Professor of Law, Univ. of Richmond

Joel Eisen


Assistant Professor of Law, Univ. of South Carolina

Shelley Welton

Interviewer:  David Spence, April 4, 2019



Net Metering & the Value of Distributed Solar Generation

by Joel Eisen and Shelley Welton

“Net metering got adopted because it is a simple policy. I don’t worry a lot about net metering where there are low levels of adoption because it has a miniscule effect on retail rates. As you get to higher penetrations of rooftop PV that cost shift starts to get more dramatic.”

“PUC proceedings being exceedingly technocratic, it can be very difficult for lower income customers to participate actively and meaningfully. Value of solar studies are about trying to bring more people into the process. That sort of democratic participation value is important.”

“Rooftop solar is beautiful for avoiding siting controversies. But it is a more expensive option. As we scale up the transition we are going to have to be more mindful of costs.”


Joel Eisen teaches and writes in the areas of energy law and policy, environmental law and policy, climate change, and the Smart Grid.  From 1993-2005, he was Director of the Robert R. Merhige, Jr., Center of Environmental Law. In 2009, Professor Eisen served as a Fulbright Professor of Law at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, China.

Shelley Welton is an Assistant Professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Her research focuses on how climate change is transforming energy and environmental law and governance. She received her Ph.D. in Law from Yale Law School, her J.D. from NYU School of Law, a Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and her B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

To learn more about Joel Eisen and Shelly Welton, please visit Joel Eisen’s home page HERE and Shelley Welton’s home page HERE.