Category

Utilities

SDG&E Rate Increase Alert!

By | Residential, Solar, Utilities | No Comments

SDG&E announces 10.9% rate increase.

SDG&E Rate Increase, Solar Panel Installers San Diego, Solar Panel Financing

You might have noticed this chart in one of your recent SDG&E bills. This year San Diego will be raising their residential rates by 10.9% when we are already 7% higher than the current average California electricity rate and 37% higher than the average national electricity rate. The annual National Rate Study was released recently and the numbers are alarming! For lower consumption users San Diego has the 4th largest average electricity bill in the United States.

If that wasn’t shocking enough, it gets worse for those who consume more energy. San Diego has the highest average electricity cost in the nation by a significant amount! Just under $60 per month than the next highest city, Honolulu.

Last year as part of SDG&E’s Rate Reform plan ( you can find more information about that here ) they decreased the 4 tiered structure down to 2. What this effectively means for customers is people who use lower amounts of electricity likely saw a $1-$7 monthly increase and if you were already on one of the higher tiers your would end up seeing a $5 decrease. This change effectively made the majority of customers pay more for their energy consumption. For those who consume more energy and are now thinking, “well for me that means I save money”, SDG&E wants to change that for you too. Later this year their announced Super User Surcharge will be coming. This will, in their words, “penalize people who have excessive energy consumption” and that means for those of you with higher bills will be seeing that increase in the very near future.

This isn’t something new or a one time change. SDG&E raises the rates an average of 7% annually. The best way to protect yourself from the rising rate hikes is to go solar. We can help you immediately save up to 50% off your monthly energy costs and with us being one of the few certified Tesla Powerwall Installers in San Diego, we can design a system that will maximize your savings for its entire lifetime.

Call us today at 858.547.4300 or click here to get your free solar quote and find out how you can start saving today!

 

SDGE Bill Ready Notification

By | Customer Support, Net Metering, Residential, Solar, Utilities | 2 Comments

Understanding Your SDGE Bill Ready Notification

SDGE has changed the format of their Bill Ready Notification in an effort to provide some quick insight to customers, however – as per usual, they seem to have made the information more confusing and convoluted than before. In an effort to help our customers understand their energy consumption and SDGE billing, this page will explain how to read SDGE’s notification.

Time-of-Use Rate Example
DR-SES & EVTOU2

SDGE Bill Notification - Time of Use

The terminology used on this new SDGE Bill Ready Notification is confusing, perhaps even incorrect. SDGE shows two initial sections, CONSUMPTION and GENERATION, but these only represent CONSUMPTION from the utility or GENERATION sent to the utility. SDGE does not have the ability to measure “behind-the-meter” consumption, which is energy produced by your solar PV system and consumed immediately on-site. The only energy (and data) they see is when your system is producing more energy than you are currently consuming or when you are drawing electricity from the grid, such as at night or on a cloudy day.

These categories shouldn’t be labeled as CONSUMPTION and GENERATION, but more accurately as IMPORT and EXPORT. If you read these sections as SDGE implies, you would assume that your solar panel system is under-producing. Because SDGE does not have full data for production, they can only provide limited insight into your system’s performance. These numbers are “netted,” however, which does give you some good insight into your monthly performance for Net Metering. In the NET ENERGY box (located below the incorrectly labeled CONSUMPTION and  GENERATION), you’ll be able to see an accurate account of the difference between these two numbers. If this number is a positive number, that means you imported more electricity from SDGE than you exported during the billing period. If this is a negative number, that means you exported more electricity to SDGE than you imported. A positive number will mean that you’re deducting from your cumulative Net Metering balance, while a negative number means you’re adding energy credits to be used later.

To get an accurate assessment of your system’s production, look at the online monitoring system for your inverters (Enlighten for Enphase customers, SunnyPortal for SMA customers). Through this system, you can pull energy production reports (customizable to the correlating billing period). This report will show you overall system generation, including “behind-the-meter” electricity which is consumed immediately on-site. This number should match or exceed the production expectations set by Solare Energy, though sometimes it may be a little less, depending on weather during the selected period. Solare Energy takes into account factors such as weather variations when designing systems, so rest assured that over the annual period, your system will produce enough electricity to meet or exceed expectations.

Tiered Rate Example
& Enphase Reporting 

The Tiered Bill Ready Notification shown below also has a few discrepancies in the information presented by SDGE. The most obvious mistake is listed in the NET ENERGY box that shows a negative number (more electricity exported to the utility than imported from the utility), yet the text states “You consumed more energy than you generated this period.” This is an obvious mistake, as the “netted” total is listed directly above this statement, on the graph toward the bottom of the page, as well as in the My Account section on SDGE’s website. As this is a new format they’re sending out, it appears that they haven’t yet performed a detailed quality check of these automated emails. Rest assured, if you see this, they will hopefully correct this error before you receive next month’s notification.

