Help Save Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Preserve the Local Solar Industry [Sign Petition]

By Jeremy Pearl

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Last Updated on April 16, 2021 by Jeremy Pearl
Apr 16

Dear Sandbar customers and local solar stakeholders,

Our local solar industry in California and the 3CE region is being aggressively challenged by the Investor Owned Utilities (IOU’s – PG&E, SCE, SDG&E) and our very own Central Coast Community Energy (3CE).

We need your help in raising awareness and  working to save Net Energy Metering (NEM) and preserve  the local solar industry. 

Recently, the IOUs and 3CE have proposed drastic changes to NEM that would significantly impact the financial reliability and  Return On Investment (ROI) for adding solar and storage to  any home or business.  As a result, the solar community is  unifying to speak out and get involved to maintain NEM and stability in local, customer owned solar and storage.

There are 2 issues we need your help with, at both the State and Local Level.

State Level – What are the IOUs Proposing?

The utilities proposal would be devastating to local, customer owned solar and storage.  The current proposal and arguments  being decided by the CPUC is critical to NEM’s future and all the solar community in California is uniting and following CalSSA’s lead.

Proposed Changes to Solar NEM: Decision = The CPUC (credit to CALSSA for the summary below):

  1. The highest solar fees in America, charging a typical residential consumer an unavoidable fee of $78 per month on average just to have solar.
  2. Non-residential customers would also be hit with huge fees. A typical school, for example, wanting to invest in solar would be charged an unavoidable $950 monthly fee in PG&E’s territory, $1,100 in Southern California Edison’s territory, and $3,400 per month in the San Diego area.
  3. Reduces the credit consumers receive for surplus solar electricity sent back to the grid on summer days by 77% to near wholesale levels. This means that when a solar user shares electricity with their neighbor, the utility would charge the neighbor 25 cents while giving the solar user 5.7 cents in bill credits.
  4. In addition to the new fees and energy credit cuts, the IOUs proposal would also require monthly true ups, preventing consumers from carrying forward their unused credits from month to month.

What you can do to help with the State Level

  1. Sign the petition and encourage your staff, customers, fellow community members, and networking partners to sign too.  https://www.savecaliforniasolar.org/ 
  2. Polling Data: California Voters oppose changes to Net Energy Metering https://calssa.org/blog/2021/3/16/california-voters-oppose-making-changes-to-nem-blame-utility-profit-motive-for-rising-rates

Local Level – What is 3CE Proposing?

3CE, our local energy provider, is also proposing additional rate changes that negatively impact solar and storage customers while the IOU’s are negotiating their NEM changes with the CPUC.  The 3CE Solar Community is mobilizing to try and preserve the current solar rates.  There will be a vote by the Policy Committee in June 2021 and, if approved, the changes will be implemented January 1, 2022.

3CE Proposed Changes to Solar Billing: Decision = 3CE Policy Board (made up of local representatives):

 

  1. Fixed Charge – $4.50 Monthly Charge for ALL customers (on top of PG&E’s fixed charges)
  2. Monthly True Up – For NEM customers their “Net Consumption” (net consumption) will be billed Monthly while their “Credits” (net energy production) may accumulate and true-up at the 12-month billing cycle of each year.
  3. Net Surplus Compensation (NSC) – For solar PV systems that Will be reduced from $0.0662/kWh to $0.0247/kWh

What you can do to help with the Local Level Battle

  1. Sign the petition and encouraging your staff, customers, fellow contractors, and networking partners to sign on too https://www.change.org/savecentralcoastsolar
  2. Distribute the attached letter to your staff, customers, fellow contractors, and networking partners to email to your local representatives (see attached list of regional representatives).

Thank you in advance for your support and consideration,

Very Truly,

The Team at Sandbar Solar & Electric

About the Author

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.