In 2013, California passed Assembly Bill 327 which established a Net Energy Metering program. Simply put, Net Energy Metering allows homeowners with solar installations to remain connected to the grid and make saving with solar easier. Imagine a bank that you put energy credits into. Over the course of the day you produce enough energy to get your household through the night. Net Metering gives you a pace to store it. So when the solar array stops producing when the sun goes down, you use those energy credits that you earned during the day, at no charge – as long as you don’t use more energy than you produce.
With Net Metering there are no mandatory fees or usage plans and once you’ve enrolled your plan will not change for the next 20 years. However, like all great things Net Metering in its current form is coming to an end. Under the current policy, Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) like Southern California Edison will offer the current Net Metering rates until July 1, 2017, OR when Southern California Edison’s utility grid demand is comprised of 5% solar, whichever comes first. When that cap is reached, “Net Metering 2.0” will be activated.
Customers on the Net Metering 2.0 program will still benefit from solar energy savings, but the benefits won’t be as good as the current program. With more solar customers realizing that the best solar savings are expiring, many are taking advantage before the program ends – and so we could be saying goodbye to the current program a lot sooner.
In a nutshell, the primary difference between this version and the next are: additional fees, time of use rates and additional charges.
There will be a one-time grid connection fee ranging from $75.00 to $150.00. This is a small fee to cover the inspection and connection of your solar system to the power grid.
Time of Use Metering
Time-of-use metering will be required. Under Time-of-use metering, homeowners will be charged higher rates at peak times, which means more of those energy credits will be consumed to cover high use times. Conversely, homeowners could get peak credits for energy sent back to the grid during high-use times.
There will be non-bypassable charges for any power from the grid you consume. In other words your credits that you sent back do not return at the same value. You will only be charged for the electricity delivered by the utility company, and not the electricity used by the solar energy you have generated fro your home.
Additional Monthly Charges
There will be additional monthly charges and are a combination of:
- Nuclear Decommissions Charge
- Competition Transition Charge
- Department of Water Resources Bond Charges
- Public Purpose Program Charge
Future Net Metering Changes
However, the largest drawback with Net Metering 2.0 is that you are not protected from further Net Metering changes. Net Metering will be revisited in 2019 after adequate data and research has been conducted on the proposed structure.
What’s not changing
Changes to Net Metering do not affect or influence the Federal Renewable Energy Tax Credit. The solar investment tax credit stands at 30% and remains that way for systems placed in service by December 31, 2019. This tax credit is applicable to all facets of the Solar PV system from panels to battery and so on. Also noteworthy is that there is no maximum in place for these rebates.
The good news is that there is still time to capitalize current Net Metering program so you can get the best solar savings possible – as long as you act before July! Go to PacificSkySolar.com for more updates and tips on solar credits and rebates.