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Virtual Net Metering to Spur California’s Solar Industry

About virtual net metering:

In California, virtual net metering (VNM) is a concept which enables all tenants of a given apartment complex or commercial building to obtain solar energy from a single solar array that does not have to be physically and directly connected to their meters. The original intent of VNM was to help low income multifamily residents receive direct benefits of a building’s solar system.

VNM now allows low income participants and other multi-unit residents and businesses to install one solar array to cover the electricity load of all tenants at the same service delivery point. According to Clean Technica, the electricity does not flow directly to any tenant meter, but feeds directly back onto the grid. Therefore, allowing the utility to allocate the kilowatt hours from the energy produced by the solar array to both the building owners and tenants’ individual utility accounts.

SB 43 Promotes Virtual Net Metering

California’s Green Tariff Shared Renewables Program, allows any customer of the state’s three largest utilities to purchase up to 100% renewable electricity for their home or businesses. Cumulative investments for this program will be capped at 600 megawatts (MW) be in effect until 2019.

“We think it’s a big deal and a game changer,” said Susannah Churchill, California policy advocate at Vote Solar. “S.B. 43 is going to allow a lot of folks to access renewable energy for the first time.”

SB 43, the shared renewables bill in California will allow 75% of its residents the opportunity to purchase clean energy without having to install clean energy on their property. If signed by Governor Jerry Brown, the Green Tariff Shared Renewables Program will become the largest shared renewables program in the U.S. and could help California create a green economy without the help of further subsidies.

SB 43 and Net Metering’s Impact on the Golden State:

Vote Solar, an advocacy organization has estimated that S.B. 43 will be responsible for the creation of 6,000 new jobs, the participation of 20,000 residential ratepayers and the generation of $2.2 billion within the economy.

Utilizing net-metering with the 3 California designated utility companies will allow residents and businesses that are unable to install a solar array on their roof to save money by purchasing clean energy while reducing their carbon footprint.Net metering PV systems also allow families and businesses to fix a portion of their utility expenses for years at a cost lower than they would have paid otherwise. Virtual net metering will also eliminate the need of the long and expensive process of expanding transmission grid capacity because metered PV solar arrays deliver electricity near the point of consumption.

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