CPUC extends net energy metering for solar customers in California

By Tim Henderson


Last Updated on June 26, 2019 by Scott Laskey

Feb 10

In support of clean, renewable energy, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted to extend net energy metering for solar customers indefinitely. In an important 3-2 ruling, the CPUC rejected proposals to replace net energy metering with complicated schemes that would have put solar out of reach for most consumers.

Solar energy residential customers will now be able to obtain full credit when they provide surplus power to the electricity grid. Net energy metering (NEM) is great for homeowners since it’s a billing arrangement that keeps track of how much electricity is used — and how much excess electricity is generated and put back into the electric utility grid. Over a 12-month period, solar customers only have to pay for the net amount of electricity used from the utility above and beyond the amount of electricity generated by their home solar systems.

At any time of the day, a customer’s solar system may produce more or less electricity than they need for their home. When the home system’s production exceeds the customer demand, the excess energy generation automatically goes through the electric meter into the utility grid, running the meter backwards to credit the customer account.

Why net energy metering is great for homeowners and businesses

According to the Go Solar California! campaign, a joint effort of the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission, the key advantages of net energy metering are the following:

  • Allows customers to zero-out their bills.
  • Credits customer accounts at full retail rates.
  • Accurately captures energy generated and consumed, providing customers with annual performance data.

Learn more:

Read article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel ›

Read the press release from the Solar Energy Industries Association ›

Learn more about Net Energy Metering ›

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About the Author

Tim has worked in the solar industry since 2008. He has a Master's Degree in Energy Resources Engineering from Stanford University. His years of experience include working on solar energy projects for both homes and commercial properties. Tim enjoys sharing his knowledge of this evolving industry and making a difference in his community.