By Roy L Hales
On February 28, 2014, BC Hydro filed an application to the BC Utilities Commission to increase the nameplate capacity limit under Net Metering from 50 to 100 kW.
There are presently around 250 rooftop solar installations, generating around 2.1 MW, in the province.
Neither the British Columbian government, or BC Hydro, appear to have the appetite for the Tax credits, grants, interest free loans, feed-in-tariffs and/or other positive incentives that birthed the solar industry in Germany, the US and other parts of the World.
Few British Columbians appear to seem to be conscious of our province’s solar potential.
One of the exceptions is a Kamloops resident who recently told the ECOreport that he uses solar to heat hot water and the system is working fine in minus 10 temperatures. (That anecdote is part of an upcoming story about co-operative housing.)
Ben Giudici, of Riverside Energy Systems, said that while he welcomes BC Hydro’s decision, he does not think it will have much impact.
“I expect scheduled rate increases for April 1, 2013, 2014, and 2015 will draw draw far more attention since they affect everyone,” Giudici said. “I predict these will act as punitive incentives to stimulate solar PV adoption rates far more than the increased net-metering limit will. As even further rate increases unfold, eventually the 100 kW net-metering limit will become attractive particularly to commercial and industrial clients who will catch on to the advantage of generating larger amounts of their own electricity with PV.”
BC’s net metering program is presently open to renewable energy systems – utilizing biogas, biomass, geothermal heat, hydro, solar, ocean, wind or other energy resources or technologies defined as “clean or renewable resource” in the Clean Energy Act to generate electricity, this includes fuel cells and energy recovery generation – with “nameplate capacity of no more than 50 kilowatts.”
According to BC Hydro, “As a net metering customer, when you generate more electricity than you consume, you receive a credit to your account that is applied against your future consumption. At your anniversary date, if you have an excess generation credit remaining on your account, BC Hydro may make a one-time payout at the published rate of 9.99 cents per kWh.”
(Photo at top of page: Riverside Energy Installation from Kamloops BC)