By Jeremy Pearl
In August 2020, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) started a motion to change California’s net energy metering (NEM) program for the second time in four years. Experts are calling this “NEM 3.0.” While there are currently no new rules to report, changes are expected to be approved this year.
In this post, we’ll provide an overview of net metering 3.0 in California, what you need to know about the future of the program, and how it affects customers interested in going solar.
Let’s dive in.
Net energy metering is a program that allows businesses and homeowners to generate electricity with a private solar energy system and to send the power they do not use back into the grid for a billing credit.
These credits can offset electricity costs and help customers lower their utility bills.
Here are a few big benefits of NEM for customers:
Proposed changes to NEM include the following:
Our local energy provider, Central Coast Community Energy (3CE), has also proposed rate changes that will impact solar customers. As it stands now, a Policy Committee vote is scheduled for June 2021. If approved, changes will go into effect on January 1, 2022.
3CE’s proposed rate changes are problematic for NEM customers. Not only would they damage current solar jobs and businesses across 3CE territory, but the changes would also put an end to the 15% growth rate projected if solar NEM rates are left unchanged.
As it stands now, many solar customers are upset about 3CE’s proposed rate changes. Customers believe 3CE should avoid changing its solar rates until the IOU sets its rates – hopefully later this year.
Until then, 3CE should honor its commitment to beat the IOUs’ state mandated rates for solar customers, thereby supporting local solar customers across the board.
The new NEM rates are proposed for approval in June 2021. If approved, the 3CE (our local energy provider) solar rate hikes could go into effect as soon as January 1, 2022. These rate hikes would have a long-lasting effect on both solar production and storage.
Here are some of the likely impacts:
The majority of California voters oppose changes to NEM — and for good reason. If the measures pass, they will make solar power more expensive and difficult for California residents and businesses to access.
So, what can you do to protect solar access in California?
First, we recommend using your voice to sign one of the many petitions circulating the web. People in California can sign this petition. People who live on the Central Coast specifically can sign this petition, as well. You can also view our recent blog on the topic.
Next, we recommend that you call and write to your local representatives to let them know you support more rooftop solar on homes, not less, and that you are concerned that these new proposed NEM changes will negatively impact people’s ability to go solar and achieve energy independence.
Spread this message far and wide to your friends, families, co-workers, and peers. Stay engaged and keep an eye out for opportunities to amplify your voice.
If we band together, we can save solar power in California, and resist the unneeded and expensive changes to solar policies in this state.
Jeremy has worked in the solar industry since 2006. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from UC Santa Cruz in Environmental Studies. Jeremy has spent most of his solar career in residential sales and Sales Management in both California and Hawaii. He was raised in Santa Cruz County and is passionate about helping local residents make the switch to clean and reliable renewable energy. Jeremy lives on the Westside with his wife and two boys and enjoys music, photography and hiking in his personal time.
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