The national market for shared renewable energy programs has grown significantly since the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) published its Model Rules for Shared Renewable Energy Programs in 2009 and the update of those rules in 2013. Today, interest in shared renewables is growing, along with many more mandatory statewide and voluntary utility programs. To stay current with those industry changes, IREC has released the updated Five Guiding Principles for Shared Renewable Energy.
While many of the original principles remain, the modifications are intended to reflect evolutions in the market, as well as the insights IREC has gained from working with states creating the earliest shared programs. These guiding principles highlight the benefits of shared renewable energy programs to participants, the renewable energy industry, utilities and all energy consumers.
The new Five Guiding Principles are also intended to broadly define what constitutes a shared renewable energy program with a focus on the consumer experience. IREC defines “shared renewable energy” or “shared renewables” programs as programs that enable multiple customers to share the economic benefits of one renewable energy system via their individual utility bills (typically through bill credits). Other “community” renewables programs, such as green tariff shared renewables, group purchasing or aggregate net metering programs are not included under the definition.
The five principles in summary are:
- Shared renewable energy programs should expand renewable energy access to all energy consumers, including those who cannot install renewable energy on their own properties.
- Shared renewable energy programs should provide a fair value proposition to participants and tangible economic benefits on their utility bills.
- Shared renewable energy programs should be consumer-centric and accommodate diverse consumer preferences.
- Shared renewable energy programs should encourage fair market competition.
- Shared renewable energy programs should be additive to and supportive of existing renewable energy programs, and not undermine them.
Additional IREC resources on shared renewable energy programs include:
- IREC’s Model Rules for Shared Renewable Energy Programs – Model program rules intended to assist stakeholders in developing shared renewables programs that expand renewable energy access to more consumers.
- Shared Renewable Energy for Low- to Moderate-Income Consumers: Policy Guidelines and Model Provisions – Information and tools for shared renewables programs specifically designed to provide tangible benefits to low- and moderate-income individuals and households.
- State Shared Renewable Energy Program Catalog – Compilation of state shared renewables program rules and other details.
- Consumer Protection Trio – Includes the Clean Energy Consumer Bill of Rights, Be Solar Smart Consumer Checklist, and Resources list, together spotlighting safeguards and pointers for buyers, government agencies, the industry, retailers and others.
Source: Interstate Renewable Energy Council, 2/15/17