4.0 Improving Utility Policies and Processes

The Denver International Airport (DIA) features a 2 MW PV system at sunset. DIA is now host to a second 1.6 MW array system. (Denver International Airport/ PIX18042)

Utilities are important partners in advancing solar adoption in a local community because of their extensive experience in delivering energy to customers, operating the electric grid, and managing increasingly complex rate and billing structures, as well as the fact that they must approve interconnection of photovoltaic systems to the electric grid. The fundamental role utilities play in facilitating customers' solar installations gives utilities the power to accelerate or impede solar adoption in a local community. Municipalities that have jurisdiction over a utility are positioned to significantly affect the ease with which local residents and businesses can purchase and install solar energy systems. In areas served by investor-owned utilities, local governments can collaborate with state and regional governing bodies and with the utilities themselves to influence many of the policies, rules, and regulations that affect solar installations.

This section introduces some of the areas where local governments, either independently or in concert with state authorities and utilities, can work to improve utility policies that affect the adoption of solar energy technologies.