Solar Market Pathways - Research & Analysis

Research and analysis is crucial to understanding the current non-low-income virtual net metering (NEM-V) landscape in California and other states nationwide. The SMP project team seeks to gain a better understanding of tariff components, including policy background, eligibility requirements, application processes, adoption levels, utility bill impacts and more. In doing so, the team will gain knowledge necessary to develop and disseminate useful resources and lessons for industry stakeholders and help increase the awareness, effectiveness and adoption levels of the NEM-V tariff.

Primary Research Methods

Desktop Analysis

Desktop Analysis
Leveraging publicly available data and resources, the SMP project team will conduct in-depth research and analysis including a California building stock analysis by evaluating census tract, GIS and LIDAR data.


Solar contractors and multitenant property owners will be surveyed to determine tariff familiarity, baseline knowledge and volume of adoption as well as to determine challenges and opportunities within the current tariff landscape across California’s three investor-owned utility service territories.

Interviews and Focus Groups

Interviews & Focus Groups
As a supplement to surveys, the project team will directly engage NEM-V stakeholders for in-depth conversations and focus groups to gain further insight into solar adoption within the multitenant sector. Interviews will be conducted with key utility representatives and solar contractors with NEM-V experience.

Pilot Project

Pilot Study
The Pilot study will serve as a microcosm ‘test site’ for assessing awareness, accessibility, and feasibility of the NEM-V tariff in a sample region within California. Lessons learned will aid in the goal of creating a replicable market development plan for California and beyond.