New Net Metering Terms are in Effect. Is Solar Still Worth It?


1 to 1 Net Metering is Over.  What does that mean for homeowners?

You might have heard about the whole net metering debate that has been going on for a couple of years between solar advocates and Rocky Mountain Power.

On August 29th, 2017 an agreement was finally made that takes effect on November 15th, 12:00 A.M.  

The new Net Metering terms, being called the Transition Program, were approved by the Utah Public Commission after a long back and forth debate.

There has been a lot of coverage about how the old net metering terms save you money over the new,  but what exactly does that mean for people looking to switch next year who didn’t submit before November 15th, 2017?

New Net Metering

90% Payback

There are a few main differences between the old Net Metering Agreement and the new.  The main being the amount that is paid back for energy generated by solar.

Under the old net metering terms, solar customers would receive 1 credit on their bill for for every credit their solar panels generated.

Under the new Net Metering terms, Rocky Mountain Power is paying back 90% on power generated by solar.

That means that for every watt of power your solar panels generate and send to Rocky Mountain Power,  Rocky Mountain Power returns 90% of what you sent them.

That has an effect on your payback time and your return on investment.

Solar Payback Time changes

From our calculations,  we are seeing that solar customers under the Transition Program will see an increase of between 1.5 to 2.5 years on their payback period.

That means that a system that would have recouped your money in 8 years will now take closer to 10 years.

That can seem like a pretty big change but that is still paying back over 60% faster than solar was in 2008.

System Changes.

As a result of the decrease in energy export credits, solar panel systems installed under the Transition Program will need to be designed to produce 115% of the energy used by your home.

This means that your home will require a slightly larger system.  Adding a few extra panels usually takes care of the trick, this does, however, add a small additional cost to your system.

Return On Investment

The fact that you’ll need to get additional panels and Rocky Mountain Power will only be paying back 90% on all energy generated, your return on investment will decrease.

If we take a look at someone who has a $150 per month electrical bill, we can see how big of an impact the Transitional Program will have on homeowners.

Under the old net metering terms, someone with a $150/month bill would have saved an estimated $48,062.99.  

Under the Transition Program, the same person with the same bill would save $41,334.17.  That’s a $6,728.82 difference.  


Is Solar Still Worth It?

In short, if you didn’t get your net meter submitted, solar is still a great investment.  

Your payback time will be slightly extended and your ROI will decrease but the savings and the environmental impact from making the switch are still amazing.