While the graph on SDGE’s notification email is the best resource for accurately understanding your NET ENERGY for this billing period, it only represents electricity exported to the utility, and doesn’t include “behind-the-meter” consumption. By running a report for the same period through Enphase Enlighten monitoring, you can see that the system produced 600kWh for the period, well above expectations (even with a few cloudy/rainy days). Taking the NET ENERGY number from SDGE (300kWh) and comparing to the Enphase Enlighten reported production (600kWh), you’ll see that the home in this example consumed about 300kWh over the 29 day cycle, which is on par for this customer’s typical usage. While the tiered rate structure is a bit easier to understand, it usually earns less credit per kilowatt-hour than the time-of-use rate structures.

SDGE Bill Notification - Tiered Rate
Enphase Enlighten Reporting

Net Metering for California

By | Net Metering, Solar, Utilities | No Comments
Solar Net Metering 2.0 for California

NET METERING 2.0 FOR SOLAR IN CALIFORNIA

The California Public Utilities Commission has finalized the decision on Net Metering 2.0 for grid-connects solar in California. The decision, announced January 28th, 2016, preserves much of the value for homeowners and businesses looking to save money on their energy costs by installing solar panels.

Despite protests and efforts by California’s Investor-Owned Utilities, the CPUC upheld their proposed decision with only a few very minor modifications. Overall, grid-connected solar customers will receive close to retail value for all energy pushed to the grid, and will have this agreement grandfathered for 20 years. Some changes from NEM 1.0 include an initial interconnection fee that should be $75-$150, as well as some additional “non-bypassable” charges amounting to a few cents per kilowatt/hour difference for energy obtained from the utility.

*This ruling applies to Net Metering 2.0 customers ONLY. If you’ve already installed a solar panel system, you’re grandfathered in under Net Metering 1.0 for 20 years from the date you received permission-to-operate from SDGE.
CLICK HERE FOR NET METERING 1.0 CAPACITY STATUS UPDATE.

Summary of Net Metering 2.0

Continues Retail Rate Credit For Energy Production

The CPUC has decided to keep retail rate credits for energy produced by your solar panel system that is not immediately consumed on-site. All energy pushed to the grid will be credited at the retail rate corresponding with your current rate structure with SDGE (customers have the option of staying on tiered rate structure or switching to DR-SES, a solar time-of-use rate structure).

Adds Nominal Non-Bypassable Charges

While retail rate credit for overproduction is retained, there are some minor changes to the cost of energy consumed from the utility. Called “non-bypassable charges” and amounting to two or three cents per kilowatt-hour, these charges will be incurred by NEM 2.0 customers as they draw electricity from the grid and cannot be offset by solar production.

Continues Grandfathering For 20 Years

An important aspect in being able to calculate the value provided by your solar panel system, installations under NEM 2.0 will be grandfathered for 20 years from the date the system is approved for interconnection. This ensures that you see the return on investment you expect.

Includes Time-of-Use Stipulations

For SDGE customers, the approved decision includes a stipulation regarding time-of-use (TOU) rates. All customers signing up under NEM 2.0 will be required to switch to a new TOU rate structure after five years from the date this structure is enacted (expectations are that this will be put into action sometime early next year).

Californians Support Solar!

The California Public Utilities Commission has finalized this significant decision, once again showing that California is leading the way for our nation’s clean energy future. While other states (such as Hawaii and Nevada) have bowed to the pressure of their utilities and undermined net metering and solar, California has emphatically stated its position on the value of solar and a clean energy future for our state and our children. Though California’s investor-owned utilities fought to prevent solar-friendly regulation, the CPUC has listened to the voices of California’s citizens and solar industry workers. Thanks to your support of solar and a clean energy future, we have ensured an economic environment that encourages investment in solar.

NOW Is Your Time To Go Solar

While this ruling and the recent extension of the 30% Federal Tax Credit are strong signals that we support solar, utilities and conventional energy proponents will not rest in their efforts to undermine the value and security of clean energy. The CPUC did include a stipulation in this final decision that California’s Net Metering will be revisited again in 2019. This timing coincides with the first step-down of the federal tax credit, which means if you want to get the best value possible for your solar investment, you need do it before more changes occur.

Stop paying SDGE for over-priced electricity. Start producing your own energy and take advantage of Net Metering credits for excess sent back to the grid. The federal AND state governments are pushing to give you the best opportunity to save money by installing photovoltaic solar panels and producing your own clean energy. It’s time to GO SOLAR NOW!

