Yes. Customers participating in an existing NEM program will be automatically enrolled into SVCE’s Net Metering Program. Net consumption is billed monthly, and credits roll forward month-to-month. Annually, in April, SVCE pays residential and commercial NEM customers for surplus generation in excess of $100, with credits valued at the full retail value of generation – up to a total of $5,000. Customers considering installing solar or other forms of distributed generation can become SVCE NEM customers, assuming they meet PG&E’s NEM program requirements. Generally, this includes customers with renewable electric generation systems (such as solar, wind, biogas and fuel cell installations) that are less than 1,000 kW.
Related topic: Customer NEM Cash Outs
PG&E performs a true-up when your energy supply service is changed from PG&E to SVCE. This process is required by PG&E anytime a customer changes service providers. From the time you switch to SVCE, your NEM billing will be completed as follows:
PG&E will continue to charge you for all non-generation services. “Minimum Bill Charges” and gas charges will be due on your monthly statements, and other non-generation charges (such as delivery, transmission, public purpose programs, conservation incentive adjustment, etc.) will be billed annually via PG&E’s annual true-up process, as described in your monthly Net Metering Statement.
SVCE generation charges will be settled within your monthly bill, rather than PG&E’s annual true-up process. If credits for generation are earned, they will be noted on the bill as well.
Customers will remain on the same rate schedule, including closed rate schedules such as E-6, regardless of a transition to or from service with SVCE. There are only a few rate schedules that are not open to SVCE customers, such as SmartRate and Peak Day Pricing.
A customer transitioning to service with SVCE will remain grandfathered on the original NEM design, if they were on it before switching to SVCE. From the perspective of the NEM grandfathering eligibility, PG&E will treat an SVCE customer no differently than customers receiving all of their electric services from PG&E. The SVCE customer on NEM will get their generation credits from SVCE rather than PG&E, but their eligibility for grandfathering is unchanged by a move to or from SVCE.
The size of your PV system will depend on a number of factors including your energy usage, roof configuration, and goals. For example, some customers seek to maximize their return on investment by sizing their system to reduce their usage just enough to avoid paying for electricity at the more expensive high-tier rates. Other customers opt to eliminate their carbon footprint by sizing their system to offset 100% of their usage.
Yes, it is possible to oversize a solar system to generate excess revenue through SVCE’s Net Energy Metering program, as long as the primary purpose of the solar installation is to provide electricity for on-site use. Customers are required to interconnect with PG&E, which does not generally allow customers to interconnect systems that exceed 110% of on-site electric demand.
The cost of a solar PV system depends on the system size, equipment options (e.g. the make and model of panels and inverters), permitting fees and labor costs.
The Federal Investment Tax Credit currently provides a credit of 30% of the net cost of the installed system. Please consult a tax professional for more information before making any purchasing decisions.
The California Solar Initiative (CSI) is currently accepting applications for rebates from low-income customers through the following two programs:
- Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing Program (SASH) – The SASH program provides incentives to offset the costs of installing solar on low-income single family homes in California. GRID Alternatives is the Program Administrator.
- Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing Program (MASH) – The MASH program provides incentives to offset the costs of installing solar on multi-family affordable housing buildings in California such as apartment buildings.
General CSI rebates have reached their full capacity in PG&E (and SVCE’s) service area, and are no longer available. Certain commercial rebates may become available, pending any unbuilt systems in the coming months.
No. Customers are not required to install energy efficiency improvements before installing solar or participating in the NEM program. However, we strongly encourage customers to explore increasing energy efficiency before installing solar, as it is typically the most cost-effective way to lower your energy bills. Additionally, taking steps to maximize energy efficiency before installing solar can allow you to reduce the scale of the system you are planning on installing.
Feed-in Tariffs are flat-rate payments per kilowatt-hour for electricity generated by a renewable resource under a long-term contract. Feed-in tariffs allow small producers of renewable energy a certain return on investment without the volatility of wholesale and retail market pricing.
Net energy metering (NEM) also allows small producers of renewable energy to offset their use of energy with excess production from their renewable generators. Under a NEM program, production of energy effectively rolls back the meter so that the customer is ultimately paid for the net of their production and use at a full retail generation rate—the same rate which they are charged for consumed electricity.
Feed-In Tariffs and Net Metering are both methods by which a homeowner or other customer is compensated for the renewable energy fed back into the grid. The main differences between the two programs are the type of rate (flat vs. dependent on time-of-day generation), number of meters required (two vs. one), and flexibility (long-term contract vs. non-binding program enrollment).
SVCE currently offers an attractive NEM program, but does not currently offer a Feed-In Tariff program.