by Tom Tanton
American Legislative Exchange Council
March 24, 2014
Across the country, more and more customers are using rooftop solar panels and other small-scale, on-site power sources known as distributed generation (DG). To encourage the introduction of these systems when they first came to market years ago, many states approved a billing system called net metering. Today, 43 states plus the District of Columbia have net metering policies and regulations. While these policies vary in details, DG customers are typically credited at the full retail electric rate for any excess electricity they generate. There are, however, a number of negative implications associated with such policies. For instance, the battle over net metering has come to represent a fight between a relatively wealthy minority taking advantage of lucrative economic handouts at the expense of their lower-income neighbors who simply cannot afford, or are not eligible to adopt, solar usage.