SDGE Rate Structure Changes

By | Prices, Residential, Utilities | 4 Comments
2015 SDGE rate structure changes

SDGE Has Implemented Significant Rate Structure Changes

With approval from the California Public Utilities Commission, SDGE and the other major investor-owned utilities in California have enacted the beginning of their “tier-flattening” strategy. This plan will allow them to adjust rates and eliminate tiers, getting to a two-tier structure by 2019. Once finished, the goal is to have two tiers (and a “super-user surcharge” that will essentially create a third tier) with a difference of 20-25% in price between the lower and upper tier. The surcharge will be added to the price of second tier energy once the high-use threshold is reached.

The changes began September 1st, 2015 for SDGE by lowering the price for tier 3 (which has absorbed tier 4), and an increase in prices for tiers 1 and 2. Here’s what the changes look like for the typical homeowner (Schedule DR – RESIDENTIAL SERVICE Effective 9/1/2015):

$10/MONTH MINIMUM FOR ELECTRIC
-AND-

TIER 1

PREVIOUS PRICE
17.41¢ per kWh

NEW PRICE
18.08¢ per kWh

TIER 2

PREVIOUS PRICE
20.46¢ per kWh

NEW PRICE
20.53¢ per kWh

TIER 3

PREVIOUS PRICE
40.36¢ per kWh

NEW PRICE
39.61¢ per kWh

TIER 4

PREVIOUS PRICE
42.36¢ per kWh

COMBINED WITH TIER 3
39.61¢ per kWh

While this may look like good news at first glance, the overall assessment is that this is the beginning of price increases through 2019 for the majority of SDGE residential customers. As price adjustments continue, the goal is to get to a 20-25% difference between two tiers. The assumption is that the lower tier will continue to climb in price as the upper tier price comes down slowly. Effectively, everyone will be paying significantly higher costs for the lower tier but less for the upper tier… until the super-user surcharge comes into play. At this point, it will be as if there is still a third tier, which will be much more expensive than the baseline price. Once these changes have been completed by 2019, SDGE’s next goal will be switching all customers to a time-of-use rate to allow prices to reflect demand.

Lock-in Lower Energy Rates With Solar

With utility companies making so many changes to how they charge their customers, and prices continually increasing, there is no certainty for the future of electricity rates. Going solar now allows you to lock-in lower energy rates (as low as $0.06/kWh) and, in many cases, requires $0 down. That means you can start saving on your energy costs and immediately see an increase in monthly cash flow. With about 10 different financing options such as 1.89% financing, and PACE programs such as HERO and YGRENE, we’ll be able to help you find the solution that’s best for your personal situation. Don’t delay – get started now to lock-in the current Net Metering Agreement for the next 20 years and SECURE YOUR SAVINGS WITH SOLAR!

2014 SDGE Rate Hike

Net Metering Status Update

By | Net Metering, Prices, Residential, Solar, Utilities | No Comments

ACT NOW – BEFORE THE NET METERING RULES CHANGE

Net metering, the agreement customers enter into with SDGE when they install solar, is going to be changing soon. The California Public Utilities Commission has finalized NEM 2.0, which will go into effect once solar production capacity reaches 5% of peak energy demand. Customers who have already installed a solar panel system, and those who install soon, are grandfathered in for the next 20 years and will receive retail rates for the surplus energy they produce and put back onto the grid. Net Metering 2.0 has been announced and retains much of the value of the current program, with a few minor modifications.

Current Net Metering Status (as of March 31, 2016)

94.47%

This represents the current NEM Installations and Applications in Queue (Cumulative MW Installed under NEM + NEM MW in Queue). This number is calculated by SDGE and was last updated on March 31, 2016.  Of the 617 MW available under the current Net Metering Agreement (5% of peak demand), 582.9 MW are already installed or in the queue (4.72% of peak demand). 34.1 MW remain until the current Net Metering Agreement closes.

WHEN WILL THE NEM CAP BE REACHED?

Some solar companies in San Diego had been claiming that “the sky is falling” since mid-2015. However, the timelines provided by more reliable sources (SDGE, the California Public Utilities Commission, and the California Solar Energy Industries Association) estimate different dates when the NEM cap could be reached.

CALSEIA ESTIMATE: May-June 2016
CPUC ESTIMATE: March-July 2016
SDGE ESTIMATE:
 July-December
 2016

SDGE Net Metering Changes

NOW IS THE TIME TO GO SOLAR!

With the current net metering agreement coming closer to the cap in SDGE’s territory, those who act now can benefit by locking-in retail rate credit for surplus energy production for the next 20 years! Net Metering 2.0 will still help homeowners and businesses save significantly on their energy costs, but does include a nominal upfront fee and some non-bypassable charges for energy consumed from the grid.

If you’ve been thinking about going solar, it’s time to get serious or risk missing out on the best value with solar and SDGE. Request a free quote and see how much you could be saving.

Enjoy Comfort & Savings – Live Better With Solar.

Data for Net Metering Status provided by SDGE.
View the full report at: www.sdge.com/clean-energy/net-energy-metering/overview-nem-cap

*Your information will never be shared or sold.