With utilities pushing back against successful net metering programs nationwide, we find ourselves making the case again and again that – contrary to the dominant utility line – rooftop solar delivers real grid benefits to solar customers and non-solar customers alike. Private investment in reliable, local generation reduces the need for expensive and polluting conventional power. It reduces the need for investments in transmission infrastructure. It reduces electricity lost during transportation over power lines, as surplus net metered solar energy flows to the grid and is consumed locally. It saves on the cost of meeting carbon reduction and renewable energy goals. Net metering, which credits families, schools and businesses that go solar, is a simple and fair way to account for those many benefits.
Today we have yet another quantified account of those benefits from the State of Mississippi, one of the few states in the country that doesn’t currently have a net metering program. A report on expected net metering costs and benefits prepared by Synapse for the Mississippi Public Service Commission found that from a Total Resource Cost perspective . . .
solar net metered projects have the potential to provide a net benefit to Mississippi in nearly every scenario and sensitivity analyzed
You can read the study for yourself here. Beyond the cost savings, the study also notes that rooftop solar would displace generation from the state’s peaking resources – namely polluting oil and natural gas combustion turbines. This pollution reduction is especially important for Mississippi’s low-income families and communities of color, who disproportionately bear the public health burden of our fossil energy dependence. The NAACP has an excellent report, called Just Energy, that emphasizes this civil rights shortfalling of our current energy landscape and calls for a more equitable approach through net metering and other clean energy policies. The report ranked Mississippi among the worst states for fair clean energy policies.
This all serves as a good reminder of why net metering programs exist in the first place – to empower consumers to generate their own clean power and to advance the healthier, more resilient energy landscape that the vast majority of Americans want to see. For all these reasons, we urge lawmakers and regulators to stand strong for our successful net metering programs and fair rate design for rooftop solar.