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Virtual Net Metering for Multifamily Solar-Electric Systems

By   /  March 26, 2013  /  No Comments

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A couple of years back, frustrated by obstacles encountered to installing a large photovoltaic (PV) system at the Solara community, multifamily housing energy guru Nehemiah Stone (now with Benningfield Group) spearheaded a lobbying and education effort by a stakeholder coalition that resulted in the California state government enabling “virtual net metering.”  This is a mechanism that allows a solar-electric system to be metered individually, with the electricity produced allocated by contract to individual housing units within a multifamily development.

Before this innovation occurred, developers had no incentive to put a PV system on a multifamily project that would generate more electricity than the building’s common areas would use in a year. This was an economic barrier to including larger PV systems in these multifamily projects, even when there was budget and roof space available.

After California adopted virtual net metering, other states followed suit. According to DSIREUSA.org (Database for State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency), “More than 40 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories have established net-metering policies.” More here.

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About the author

green building consultant; owner/founder, Design AVEnues LLC

Ann V. Edminster, M. Arch., LEED AP, is a leading green building consultant, speaker, teacher, and author. Her recent work and award-winning book, Energy Free: Homes for a Small Planet, focus on net-zero energy homes. Ann has taught for groups including AIA, USGBC, Pacific Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison. Ann’s consulting clients include major builders, software companies, design firms, developers, public agencies, utilities, investors, and homeowners. She has held key roles on numerous award-winning residential projects of all types.

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