New York, NY, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- November 25, 2009 - While net metering and interconnection policies vary widely from state to state in the United States, states have made significant strides in adopting the best practices that drive renewable energy market growth and job creation, according to the Network for New Energy Choices (NNEC).

In its latest annual review of state net metering and interconnection practices, “Freeing the Grid 2009,” the NNEC finds that a significant number of states have simplified and streamlined the interconnection process for customer-sited renewable distributed generation systems. As of September 2009, 42 states had statewide net metering programs, albeit of varying quality. In addition, Washington D.C. has its own program, and voluntary net metering programs exist in three states, Idaho, South Carolina and Texas.

“Understanding these policies is critical because each provision in a state’s rules for net metering and interconnection has the potential to be a powerful incentive or a poison pill for the growth of renewables in that state,” said Kyle Rabin, NNEC’s executive director. “Freeing the Grid offers a clear, reliable roadmap to maximizing the former and avoiding the latter.”

The top ranking states for net metering are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Utah, with a further 16 states in the second rank. This compares with 13 states in the top two ranks in 2007.

For interconnection policies 15 states appear in the top two ranks, up from one state in 2007, with Virginia the first and only state in the top rank.

Noteworthy too is that the majority of top ranked net metering states also rank highly for their interconnection policies.

States with neither statewide net metering nor statewide interconnection standards are Alabama, Alaska, Mississippi and Tennessee, while South Dakota is without statewide net metering and Idaho, Maine, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and West Virginia are without statewide interconnection standards.

Freeing the Grid 2009 highlights net metering in Texas as “a useful illustration of how the good intentions of elected officials can go astray during the implementation of policy through the regulatory process.” In essence, the NNEC finds, the stumbling block in Texas was the absence of a clear definition of net metering in the initial legislation.

Conversely the NNEC finds that in Oregon, the fact that the state is continually working to facilitate and incentivize renewable energy makes it one of the nation’s leaders in renewable energy policy.

The NNEC is an independent body that promotes policies that ensure safe, clean, and environmentally responsible energy options.