South Carolina regulators save net metering, reject Dominion’s proposal

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South Carolina regulators unanimously approved a bid to keep net metering in place while gradually transitioning to Dominion Energy’s existing time-of-use rate schedule for customers. The recommended action was petitioned for by both local solar advocates and consumer choice advocacy groups.

In accepting the proposal, regulators rejected Dominion’s apprach which would have stuck residential solar customers with a fixed monthly rate and a monthly payment based on the size of their rooftop system. Because of those two components, the average South Carolina solar homeowner would have seen their cost savings shrink by 60%.

Multiple advocacy groups claimed that Dominion’s proposal would have slowed the state’s rooftop solar market to a crawl.

Instead, regulators approved a proposal that includes a less crippling minimum monthly bill of about $13.50 for solar customers (Dominion’s would have averaged around $50). The approved proposal also requires Dominion to take new rooftop customer service under a time-of-use rate schedule and allow customers to carry over monthly excess generation at the full retail rate based on the time-of-use period.

Customers also were granted all rights and title to own and transfer renewable energy credits attributable to their generation.

Residential solar hasn’t taken off as much in South Carolina as much as in other states. While this new system won’t necessarily increase adoption rates, it may prevent stagnation within the rooftop solar industry, as was predicted as one outcome of Dominion’s proposal.

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