What Is Your State’s Renewable Energy Grade?

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California, Massachusetts, Oregon and Utah each received “A” grades in both categories rated

Vote Solar and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) recently published report cards grading each state on policies related to net metering and interconnection—two measures that are critical in utilities allowing people to generate their own power.California, Massachusetts, Oregon and Utah each received “A” grades in both categories of the seventh annual Freeing the Grid report. Only six states got an “A” in interconnection, including those four.

Renwable Energy Grade Screen shot

The above is a screen shot of an interactive map. To view an interactive map with each state’s grade for 2013 and prior years, click here. Graphic credit: Vote Solar and Interstate Renewable Energy Council

“These policies have long been the foundation of strong state solar markets, and that’s more true today than ever before,” Vote Solar’s Rosalind Jackson wrote in a statement. “Solar is increasingly affordable and incentive programs are winding down in many states … It’s critical that we keep the way clear for more Americans to generate their own solar power. Strong net metering and interconnection procedures at the state level do just that.”

About two-thirds of states got an A or B on net metering, which is defined by Vote Solar and IRECas a policy that ensures renewable energy customers receive full credit on their utility bills for clean power they put back on the grid. Washington DC and Minnesota both improved their net metering grades compared to last year, while no states declined since 2012.

“These policies allow individuals, businesses, schools and others to connect renewable energy systems to the grid under transparent terms and receive a fair credit for excess energy they produce while following practices of safety and reliability,” IREC CEO Jane Weissman said.

Interconnection are rules that an energy customer must follow to be able to plug their renewable energy system into the grid, Jackson said.

“This process should be straightforward, transparent and fair,” she said. “Our Freeing the Grid interconnection grading methodology was updated for 2013 to reflect current best practices.”

The report singled out three states for worst practices—Arizona, Colorado and Idaho. Utilities in each of those states made proposals in 2013 to weaken net metering and/or assess new charges on customers who want to go solar. There were three “F” grades between the two categories—Oklahoma and Georgia in net metering and South Carolina in interconnection.

“We are in the midst of a transition to the era of mainstream renewables that gives Americans control over their power supply and energy bills like never before,” Jackson said. “[The report] is designed to help policymakers and other stakeholders make better sense of best practices and what needs to be done in their own state to clear the way for a 21st-century approach to energy.”

  • History301

    As everyone here realizes, sustainable energy is the only way to go. No real debate I don’t believe. It’s how we force our governments to cooperate that is the problem and while we can do much as individuals to convert off the oil based method of generating energy, the job of making the transition from an oil based economy to one that doesn’t kill our planet is something so large, it’s practically imperative governments cooperate. While I’m sure there are plenty of people writing their representatives and taking many other actions trying to offset the undue influences of big energy and their cohorts that would like to maintain the status quo, even if that means their ultimate destruction along with ours, common sense and simply being or doing the right thing isn’t enough for governments to cooperate in reversing global warming or the resource wars that come with it. Money, greed and power are all they understand, and shortsightedness appears to walk hand in hand with these traits, While it makes no sense to abuse the planet to the point where it cannot support life as we know it any longer, it’s likely true that if basic changes are not made, even the richest, most greedy and most powerful of individuals supporting this status quo will perish, and that makes it even harder to understand why it’s so difficult to deal with such people who appear by their actions to be psychopaths.

    It seems to me that the only peaceful solution is to replace the entire system with people who have everyone’s best interest at heart, or a real people’s party for lack of a better term. It certainly will not be either of the two major political parties who will do what is required to make a peaceful transition, so how to educate enough people to remove these offenders of basic justice would be a great starting point and figuring out how to do this without anywhere near the resources available to our opposition appears to be the key. This website does a great job of providing the information citizens require and if it reached somewhere close to the numbers the corporate media reaches, this discussion wouldn’t be needed.
    We fight the good fight and hope that’s enough and as an individual, leading by actions and reaching as many as possible is about all we can do presently. I wish I could do more. But it’s always been grassroots movements that create positive change and as Rome crumbles, perhaps it will become easier for the general population to come on board.