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Kansas adopted the Net Metering and Easy Connection Act in May 2009, which established net metering for customers of investor-owned utilities (IOUs).
The following renewable energy resources are eligible for net metering: solar, wind, methane, biomass, hydro, and fuel cells that use hydrogen produced by one of these resources.
Eligibility and Availability
All IOUs in Kansas—Westar, Kansas City Power & Light, and the Empire Power District—are required to offer net metering, and some electric cooperatives have voluntarily created net metering provisions for their customers. IOUs are required to offer net metering on a first-come, first-served basis until the rated generating capacity of all net-metered systems equals 1% of the utility's peak demand during the previous year.
Eligible systems in operation prior to July 1, 2014, must have a rated capacity of:
- 25 kW or less for residential customers and
- 200 kW or less for non-residential customers.
Eligible systems in operation on or after July 1, 2014, must have a rated capacity of:
- 15 kW or less for residential customers,
- 100 kW or less for non-residential customers, and
- 150 kW for any postsecondary educational institution or any public or private school which provides instruction for students enrolled in grade kindergarten or grades one through 12.
IOUs must provide net-metered customers with a bi-directional meter at no cost to the customer. IOUs are prohibited from charging net-metered customers any additional standby charges, capacity charges, interconnection charges or other fees that a customer would not incur if the customer did not participate in net metering if the customer began operating a renewable energy resource under an interconnect agreement with a utility prior to July 1, 2014. IOUs may propose (through a rate proceeding) an alternative rate structure for customer-generators who begin operating a renewable energy system on or after July 1, 2014. This includes a time-of-use rate, minimum bill, or another rate structure for these customers.
In December 2017, the Kansas Corporation Commission issued a ruling finding that it was permissible for utilities to create separate rate classes for customers with distributed generation resources, and that rates for these customer classes could include items such as demand charges, grid charges, and/or capacity-tiered customer charges. No specific new charges were approved; utilities can submit proposed rate structures in their individual rate cases.
The estimated generating capacity of all net-metered systems may count towards the utility’s renewable capacity target under Kansas's voluntary renewable portfolio standard (RPS) goal, with each kilowatt (kW) of nameplate capacity that is net metered counting as 1.10 kW toward a utility’s compliance with the RPS. Net-metered renewable energy used for RPS compliance may not be used to generate renewable energy credits.
Net Excess Generation
If a customer-generator produces more electricity than is consumed during a monthly billing period, the net excess generation (NEG) will be credited to the customer-generator at one of two types of rates, depending on when the renewable energy resource began operating:
- For renewable energy resources that began operating before July 1, 2014, all NEG, expressed in kilowatt-hours (kWh), is carried forward from month-to-month and credited at a ratio of one-to-one against the customer-generator’s energy consumption, expressed in kWh, in subsequent months. This credit is equivalent to a retail rate of electricity.
- For renewable energy resources that began operating on or after July 1, 2014, all NEG remaining in the customer-generator’s account at the end of each billing period is credited to the customer at a rate of 100% of the utility’s monthly system average cost of energy per kWh.
Beginning on January 1, 2030, all NEG will be carried forward at the utility’s monthly system average cost of energy per kWh, regardless of when the customer began operating the renewable energy resource. NEG remaining in the customer's account expires on March 31 of each year.
Parallel Generation (Alternative to Net Metering)
Customer-generators in Kansas can choose to interconnect under a parallel generation contract with utilities instead of net metering (K.S.A. 66-1184). Utilities that provide retail electric services in Kansas—including IOUs, electric cooperatives (defined by K.S.A. 17-4603), non-stock member-owned electric cooperative corporations, and municipally-owned or operated utilities—are required to enter into a parallel generation contract with eligible customer-generators if requested in writing.
Under a parallel generation contract between a utility and a generator with a capacity of 200 kW or less, electricity exported by the customer-generator to the utility is sold at a rate of 150% of the utility’s monthly system average cost of energy per kWh, and any electricity imported by the customer-generator from the utility is purchased at the retail rate. Unlike net metering, electricity generation and consumption are time-sensitive and there is no “banking”. A utility may credit the customer’s account or pay the customer at least annually or when the total compensation due equals $25 or more.
System capacity limitations for entering into a parallel generation contract are 25 kW for residential customers, 200 kW for commercial customers, and 1.5 MW for Cloud County community college and Dodge City community college. A utility is not obligated to purchase an amount greater than 4% of its peak power requirements.