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Updated: States Supporting Virtual Net Metering

| Written by John Farrell | 3 Comments | Updated on Nov 4, 2015 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

Net metering is a common distributed renewable energy policy in the United States, allowing individuals to “turn back” their meter (and reduce their electric bill) by generating on-site electricity. But utility accounting systems typically prevent people from sharing the output from a single, common solar or wind project.

The Many Categories of Net Metering

Virtual (or group or neighborhood) net metering (now also called “shared renewables”) allows utility customers to share the electricity output from a single power project, typically in proportion to their ownership of the shared system. The following map illustrates which states (as of October 2015) support virtual net metering. See previous maps here: February 2014, October 2013, August 2012.

virtual net metering 2015 ilsr 00001




California Multi-tenant properties, local governments
Connecticut Municipal, state, or ag. customers only
Dist. of Columbia All customers
Maine All customers
Maryland Allowed for agricultural customers, non-profit organizations, and municipal governments or their affiliates
Massachusetts All customers
New Hampshire All customers
Pennsylvania All customers, within 2 miles
Rhode Island Local and state governments
Vermont All customers


Colorado IOU customers; solar only
Delaware All customers; solar only
Minnesota Xcel Energy customers only
New York Launched October 2015
Wisconsin NSP customers only


Illinois Utility choice to offer

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About John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Energy Self-Reliant States and Communities program at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. More

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  • John Leonard

    A correction is in order. Not all Massachusetts residents are eligible for net metering. We don’t have net metering for our home solar array and up to a month ago even had to pay a surcharge to our municipal electric utility (or “muni” for short). The 15% of Mass. residents that are served by munis are, in the vast majority, not eligible for net metering. State law only requires net metering for those served by Investor Owned Utilities.

  • Brandon De Young

    Hi John, what specifically is limiting virtual net metering from being available to customers in, say, a single-family residential HOA community in California? CPUC? IOUs?

    • John Farrell

      From my colleague Matt:

      I think the definition of what a “Service Delivery Point” is. If the
      solar array and VNM are under the same service delivery point, then you
      could do it in a HOA community. But then there’s this:

      “Currently, across the California IOU service territories, there is no standardized mechanism used by the
      utilities to confirm the quantity of SDPs on a site, but rather a process of leveraging a variety of
      resources, including utility circuit maps, city planner maps, customer-provided photographs and physical
      site visits. ”

      Look here, pg. 19ish: It’s a comprehensive look at the history of virtual net metering in CA.