Third-party solar moves forward with changes to Rhode Island’s net metering rules

While much of the mainstream media’s reports about distributed solar policies have focused on utility attacks and setback in markets like Nevada, across the nation net metering and other distributed solar policies are just as often moving forward.

As an overlooked example of this, National Grid recently filed a proposal with state regulators in Rhode Island to amend the rules of net metering, including explicitly allowing 3rd-party ownership and financing of PV systems. Other changes made in the filing include raising a system size cap from 5 MW to 10 MW.

These changes were required under a H.8354, a bill which moved swiftly through Rhode Island’s legislature in June, and was signed by Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo in late June.

EQ Research Policy Research Manager Rusty Haynes has noted that while 3rd party solar was not explicitly barred under previous rules, that the legality of such arrangements was “unclear”. “You have the legislature making it abundantly clear,” Haynes told pv magazine.

The law also authorized community renewables and virtual net metering, meaning that users can apply net metering to remote solar arrays.

Even before these changes, Rhode Island’s net metering policy earned an “A” grade from the Freeing the Grid project, which placed it among the top states for policy in the nation.