A new proposal from California’s three big investor-owned utilities (PG&E Corp., Edison International’s Southern California Edison, and Sempra Energy’s San Diego Gas & Electric) will reduce the incentives for anyone who will be buying solar panels in the future.
Less Credit and More Fees
For 25 years now, homeowners in California, who wanted to turn their houses into solar homes could do so knowing they would be able to sell any excess power to the grid and thereby drastically reduce – if not eliminate – their electricity bills. This and any other incentives available to homeowners played an important part in California Energy Commission’s pledge to achieve 100% clean energy.
But now, California’s utility companies want to change that. In a joint proposal, the utility companies have listed some changes that will affect homeowners’ solar panel investments in the future for the worse.
One of the main concerns is the proposition that all new solar panel customers who send surplus energy back to the grid will receive a lower credit on their bills than what current solar owners receive. And that’s not all. In addition to getting paid less for any extra energy, homeowners with residential solar panels will also have to pay a monthly fee of up to $70 for grid services.
“We definitely don’t agree with this new proposal,” said Rainier de Ocampo, VP of marketing at Solar Optimum. “California has a very ambitious plan to convert the state into a green state with 100% clean energy. There have been numerous initiatives set in motion to help reach that goal, such as California’s home solar mandate and the extension of the Solar Investment Tax Credit, so it seems like a step back to decrease the incentives for anyone who wants to buy solar panels for homes,” he continues. “It looks more like an attempt by the utility companies to crush the solar panel companies, who they consider to be their competitors, rather than a way to create a more “fair” division between solar owners and non-solar owners,” he concludes.
If This Plan Gets Approved, Are Solar Panels Worth It?
Although the financial side of owning residential solar panels will be less attractive with the new proposal from California’s utility companies, it is still well worth it to go solar. The changes in credit and fees will not overshadow the benefits of solar energy. A rooftop solar system will still save homeowners a significant amount of money on their electricity bills, and it will still pay itself off over time. A way to ensure even more savings is to invest in battery storage to go with the solar system:
“With battery storage, homeowners can choose to keep their surplus energy and save it for when they need it, instead of selling it to the utility companies,” said Rainier de Ocampo. “This way, solar owners can rid themselves of the utility companies completely and not have to worry about getting paid less for their excess energy,” he explains.
Want to go solar before the new petition gets approved? Call us today and we will get you a FREE quote to get you started on your solar journey.