University of Alaska Fairbanks logo bear University of Alaska Fairbanks

News

  • Monday, March 07, 2022
  • Chugach Electric Association Approves Net Metering Increase

Chugach Electric Association Inc.’s commitment to diversifying its energy portfolio with increased renewable energy generation just got a boost! 

On Jan. 14, 2022, Chugach Electric requested approval from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska to increase the total nameplate capacity of eligible generation under its net metering tariff from 1.5% to 5% of average retail demand. On Feb. 23, the commission issued an order approving the request. 

What does this mean?

As a result of the approval, the amount of renewable generation under its net metering program is increasing from 3,368 kilowatts to 11,225 kW.  As a comparison, the current installed capacity of renewables limited by the net metering tariff, or rate design policy, is about 3,300 kW. Chugach is well-positioned to add more renewables under this increase. 

Net metering is an electricity billing mechanism that allows consumers who generate some or all of their own electricity to use that electricity at any time, not just when it is generated. For example, if a residential electric utility customer installs a solar photovoltaic system on their roof, it may generate more electricity than the home uses during daylight hours.

ACEP’s Solar Technologies Program manager Erin Whitney cheered the approval. 

“As not only a UA faculty researcher but also a Chugach Electric member and board director, I can say that increasing the Chugach net metering limit helps assure our members that Chugach welcomes distributed energy installations,” she said. “This is good news not just for customers but also for installers and the renewable energy industry statewide, in terms of creating stability and certainty around these investments.” 

In 2021, ACEP released an updated report on Alaska’s Railbelt net metering capacity, which in 2020 saw a 52% increase. This capacity increase approval shows a continuing trend of solar installations.  

See Chugach Electric Association’s filing here.

 

Solar panels are installed in the Anchorage area. Photo by Chris Pike