Monday, August 18, 2008

Summary of New State Net-Metering Law

The Department of Energy publicized NY's new net-metering laws, which may be relevant for the town hall and other town buildings. Below are the most relevant portions. The rest is available here.

New York Governor David Paterson signed a legislative package on August 5 that will encourage people throughout the state to install grid-connected solar and wind power systems, systems that generate power from farm wastes, and green roofs. Most of the bills relate to net metering, which allows homeowners and businesses to earn credit for any excess power that they feed back into the electric grid. Senate Bill 7171 expands net metering to include non-residential solar power systems up to 2 megawatts in capacity, or equal in size to the customer's peak load, whichever is less, and increases the maximum solar power system size for residential customers to 25 kilowatts, up from 10 kilowatts. The bill also attempted to increase the limit for farm-based anaerobic digesters to 1 megawatt, but a separate bill, S. 8415, knocked the limit down to 500 kilowatts, which is still an improvement over the previous limit of 400 kilowatts. S. 7171 also requires each utility to develop a model contract and reasonable rates, terms, and conditions for net metering of non-residential customers, and to develop safety standards for interconnecting these customers. It also includes a requirement for an external disconnect switch, which is rarely needed for modern grid connection equipment.

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