In a trend of interest to utilities, analysis recently conducted by Zpryme on federal data sets provides testimony that a transition in American energy production continues to gain momentum. An 18.3% increase in net metering capacity between 2020 and 2021 figures demonstrates that electric power generation continues its transition from its traditional one-way flow from power plant to energy consumer, and is now increasingly moving in a two-way, or bi-directional flow, with electricity being delivered from prosumers (localized renewable power producers) onto the grid.

Of further interest to the traditional cost recovery utility business model, analysis showed that from January to March 2021, cumulative net metering energy sold from customers to utilities totaled 482,403 MWh. Though this is a curious 29.9% decrease over the same time period in 2020, the amount represents a significant encroachment on utility revenue, a trend likely to continue.

Net metering is the billing mechanism utilities use to compensate prosumers for electricity they add to a utility’s grid. Net metering also acts as a gauge of renewable energy dissemination. According to Zpryme data analysis, residential, commercial, and industrial solar energy production was the primary technology source (about 98%) of new net metering interconnection agreements between utility and their customers.

Zpryme analysis also shows that by March 2021, U.S. non-net metering capacity – standalone renewable power generation – reached 3,295 MW, representing a 17.5% increase in capacity compared to March 2020. This will further erode utility revenue, likely prompting a review of alternative business model revenue streams.

Data and analysis for this report was conducted by Zpryme using U.S. EIA Form 861M detailed data.

Learn how to access the full report and review findings from Zpryme’s Utility Response U.S. Net Metering and Non-Net Metering Distributed Energy Trends Benchmarking Report.