What Is Net Metering?
And How Does It Work?
As we approach the Winter Solstice on Sunday, December 21st, we experience the shortest days of the year. Of those who have solar or are considering investing in solar, many are asking “How do the shorter days and weather affect my solar production?”
In San Diego, we have a very mild experience when it comes to “winter weather,” which is one of the reasons we’ve all chosen to call this place home. We do, however, experience a few factors that reduce overall solar power production, such as the sun crossing the sky at a lower angle or the occasional cloud-covered day. These factors can reduce total light density (the sun’s rays that power our solar panels) from over 1,000 watts-per-square-meter to less than 200 watts-per-square-meter.
How Does Net-Metering Work?
This agreement, entered into by customers with solar and SDGE, measures the total energy (in kilowatt-hours) you draw from the grid against the total energy you put back onto the grid over a 12-month period. On days when you produce more electricity than your home consumes, such as a typical San Diego summer day, the excess generation gets pushed back on the grid and SDGE is required to provide you with credit for this energy. On days when you consume more electricity than you produce, as you may have seen during the storms over the past few weeks, SDGE provides that electricity and charges your account accordingly. These charges are not paid monthly, though, just once a year.
What Is A True-Up Bill?
SDGE sends you a statement every month showing production vs consumption of grid electricity. This monthly statement is not a bill, just a summary for your records. Once a year, you will receive a “true-up bill.” This will show you the net energy results and requires payment if you’ve pulled more electricity from the grid than you’ve pushed back onto it. If you’re annual over-production is greater than you annual consumption from the grid, you’ll receive a payment from SDGE at the nominal price of $0.04/kWh.
Solare Energy’s Unique Approach
When we design systems, we take into account multiple factors including your annual energy consumption and rate structure analysis. Most solar companies never analyze the customer’s rate structure and leave them on the tiered billing system. Most of our customers see additional benefits by switching to Time-of-Use billing, which allows you to earn more for the energy you produce during the day and pay less for the energy you consume at night, giving you 2-2.5 times more credit for your electricity production vs consumption with SDGE.
Lock-in Lower Energy Rates With Solar
With utility companies averaging a 6-7% annual increase, you can expect your bill to double every 12 years. Going solar now allows you to lock-in lower energy rates (as low as $0.06/kWh) and, in many cases, requires $0 down. That means you can start saving on your energy costs and immediately see an increase in monthly cash flow. With about 10 different financing options such as 1.99% financing, and PACE programs such as HERO and YGRENE, we’ll be able to help you find the solution that’s best for your personal situation. Don’t delay – get started now to ensure your eligibility to take the 30% Federal Tax Credit for 2014!