AUSTIN (KXAN) — At the end of 2013, Austin Energy received a backlash from its residential solar customers when the energy provider decided to end credit rollover. The credits on these accounts, earned by generating a surplus of energy, were wiped out at the beginning of 2014 — the average solar customer lost about $170.
After listening to the complaints and working with the City Council, AE decided this month to reinstate the credits. In a letter sent to its customers, AE said starting this winter, unused Value of Solar credits will be rolled into the next calendar year, as well as from month to month. This rollover of credits will continue until the customer moves or closes their account.
About 15 percent of AE customers who have solar panels installed actually produce more electricity than they use – that adds up to nearly 400 people.
Starting in January 2015, residents producing energy will also get paid more for the energy they produce. The Value of Solar (VoS) will increase from 10.7 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to 11.3 cents per kWh.
The VoS assessment, calculated every spring and approved by Council, quantifies the value of the energy produced compared to other new generation options (namely natural gas combined-cycle generation), along with other benefits such as reduced transmission costs, generation capacity needs, and environmental value.
Currently, 3,800 Austin Energy customers have solar systems on their homes.