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Title: Virtual Net Metering Market Development Plan 

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Funding Opportunity: Solar Market Pathways
SunShot Subprogram: Soft Costs
Location: San Diego, CA
Amount Awarded: $712,269
Awardee Cost Share: $179,535

The Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) is creating the Virtual Net Metering Market Development Plan as a part of the Solar Market Pathways program to expand the awareness, effectiveness and use of virtual net metering in California and beyond. California recently passed a virtual net metering tariff, which allows kilowatt hour credits from one solar system to be distributed to numerous utility accounts throughout the property based on a predetermined allocation arrangement. Currently, solar adoption outside of traditional commercial or single family rooftop systems has been challenging for solar markets throughout California. Virtual net metering is a system that enables a multi-meter property owner to allocate a solar system's energy credits to other tenants. CSE aims to expand the application of virtual net metering to multifamily and multi-metered homes and facilities. For more information on this award and the Solar Market Pathways program, visit their website

APPROACH

The project team will engage solar contractors across California, regulators at the California Public Utility Commission, utility interconnection departments, and key customer segments, including commercial property management associations and condominium developers, to identify, catalog and resolve the challenges impeding widespread adoption of virtual net metering. Through stakeholder and contractor surveys, interviews and focus groups, CSE is trying to better understand the growth and challenges facing the virtual net metering tariff in California. As part of this process, CSE will implement a pilot project in Santa Monica, California, engaging both apartment buildings and condominiums in the multifamily sector in order to focus tariff outreach, technical, and administrative assistance efforts in a specific region. 

INNOVATION

Lessons learned from the pilot project will be applied to the creation of a replicable model for solar net metering market development. These tools will help to inform policymakers of best practices for designing effective virtual net metering programs that work well for customers, contractors, and utilities.