Cowlitz PUD’s Net Metering program offers a special metering and billing arrangement between you and the PUD by interconnecting your small generation system with the PUD’s electric distribution system through your electric meter.
- Qualified customer-generating systems may include fuel cells or facilities that use a fuel to generate up to 100 kilowatts (kW) of electricity with the following methods:
- Solar energy
- Biogas from animal waste
For more information about Net Metering and Cowlitz PUD’s Interconnection Standards, please contact our Engineering Department at (360) 501-9546 by sending us an email. For information regarding the State incentive payments program, please contact our Energy Efficiency Services Department at (360) 501‐9392 or by email.
How Net Metering Works
- There may be times, when your own small generation system produces more electricity than you need, for your own use. During these times, with a PUD‐approved interconnection in place, this excess electricity will be transmitted into the electric grid.
- Prior to reaching the PUD distribution lines, the excess electricity you produce will first pass through your electric meter.
- The meter will record the flow of the electricity that your system produces, which offsets prior electric usage the meter has recorded and reduces your PUD bill.
Required Interconnection Standards
With the safety of its customers and employees in mind, Cowlitz PUD has joined with other electric utilities in the state to develop standards for interconnection to electric utility delivery systems for up to 100 kW. These standards have been developed by a statewide group of utility representatives in an effort to establish uniform standards.
Before your small generation system can be connected to our distribution system, the requirements of Cowlitz PUD’s Interconnection Standards Policy must be met.
Impact on Your Electric Bill
Under the Net Metering arrangement, the PUD will continue to read your meter and you will receive electric bills on your normal monthly billing schedule. If you use more energy than you generate in a given billing cycle, you would be a “net consumer,” and the net consumption would appear as a charge on your current bill.
For customers with more than one metered service within the PUD’s service territory, meter aggregation, according to state law, would be applied to the net energy use for all meters regardless of the rate class.
If you generate more electricity than you use in a given month, you will be billed the normal monthly basic charge, applicable from your Rate Schedule, and the excess kilowatt‐hours will be credited toward your next bill.
As set by state law, on March 31 of each year, any kilowatt‐hour generating credit accumulated over the previous 12 months will be zeroed out without additional compensation paid to the customer‐generator.
Cowlitz PUD charges a $100 non‐refundable application fee. There may be additional costs for, but not limited to, transformers, meters, and utility testing. These costs will be estimated for you during the application review process.
State Financial Incentives Program
For the latest information about financial incentive programs, refer to the Renewable Energy System Incentive Program offered by the State of Washington.
- Generation Interconnections Standards Policy (PDF)
- Application for Net Metered Generation (PDF)
- Generating Facility Certificate of Completion (PDF)
Solar systems are gaining popularity. With a PV (photovoltaic) system, PUD customers can generate their own clean, renewable energy.
Solar works best on south facing roofs, though east or west oriented low-slope roofs may be suitable as well. There should be little or no shading from trees, buildings, chimneys, or roof gables. Remember, locations with no shading in winter may be shaded by spring and summer foliage, and little trees will grow!
Going solar is a significant decision. As with any major purchase, get multiple bids for your solar system project. You will find the market highly competitive, with multiple solar companies competing for your business. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples by closely reading the terms from different contractors. Click on the “Learn More” button below to link to how to protect yourself from solar scams and high pressure sales.
To calculate your simple payback for a solar project you are contemplating, download our Solar Payback Calculator tool (MS Excel spreadsheet). Contact Jen Langdon (360-501-9392) with any questions.
Cowlitz PUD does not install solar generation systems, however, you may find a list of solar energy contractors below. This courtesy list isn’t an endorsement or recommendation, simply a place to get you started on your research.
If you click on the “WASEIA Membership” button below, you will be linked to a list of current members of the Washington Solar Energy Industries Association, another source for solar energy contractors.
- Solar equipment is exempt from property taxation.
- Installing a solar system increases the value of your home without increasing your property taxes.
- The environmental benefits of renewable energy are immediate and long-term.
- It encourages sustainable use of our natural resources for future generations.
No incentives are currently available through Cowlitz PUD for solar systems.
However, to learn about residential federal tax credits, view the Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics and for commercial federal tax credits, view the Guide to the Federal Investment Tax Credit for Commercial Solar Photovoltaics.
To learn about Washington State sales tax exemption from the Washington State Department of Revenue, view Sales and use tax exemption on purchases and installation of solar energy systems.