|Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
||Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, CHP/Cogeneration, Anaerobic Digestion, Small Hydroelectric, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels
||Commercial, Residential, Nonprofit, Schools, Local Government, State Government, Fed. Government, Agricultural, Institutional
|Applicable Utilities:||All utilities|
|System Capacity Limit:||2.2 MW for military systems; 20 kW for micro-CHP; 500 kW for all other systems|
|Aggregate Capacity Limit:||4% of utility's 1996 peak demand or peak demand during most recent calendar year (whichever is greater). |
|Net Excess Generation:||Credited to customer's next bill at retail rate; excess credits not used within 12 months of generation granted to utility|
|REC Ownership:||Not addressed|
|Meter Aggregation:||Group net metering allowed|
30 V.S.A. § 219a to § 219b|
1998 (subsequently amended)
2001 (subsequently amended)
H.B. 475 (Act 125)|
Order Implementing Registration Process For a Net Metering CPG (10 kW or less)|
NOTE: Legislation enacted in May 2012 (HB475) further amends Vermont's net metering policy.
Vermont's original net-metering legislation was enacted in 1998, and the law has been expanded several times subsequently. Any electric customer in Vermont may net meter after obtaining a Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB). Solar net metered systems 10 kilowatts (kW) or less follow an expedited process for the Certificate of Public Good, if the customer successfully completes registration (that is, informing the PSB about the project) and complies with his/her electric utility interconnection requirements. In this case, after 10 days from receiving the certificate of compliance with the interconnection requirements, a Certificate of Public Good is automatically "deemed issued," and the customers may proceed with installation. An application for a Certificate of Public Good for Interconnected Net Metered Power Systems for all other systems is available on the program web site listed above.
Net metering is generally available to systems up to 500 kW in capacity that generate electricity using eligible renewable-energy resources, and to micro-combined heat and power (CHP) systems up to 20 kW. Renewable energy facilities established on military property for on-site military consumption may net meter for facilities up to 2.2 megawatts (MW, AC).
“Renewable energy” is defined as “energy produced using a technology that relies on a resource that is being consumed at a harvest rate at or below its natural regeneration rate.” Biogas from sewage-treatment plants and landfills, and anaerobic digestion of agricultural products, byproducts and wastes are explicitly included. (The term "renewable energy" explicitly excludes solid waste that is not agricultural or silvicultural, as well as nuclear fuel, coal, oil, propane and natural gas.)
Net metering is available on a first-come, first-served basis until the cumulative capacity of net-metered systems equals 4% of a utility’s peak demand during 1996 or the peak demand during the most recent full calendar year, whichever is greater. Renewable energy facilities on military installations do not affect the cap. Any customer net excess generation (NEG) is carried over to the customer’s next bill. Any NEG shall be used within 12-months of the month earned, if not, it is granted to the utility with no compensation for the customer. Any NEG reverting to the utility shall be considered as qualifying Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED) resources. Net metering is also available under a time-of-use metering arrangement.
Vermont also allows “group net metering.” In order to set up such a net metering system, the group must file with the PSB and other relevant parties, the following information:
- The customers and meters that are to be included as part of the group;
- The method for adding/removing meters and information regarding credit allocation to each customer-meter;
- The contact person responsible for communications, but not those related to billing, payment or disconnect; and
- A dispute resolution process.
The utility is required to bill all customer's of the group individually.
Utilities may require a customer to comply with generation interconnection, safety and reliability requirements, as determined by the PSB, and may charge reasonable fees for interconnection, establishment, special metering, meter reading, accounting, account correcting, and account maintenance of net-metered systems greater than 15 kW in capacity. (Interconnection requirements for systems 150 kW or less are accessible at the program web site listed above. Interconnection requirements for systems greater than 150 kW must follow the interconnection procedures specified in PSB Rule 5.500).
HB 56, passed in May 2011, includes several new provisions unique to Vermont. First, it stipulates that utilities may offer additional credits or incentives to net metering customers, above and beyond the benefits provided by net metering itself. And, second, it stipulates that utilities will offer additional credits of $0.20 per kilowatt hour (kWh) minus the highest residential rate for solar net metering customers. For example, if the highest residential rate charged by Generic Vermont Utility is $0.15 per kWh, then the additional credit offered will be $0.05 per kWh. If the highest residential rate charged by Generic Vermont Utility is $0.22 per kWh, then no credit will be offered. This calculated credit amount will not fluctuate, regardless of any subsequent changes in the highest residential rate charged, for at least two years. The solar net metered customer will receive the credit stipulated in the rate schedule for a period of at least ten years. All solar net metered customers are eligible, regardless of rate class. This additional credit provision for solar net metered systems is retroactive to May 1, 2010. HB 475 passed in May 2012 made changes to calculating these credits.
It should be noted that Green Mountain Power, an investor-owned electric utility operating in Vermont, already offers a bonus payment to customers with net-metered photovoltaic (PV) systems. In addition to the benefits of net metering, Green Mountain Power customers with a PV system receive a payment of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity generated by the system. This payment is available to all customers of Green Mountain Power, which serves roughly one-quarter of Vermont's population. This program, known as Solar GMP, took effect in July 2008.
Legislation passed in May 2012 calls for a study of the costs and benefits of net metering, to be completed by January 2013. In October, the Vermont Department of Public Service issued a request for information relating to this study.