American families, schools, businesses and others have the right to generate their own power from the sun. In order to protect that right, we work to protect consumers from unfair fees and rate structures. More and more, utilities around the country are imposing increased fixed fees and demand charges on solar customers. We also work to ensure that consumers receive full credit for their valuable solar power investment through compensation mechanisms like net metering.

Keep calm and net meter on

Net Metering

Solar customers don’t always consume all the power they generate, so net metering (NEM) gives those customers full credit on their utility bills for the excess clean power they contribute to the grid. That excess generation is sent to neighbors and replaces the fossil fuel generation that the utility would otherwise produce. It’s a win-win for solar customers, their neighbors, and the environment.

This simple crediting arrangement is one of the most important state policies for enabling Americans to generate their own power from the sun. See IREC's Net Metering Model Rules for best practices in state policy design (PDF). And learn more about our active campaigns to advance or defend net metering policy around the country at www.oursolarrights.org.

Why do we need to defend this simple and fair billing mechanism? Utilities around the country are fighting rooftop solar tooth-and-nail because Americans who generate their own power disrupt utilities old way of doing business. Undermining the economics of rooftop solar - by taking away or reducing fair compensation – is one way utilities are fighting back. 

Rate Design

The way that utility rates are structured has a tremendous impact on the pay-back of a customer' solar energy system. While rate design is complex, as a general rule, Time-of-Use rates and other structures that closely match customer charges with the true cost to the utility of delivering any given kwh help improve the economics of solar. High fixed charges that remain steady regardless of how much electricity the customer consumes discourage investment in solar and other energy saving measures. Rate design is closely related to net metering. Read our 6 guiding policies of good rate design here.

Our guides

Freeing the grid map of state net metering progress

Freeing the Grid

Best practices in state net metering policies and interconnection procedures.

Coalition for Solar

Coalition for Solar Rights

Rights Rooftop solar is an innovative way for families, schools and businesses to take charge of their power generation and utility bills like never before.

In the news 

The Hill Punishing solar customers for disrupting outdated electric model is wrong by Zadie Oleksiw

Bridge: Michigan residents, businesses must fight for solar energy rights by Becky Stanfield and John Freeman 

Commonwealth Magazine: Clouds Over Massachusetts Solar Industry by Sean Garren 

Fortnightly: The Impact of Shorter Netting by Maddy Yozwiak

Fortnightly: Finding Common Ground on TOU Rates by Rick GilliamJohn Howat and John Colgan

Renewable Energy World: CPUC Proposes a Worrying About-Face on TOU Rates by Susannah Churchill

Medium: The Sun Always Rises: The Final Chapter in Nevada's Solar Saga by Adam Browning

Boston Business Journal: Solar is Powering Climate Progress and Jobs in Boston by Sean Garren

Fortnightly: Arizona's Value of Solar Was a Turning Point for DER by Briana Kobor

ELP: The NARUC lesson: Value of distributed energy affirmed when regulators rely on facts by Rick Gilliam  

GTM: What Does Solar Need to Thrive in New York? by Sean Garren 

GTM: The Five Paths to Resolving the Solar Debacle in Nevada by Adam Browning

Solar Industry Magazine: Rate Reform Poses Both Challenges and Opportunities by Ed Smeloff 

More About Net Metering & Rates