SALT LAKE CITY — The state and its largest electric utility have hammered out a preliminary compromise on the future of rooftop solar in Utah.
Gov. Gary Herbert's office announced the agreement late Monday, following years of debate and an act of the state Legislature.
Under the proposed move, net-metering customers who now are reimbursed for the extra kilowatts they return to Rocky Mountain Power will retain the payments through 2035. The average for homeowners now is 10 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Starting in November, any new customers will receive three years of credits, though at a slightly lesser rate, during a transition period. After that, a new fee structure determined by the state's Public Service Commission will take effect.
The commission rate still is being hashed out and will be released by 2020, according to a prepared statement from the governor's office. Solar companies and energy advocates also were involved in the yearslong negotiations.
The deal that ultimately does away with subsidies from customers relying on traditional power isn't final. It will go through a series of public hearings on the proposal in September.
Herbert's office said in a statement the groups' proposal "provides a wise and sustainable path for rooftop solar development in Utah."
Advocacy group HEAL Utah agreed, but said "sacrifices were made" in the negotiations that included energy companies, other advocates and various state agencies.
Managers from state offices over utilities and consumer services said the plan struck a good balance, saying it wouldn't scuttle solar development for homes and businesses, but also would help customers by creating a fair rate structure.
A Utah 2014 law cleared a path for the compromise, allowing the Public Service Commission to conduct its analysis and set a fair rate.