Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released a new study on the bill savings received by residential customers with solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems, under the net metering rates currently offered by California’s two largest electric utilities. The report focuses on California, as it is the largest PV market in the United States.
The study shows that the bill savings per kilowatt-hour (kWh) generated by a PV system varies by a factor of 4 to 5 for residential customers of Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) within the study sample, and by a factor 2 to 3 for Southern California Edison (SCE) residential customers in the sample.
Net metering is a billing arrangement that allows customers with PV systems installed on-site to offset their monthly consumption with PV generation, whether or not the demand for power coincides when their systems are generating power. In conjunction with other policy support mechanisms, net metering has been instrumental in jump-starting the market for distributed PV in California and elsewhere in the U.S. However, alternative compensation methods are under consideration in some jurisdictions.