The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved a resolution that will make it more cost-effective for solar systems to be installed on multitenant and multi-meter properties. Known as Virtual Net Metering (VNM), this new billing arrangement allows the utilities to issue bill credits for the energy produced by a renewable generating system to other tenants in the building. This resolution was the final step in a lengthy stakeholder process to implement VNM, a part of the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing program that was expanded by the commission to the general market sector in a decision last year.
In the past, regulations had made it nearly impossible to install a single solar or renewable energy system that could offset multiple meters, which meant that renters and businesses with leased spaces were essentially excluded from going solar.
VNM allows multitenant and multimeter properties to install a single generation system, such as solar, wind or fuel cells, to cover the electricity load of both common area and tenant meters, thereby avoiding the need to connect individual distributed generation systems to each meter, which is often cost-prohibitive or technically impossible.
The CPUC's expansion of VNM is a significant development in the growing market for distributed generation and will be available to customers later this summer.