Ask Bob – June 2022

Bob Pierce headshotBob Pierce answers questions about energy efficiency, consumer products, and cooperative governance. He is Clearwater Power’s Chief Operating Officer and welcomes your questions on our Ask Bob page.

Q: In a previous issue of Ruralite, you talked about a net-metering nameplate capacity limit of 25 kW for residential and small commercial accounts. Why is there this limit?

A: This is a good question to ask. Clearwater Power strives to remain neutral for people who want to offset their grid power consumption. We don’t want to be a barrier but we must also ensure that other members who have net metering are not being subsidized by those who do not. To achieve that goal, we have determined that a 25 kW net-metering limit is the right middle-ground to ensure that consumers are able to offset the majority of their use, using our power grid as their battery so to speak, without over-producing and therefore insulating non-net metering consumers from monetary subsidies.

I should also point out that the 25kW net metering limit is per meter not per customer. So, people who own a home and shop with two meters can install solar at each location. We also allow a higher limit (100kW) for large commercial accounts. To qualify for that rate class, there is a higher minimum level of consumption, so we allow for a higher level of net metering.