Reed Saxon, Associated Press
Workers installing solar panels on a home.
Utah rooftop solar and Rocky Mountain Power have reached a sensible compromise.
That the deal doesn’t allow Rocky Mountain Power or the state’s burgeoning rooftop solar industry to declare victory is evidence that the compromise is genuine.
This is welcome news.
The details of the proposed agreement, released yesterday, allow current net-metering rooftop solar customers to continue receiving reimbursements for the kilowatts that they kick back to Rocky Mountain Power’s grid until the year 2035.
This November, however, new customers will receive three years worth of such credits at a slightly reduced rate (down from an average 10 cents per kilowatt-hour to 9.2). After three years, a new rate structure set by Utah’s Public Service Commission will go into effect. While the new rate structure is still being worked out, the governor’s office said in its prepared statement on Monday that it would be ready by 2020.
Since late last year, we have called for a compromise between the Utah rooftop solar industry and Rocky Mountain Power, and, after multiple editorial board meetings and various opinions expressed on the paper’s editorial pages, it’s gratifying to finally see a compromise come to pass. It took Utah’s governor, however, to catalyze the initial negotiations that led to the deal announced this week.
As a rule, government intervention in the details of the marketplace often has undesirable effects; but, in this case, where a public utility proposed changes in rate structures that threatened to significantly hamper the state’s growing rooftop solar industry, it was appropriate for the state’s governor to intervene to bring about an accord.
As we pointed out during the ongoing deliberations, both parties made sensible arguments. Rooftop solar could say that their customers were “early adopter” pioneers, helping to propel forward a technology that could someday lead to cleaner, inexpensive energy for all Utahns. Rocky Mountain Power, on the other hand, could retort that…