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Event Description

The Federal Trade Commission held a one-day public workshop on June 21, 2016 to explore competition and consumer protection issues that may arise when consumers generate their own electric power by installing home solar photovoltaic (PV) panels – a practice known as solar distributed generation (DG). The workshop, which will consist of presentations and roundtable discussions, will focus on the following topics:

  1. The current state of the solar power industry, and anticipated technological advancements;
  2. Current regulatory approaches to compensating consumers for the power they generate, with a particular focus on net metering laws and regulations;
  3. Competition among solar DG firms, between solar DG firms and regulated utilities, and between solar generation and other power generation technologies; and
  4. Consumer protection issues, including how consumers get the information necessary to decide whether to install solar PV panels.

FTC staff live-tweeted the workshop from its @FTC Twitter account and used the hashtag #FTCsolar.

Video and Transcript

The workshop webcast videos are available for viewing (under Video, below). Viewers may want to review the panelist slide presentations (under Event Speakers, below) as they watch the videos. A transcript of the workshop is also available (under Transcripts, below).

Questions?

If you have a question about the workshop, please email opp@ftc.gov.

  • 8:40 am

    Welcome
    Marina Lao
    Director
    Office of Policy Planning, Federal Trade Commission

    Opening Remarks
    The Honorable Edith Ramirez
    Chairwoman
    FTC

    9:00 am

    Framing Presentation
    Severin Borenstein
    E.T. Grether Professor of Business Administration and Public Policy
    Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley
    9:30 am

    Panel 1: Laying the Groundwork: The Past, Present, and Future of Solar Power


    Panelists:

    • Vikram Aggarwal
      Founder & CEO
      EnergySage
       
    • James Critchfield
      ‎Director, Green Power Partnership
      US Environmental Protection Agency
       
    • Tanuj Deora
      Chief Strategy Officer & Executive Vice President
      Smart Electric Power Alliance
       
    • Allen Mosher
      Vice President of Policy Analysis
      American Public Power Association
       
    • Elaine Ulrich
      Program Manager
      SunShot Balance of Systems/Soft Costs Team, US Department of Energy

    Moderators:

    • Ellen Connelly
      Attorney Advisor
      Office of Policy Planning, FTC

    • Mark S. Hegedus
      Attorney
      Office of the General Counsel, FTC

    11:00 am

    BREAK
    11:15 am

    Panel 2: Net Metering: Pricing Solar DG at Retail


    Panelists:

    • Severin Borenstein
      E.T. Grether Professor of Business Administration and Public Policy
      Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley

    • Philip D. Moeller
      Senior Vice President of Energy Delivery & Chief Customer Solutions Officer
      Edison Electric Institute

    • Karl R. Rábago
      Executive Director
      Pace Energy and Climate Center, Elisabeth Haub School of Law, Pace University

    • Jon Wellinghoff
      Chief Policy Officer
      SolarCity

    • Tim Woolf
      Vice President
      Synapse Energy Economics

    Moderators:

    • John C. Hilke
      Economic Consultant to the FTC

    • Derek W. Moore
      Attorney Advisor
      Office of Policy Planning, FTC

    12:45 pm

    State Regulators Keynote
    • The Honorable Ellen Nowak
      Chairperson
      Wisconsin Public Service Commission

    • The Honorable Ann Rendahl
      Commissioner
      Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission

    Moderator:

    • John H. Seesel
      Associate General Counsel for Energy
      Office of the General Counsel, FTC

    1:15 pm

    Lunch (On Your Own)
    2:15 pm

    Panel 3: Competitive Issues in a Changing Industry


    Panelists:

    • Diana L. Moss
      President
      American Antitrust Institute

    • Ari Peskoe
      Senior Fellow in Electricity Law
      Environmental Policy Initiative, Harvard Law School

    • Nancy E. Pfund
      Founder & Managing Partner
      DBL Partners

    • Richard Schmalensee
      Howard W. Johnson Professor of Economics and Management, Emeritus
      Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    • Michael Wara
      Associate Professor of Law and Justin M. Roach, Jr. Faculty Scholar
      Stanford Law School

    Moderators:

    • Jade Alice Eaton
      Attorney
      Antitrust Division, US Department of Justice

    • James F. Mongoven
      Assistant Director
      Office of Policy and Coordination, Bureau of Competition, FTC

    3:45 pm

    Break
    4:00 pm

    Panel 4: Shining the Light on Consumer Protection Issues and Rooftop Solar


    Panelists:

    • Shannon Baker-Branstetter
      Policy Counsel, Energy and Environment
      Consumers Union

    • Shennan Kavanagh
      Deputy Chief
      Consumer Protection Division, Office of the Attorney General of Massachusetts

    • Thomas P. Kimbis
      Interim President
      Solar Energy Industries Association

    • Robert M. Margolis
      Senior Analyst & Group Manager
      Strategic Energy Analysis Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, US Department of Energy

    • Richard Sedano
      Principal & US Programs Director
      Regulatory Assistance Project

    Moderators:

    • Jonathan Hill
      Attorney
      Office of the General Counsel, FTC

    • Hampton Newsome
      Attorney
      Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC

    5:30 pm

    Closing

    Patricia Schultheiss
    Attorney Advisor
    Office of Policy Planning, FTC

     

  • Request for Comments

    The last day to submit public comments was August 22, 2016.

FTC Privacy Policy

Under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) or other laws, we may be required to disclose to outside organizations the information you provide when you pre-register. The Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments, whether filed in paper or electronic form, and as a matter of discretion, we make every effort to remove home contact information for individuals from the public comments before posting them on the FTC website.

The FTC Act and other laws we administer permit the collection of your pre-registration contact information and the comments you file to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. For additional information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, see the Commission’s comprehensive Privacy Policy.

This event is open to the public and may be photographed, videotaped, webcast, or otherwise recorded. By participating in this event, you are agreeing that your image — and anything you say or submit — may be posted indefinitely at ftc.gov or on one of the Commission's publicly available social media sites.