E Source and SEPA Partner on Residential Solar Rate Design and Communications Initiative

E Source and the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) have joined forces to create a new utility working group focused on sharing best practices in solar rate design and fostering dialogue between utilities and their residential customers regarding the rate-design process.

E Source and the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) have joined forces to create a new utility working group. The initiative focuses on sharing best practices in solar rate design and fostering dialogue between utilities and their residential customers regarding the rate-design process.

We're excited to partner with SEPA to offer this working group as a component of the 2016 E Source Solar Customer Project," says Wayne Greenberg, CEO of E Source. "Both organizations have clearly heard from utilities that they need help with the many nuanced elements of engaging residential customers in a proactive and positive way on solar. This working group will provide our utility members with the research, insights, and tactical resources they need to successfully tackle an important challenge: managing the interplay between retail rates and rooftop solar as well as understanding how best to engage with customers to ensure mutually acceptable outcomes."
"We have seen across the country how the conversations surrounding solar customers and utility rates have often been divisive and counterproductive," says SEPA President and CEO Julia Hamm. "This initiative is not aimed at promoting any one approach or policy solution to these issues. Rather, we are focused on bridging the communications gap between utilities and their residential customers and increasing understanding on both sides."
The working group, which is open to US and Canadian utilities, will run from April to the fourth quarter of 2016. Access to the group is included with membership in the E Source Solar Customer Project, or it can be purchased separately for a fee. The group's first in-person meeting will be held in conjunction with SEPA's Utility Solar Conference on April 11 in Denver, the second meeting will be held in the fall, and virtual meetings will be held in the intervening months.
"What SEPA brings to the table is our extensive experience as a trusted advisor helping utilities design solar programs and, in particular, building collaborative frameworks for stakeholder engagement," says Hamm. "Our research and work in the field have underlined the critical relationship between customer communication and rate design for integrating solar in utilities' power mix, on both sides of the meter."
"This initiative will build on E Source's data and expertise on residential customers' opinions and preferences specific to solar as well as the types of messages that resonate with different customer segments. Participants will also receive decision-making frameworks and tactical tools that will enable them to make wise decisions now and in the future as the solar market and utility approaches evolve," adds Greenberg.

For more information on the working group, contact Alanya Schofield, E Source director of Strategy & New Products, at alanya_schofield@esource.com or 303-345-9156.

About SEPA
SEPA is an educational nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC, dedicated to enabling the transition to a clean energy economy by facilitating utility integration and deployment of solar, distributed energy resources, and supporting technologies onto the grid. SEPA is the founder and co-organizer of Solar Power International, the nation's largest solar energy conference and trade show. SEPA provides a range of reports, educational events, networking opportunities, and advisory consulting services to its members.

About E Source
For 26 years, E Source has been providing research, consulting, and market research to more than 300 utilities and their partners. This guidance helps our customers advance their efficiency programs, enhance customer relationships, and use energy more efficiently. The E Source Solar Customer Project is an annual subscription service focused on helping utilities engage more effectively with customers by creating and improving solar education and communications efforts, programs and offerings, and industry partnerships.

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