The falling cost of rooftop solar installations has spurred demand from homeowners in recent years, but the issue of net metering--or lack thereof--is threatening to stall growth.
Fast Company writer Ben Schiller writes that nearly all 50 states could reach grid-parity (the point at which self-generated power is cheaper than or equal to grid power) by 2020 if current net metering laws are left in place. If they are not, it is possible no states will reach grid-parity by that time. He cites Nevada as a state in which changes to net metering laws have stymied the growth of solar.i
Utilities argue that solar households should help pay monthly charges to defray the cost of maintaining the electricity grid. GTM finds a $50 charge would mean only Hawaii and California enjoy grid parity—though it's possible such charges could also hasten grid defection as well. If households have to pay to be part of the grid, they may choose to invest in battery storage instead, like Tesla's new Powerwall. That way, they can save power for their personal use when it's abundant (like in the middle of the day) for nighttime, when they'd normally call upon the grid.