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South Carolina

South Carolina

Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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South Carolina - Net Metering   

Last DSIRE Review: 12/16/2014
Program Overview:
State: South Carolina
Incentive Type: Net Metering
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Electric, CHP/Cogeneration, Hydrogen, Small Hydroelectric, Tidal Energy, Wave Energy, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Residential, General Public/Consumer, Nonprofit, Schools, Utility, Investor-Owned Utility, Institutional
Applicable Utilities:All utilities with more than 100,00 customers, excluding cooperatives.
System Capacity Limit:20 kW for residential; 1000 kW or 100% of demand for non-residential
Aggregate Capacity Limit:2% of average retail peak demand for previous 5 years
Net Excess Generation:Credited to customer's next bill on a monthly basis. Annual pay out to customer zeros out monthly carry-over.
REC Ownership:Not addressed
Meter Aggregation:Explicitly prohibited
Web Site: http://www.energy.sc.gov/index.aspx?m=6&t=99
Summary:

Note: In April of 2014, S.B. 1189 stipulated changes to net metering policies for all utilities with 100,000 or more customers. The PSC is currently working towards a final ruling to fulfill the S.B. 1189 mandate. The latest net metering details are available in PSC Docket 2014-246 E.

In April of 2014 the South Carolina legislature unanimously passed S.B. 1189 to create the voluntary Distributed Energy Resource Program and mandated the Public Service Commission develop new net metering rules. S.B. 1189 offered many guidelines regarding eligible systems, system size, cost recovery, and rate structuring rules.

Resident net metering customers can install renewable systems of 20 kW or less and nonresidential customers can install systems that are less than 1 MW or that meet 100% of demand. Renewable systems are defined as solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, tidal, wave, recycling, biomass, and combined heat and power and hydrogen fuel derived from renewable sources. These systems must be owned, leased, or operated by the customer-generator and must meet all interconnection, performance, safety, and reliability standards established by relevant authorities.

The utility is responsible for maintaining an account of total electricity produced and consumed. When less electricity is produced than consumed in a month, then the customer-generator pays the difference. When more electricity is produced than consumed in a month, excess kW credits roll over to the next month. Utilities must annually pay out for any excess electric production to zero-out electric bills and re-start the monthly carry-over process. Excess generation credits can never be used to pay for non-volumetric charges.

New net metering rates will be established after Office of Regulatory Staff and/or outside consultants conduct a cost-benefit analysis of distributed generation. The Public Service Commission will use the cost-benefit analysis to determine what costs are incremental and recoverable and any additional service charges that customer-generators should pay for access to electrical services.

Customer-generators who used net metered facilities prior to the availability of new net metering rates may remain in historic net metering programs through December 31, 2020.

Cooperatives are required by S.B. 1189 to examine net metering policies but are not bound by law to implement new programs.

Background

In May 2008, the South Carolina Public Service Commission (PSC) issued a directive that required investor-owned electric utilities (IOUs) to provide net metering for customers by July 1, 2008. Unlike most state-level policy actions regarding net metering, this directive did not include any definitions or parameters to govern utility programs. Several of the approved tariffs require customers to switch to time-of-use (TOU) riders that incorporate high demand charges into their fee structure, while others offer a kilowatt-hour (kWh) credit that is only a fraction of what customers pay for each kWh of electricity. These tariffs generally do not constitute net metering as defined by most other states. The PSC asked the following IOUs to provide a time-of-use and a flat-rate net metering option for their customers: Progress EnergyDuke Energy, and SCE&G. Santee Cooper has had a net billing pilot program since October 2007.

In December 2014 utilities and solar interests came to an historic agreement on allowing customers to net meter at the retail rate for 10 years with no additional solar fees.

Emerging net metering program details are available in PSC Docket 2014-246 E.


 
Contact:
  Information Services - PSC
Public Service Commission of South Carolina
101 Executive Center Drive
Columbia, SC 29210
Phone: (803) 896-5100
Fax: (803) 737-5199
E-Mail: contact@psc.sc.gov
Web Site: http://www.psc.sc.gov
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2013 - 2014 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.