By Bob Weaver

It is a landmark decision.

West Virginia businesses and homeowners who generate their own electricity through solar or wind power can now be credited for their efforts and "run their meter backwards."

Owners who generate their own electricity using renewable methods can actually send their excess power to the public grids.

The State PSC passed the ruling last month, catching up with surrounding states.

"This agreement is a great start into Net Metering," commented Gary Zuckett, of WV Citizen Action, one of the parties of the negotiation process which brought the proposed rules to the PSC, "This will give a much needed economic incentive for homeowners and small business to install wind and solar generation equipment."

The PSC is allowing even trade for power used vs. power returned to the utility's grid. This generation credit can be carried over on a rolling twelve month basis, compared to other restrictions used by some states.

WVs maximum rating of Net Metering installations is 25 Kilowatts, where many states limits are 10 KW.

Federal tax credits can offset up to 30% of the cost of new Net Metering installations for homeowners and small businesses and the WV legislature is being asked to create tax credits that would be incentives.

William DePaulo, counsel for the citizen's groups, said "My clients, WV Environmental Council and Citizen Action Group, support these Net Metering rules as a good beginning of the active promotion of domestic small-scale alternative energy generation."

"More and more households and small businesses in Ohio are opting to trim or eliminate their electric bill by becoming part of the solution to our nation's energy crisis through Net Metering," commented Matthew Bennett of DovetailSolar.com a SE Ohio company that specializes in solar and wind energy installations.

Ohio provides a number of loan incentives.

Consumer Advocate, Billy Jack Greg, brought together stakeholders including, AEP, Allegheny, APCO, APC and other utilities and the WV Environmental Council and WV Citizen Action Group to work out differences with Net Metering.

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