By Solar Industry Magazine

states-rank-solarThe Vote Solar Initiative and Interstate Renewable Energy Council has released the 2014 edition of “Freeing the Grid,” a policy guide that grades all 50 states on two key clean energy programs: net-metering and interconnection procedures.

Now in its eighth year of publication , the report shows that over the past year, U.S. states have generally upheld and, in some cases, strengthened these two policies, which are considered pillars of consumer clean energy development.

Although net-metering policies were under review in many states, the guide records no declines in state grades over the past year. Two states that already held high “A” grades – Vermont and Massachusetts – raise their program caps. In total, more than two-thirds of U.S. states now qualify for good “A” or “B” grades, and the remaining are in need of improvement, the authors say.

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A record number of five states achieved excellence in both net-metering and interconnection policies this year: California, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon and Utah.

The year’s report also explores a number of issues in the current regulatory landscape, including residential fixed charges and rate design; self-generation trends; and the rise of shared renewables models as a way to further expand solar access within the community.

“With strong state renewable energy policy leading the way, entrepreneurs, businesses and customers are successfully transforming our nation’s energy landscape for the better,” says Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar. “It’s heartening to see regulator nationwide – in red states and blue – stand strong for energy choice and solar progress by upholding these important policies.

To see the “Freeing the Grid” findings, including an interactive state-by-state map, click here .