NEM 3.0, the most recent iteration of California’s rooftop photo voltaic internet metering scheme, was handed on Thursday by the California Public Utilities Fee (CPUC). Vocal public debate surrounded the laws earlier than the vote as photo voltaic business employees and consultant our bodies referred to as for revisions to the proposed determination.
The now-ratified internet metering laws purports to incentivise battery storage techniques with the intention to bolster grid safety and handle hundreds in peak summer season months. To that finish, the proposal affords time-flexible export charges that “have important variations between peak and off-peak costs to incent battery storage and cargo shifting from night hours to in a single day or noon hours”, the CPUC mentioned in a launch.
To account for the theoretical uptick in storage techniques, the laws will lower export charges for energy bought again to the grid by round 75%.
This has been the primary point of interest of the criticism of NEM 3.0, with many saying that the laws will make photo voltaic much less inexpensive and trigger a drop-off in installations. Certainly, PV Tech Premium coated reactions forward of the vote, citing a examine displaying that important internet metering adjustments in different US states have had antagonistic results on photo voltaic markets.
“The CPUC vote is a loser for California on many ranges. For the photo voltaic business, it can lead to enterprise closures and the lack of inexperienced jobs,” mentioned Bernadette Del Chiaro, government director on the California Photo voltaic and Storage Affiliation (CALSSA). “For our grid reliability wants, it fails to vow sturdy development in battery storage. And for California’s race to wash power, it places us behind our objectives and out of step with the nationwide pro-solar agenda.”
One other key concern has been the time the CPUC has allowed for the market to transition from predominantly solar-led to photo voltaic and storage. “With excessive prices, provide chain constraints, inflation and allowing and interconnection delays and challenges, it can take years earlier than the storage market can match the photo voltaic market,” CALSSA mentioned in a press launch.
Sean Gallagher, vice chairman of state and regulatory affairs at commerce physique the Photo voltaic Vitality Industries Affiliation (SEIA), echoed these issues, saying: “The photo voltaic and storage business stays involved that the transition from internet metering to the brand new internet billing construction is just too abrupt and threatens to sluggish the deployment of rooftop photo voltaic in California.”
Talking to PV Tech Premium final week, vice chairman of public coverage at photo voltaic installer Sunrun, Walker Wright mentioned: “We need to be putting in photo voltaic plus batteries, however we additionally know that there merely aren’t sufficient batteries on the market to ship what clients need.”
Residential batteries are but to be scaled to the degrees of photo voltaic modules, and interconnection, allowing and ongoing supply chain issues have held the storage market again.
The CPUC mentioned that NEM 3.0 contains provisions for increasing photo voltaic and storage to low-income Californians, with further invoice credit to the tune of US$630 million put aside to help installations in low-income communities.
CPUC commissioner John Reynolds mentioned: “NEM has left an unimaginable legacy and introduced photo voltaic to a whole bunch of 1000’s of Californians, however it is usually profoundly costly for non-solar clients and was overdue for reform.
“The long run wants a photo voltaic programme designed across the worth of photo voltaic to the grid and one which encourages true carbon reductions at peak power occasions, which is after the solar goes down, by creating higher incentives for purchasers to pair photo voltaic with batteries.”
Within the shorter time period, a report from SEIA mentioned that with implementation anticipated in April of subsequent yr, it expects excessive ranges of photo voltaic installations till Q3 2023 as clients who submit an interconnection utility earlier than the deadline will qualify underneath NEM 2.0. The affiliation expects 2024 to be the primary full yr of impacts from the brand new NEM 3.0 coverage, contracting the California market by 39% and inflicting a 3% contraction within the nationwide market.
California’s residential photo voltaic market is considered a litmus check for the nationwide state of affairs within the US, and thus has ramifications globally.
“Persons are dashing to go photo voltaic, as a result of they’re afraid the underside goes to drop out from underneath the market in three months, and that’s not wholesome. That’s not a recipe for steady secure development,” mentioned Bernadette Del Chairo.