Meeting #33: Valuation of Solar and Rate Design Alternatives for Customers

Thursday, April 10, 2014
11:00am – 3:45pm
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
Arbors Room
5000 Seminary Road
Alexandria, VA [NOTE: This meeting was held in the Washington, DC, suburb of Alexandria, VA, in the same location as, and immediately following, the OPSI Spring Strategy Meeting.]


Valuation of Solar and Rate Design Alternatives for Customers


10:30 – 11:00am
Networking with attendees

11:00 – 11:15am
The Honorable Lawrence Brenner, Commissioner, Maryland
Janine Migden-Ostrander, Principal, Regulatory Assistance Project

11:15 – 12:45pm
How to Determine the Value and Costs of Solar PV
Kelly Knutsen, U.S. Department of Energy: Net Valuation of Solar to and from the Electrical Grid
Steve Steffel, PHI: How to Determine the Costs and Value of Solar PV
Ron Schoff, Electric Power Research Institute: The Integrated Grid: Realizing the Full Value of Central and Distributed Energy Resources
Nathan Phelps, Vote Solar: Evaluation the Benefits and Costs of Solar PV

There have been a number of discussions debating the value of solar to the grid and the value of the grid in assisting solar PV. The purpose of this session was to move to the next step, to help regulatory commissions determine how to measure the costs and benefits of solar energy to the grid. Further, this panel focused on what utilities are doing to measure the value and its effects on the system. The contribution and costs of technologies employed in grid modernization such as smart inverters (to provide additional functionalities such as frequency ride-through, voltage ride-through, and volt and var support, etc.); distribution management systems (to provide real time adaptive protection and control of distribution systems and all connected local resources); information and communication technologies such as AMI (to provide high speed data processing to enforce interconnection rules and enhanced cyber security); and, distributed control architecture (to monitor and control systems to communicate instructions to devices) were also explored. [NOTE: the conversation focused on methods and issues; we did not attempt to determine the numeric value of solar or value of the grid in this forum.]

12:45 –2:00pm

2:00 –3:30pm

Rate Design Alternatives for Customers
Carl Linvill, Regulatory Assistance Project: Designing Distributed Generation Tariffs Well: Some Tariff/Rate Design Takeaways
Wayne Harbaugh, BGE: Rate Design Alternatives for Customers
Paula Carmody, Maryland Office of People's Counsel: Rate Design Alternatives for Customers
Jim Torpey, SunPower: Rate Design Alternatives for Customers

This panel discussed at least three rate design options:

  • Fixed Cost Recovery which recovers fixed costs by broadening the application of demand charges (or similar charges) to customers;
  • Cost of Service Model which creates line-item accounting services by the utility to the customer and by the customer to the utility such as integration, interconnection, capacity, energy, system deferrals, etc. Net services are billed to the customer or utility as applicable.
  • Dual Rate Alternative under which customers are billed for all consumption under the applicable utility tariff and the utility purchases the solar output based on a predetermined rate.
  • Other Options

The panelists discussed the pros and cons of these three rate mechanisms.

3:00 – 3:45pm
Wrap-Up, Adjournment
The Honorable Lawrence Brenner, Maryland Public Service Commission
John Shenot, Regulatory Assistance Project