid support
  • Creation of production, construction and installation sector jobs related to solar
  • Reduction in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Assistance to states in meeting renewable portfolio standards
  • Reduction in electricity costs for consumers through reduced demand for centrally-supplied electricity
  • Stable assumptions of net metering encourage financial institutions to increase the availability of private capital to individuals generating electricity through on-site solar

Through a true accounting of the positive impacts of net metering, we can ensure that regulators and policymakers at the state level make sound decisions that continue to promote rooftop solar and expand consumer choice.

If you have any questions or wish to add your boss as a co-sponsor, please contact David Grossman with Rep. Higgins’ office at David.L.Grossman@mail.house.gov  (53306) or Andrew Brady with Rep. Hanna’s office at Andrew.Brady@mail.house.gov (53665).

Sincerely,

Brian Higgins                                Richard Hanna

Member of Congress                     Member of Congress