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What’s rooftop solar power worth? Not much, utility says

First Published Aug 04 2014 01:01AM      Last Updated Aug 04 2014 02:03 pm

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Jared Campbell points out the unique design elements of his home to take full advantage of the position of the sun year-round. In summer the sun does not shine directly into the home to keep it cool but in winter the low angle of the sun heats up the steel wall to the right that collects the sun's heat through a thermal battery. The solar array of his home produces far more power than Rocky Mountain Power credits him for. This is the case with virtually all net-metered customers and yet the utility says these early solar adopters are taking a free ride on the grid.





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How the $4.65 charge for solar customers was calculated

Rocky Mountain Power determined the average monthly usage for residential customers is 698 kilowatt hours, which results in a $16.72 contribution toward RMP’s fixed costs. Net-metered customers’ average use is 518 kWh, so their contribution is $12.46.

The difference is $4.26, the amount the utility first proposed as a “facilities charge” on net-metered customers. It has since increased that to $4.65 after it agreed to raise the monthly service charge from $5 to $6 instead of to $8.

Net metering, by the numbers

2,412 » Net-metered Utah customers (as of March 31)

686 » New facilities installed in 2013

17.8 megawatts » Generation capacity

975,019 kilowatt hours » Excess generation

264,176 kilowatt hours » Lost by net-metered customers when credits expired

Source Utah Public Service Commission