Retail Rate Impacts of Distributed Solar: Focus on New England
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) recently issued a study entitled “Putting the Potential Rate Impacts of Distributed Solar into Context,” authored by Galen Barbose. The LBNL study estimates the potential rate impact of distributed solar on national average retail electricity prices, and importantly, compares that impact to the potential impact of other rate drivers such as natural gas prices, renewable portfolio standards, and utility capital expenditures. This brief applies a similar style analysis as used by LBNL to regional and state level data to estimate more granular impacts for New England. We estimate rate impacts for various penetration rates of net metered distributed solar and compare them to the potential rate impacts of future natural gas prices, energy efficiency gains, RPS costs, RGGI costs, and utility capital expenditures. Like LBNL, we attempt to isolate the impact of these rate drivers as well as represent uncertainty around future policy choices, commodity costs, and technology costs.