There are a lot of questions about what net metering 2.0 means for current solar power customers and those looking to go solar in San Diego Gas & Electric’s service territory, which includes San Diego County and parts of South Orange County.
Here’s all you need to know about the coming changes, whether you are a current solar power customer or are considering going solar.
- July 2016: It’s anticipated that sometime in July the net metering 1.0 capacity will be met in SDG&E’s territory. The exact date isn’t set, because when the cap is reached depends on the rate at which new solar power customers turn on their systems. However, once the cap is reached, all new solar power installations will be subject to the new rules and pricing structure of net metering 2.0.
- Grandfathering of Existing Solar Customers: To be included in net metering 1.0, SDG&E must receive a completed NEM application and the final electrical inspection from the city/county inspectors before the net metering cap is reached. Everyone who meets this requirement will be grandfathered in and allowed to continue operating under the existing net metering 1.0 agreement for a period of 20 years from their installation date.
- Time-of-Use: Under net metering 2.0, time-of-use rates will be implemented for all new solar customers. Instead of flat-rate pricing, time-of-use rates charge more for electricity when it is in higher demand. For example, utilities use time-of-use rates to charge more for power during the summer afternoon hours when more customers are running their air conditioners, but less for power consumed in the evening or overnight hours when there is less demand for power.
- 20 years: The duration of time that net metering 1.0 customers will be grandfathered in and therefore exempt from paying transmission charges to their local utility. For the next two decades, existing solar power customers will be allowed to continue exchanging the clean, green energy they generate on their residential or commercial solar systems to their utility without having to pay a connection charge. Net metering 2.0 customers will be forced to pay a one-time utility connection fee, which is expected to be about $150.
- 5-6 years: The average amount of time it currently takes most homeowners to recover the costs of their solar power system purchase. Once the solar power system is paid off, the customer enjoys free solar power and knowing that they’re helping break our nation’s reliance on fossil fuels.
- 2019: The year when net metering 2.0 will be revisited by the California Public Utilities Commission and a more comprehensive system that accounts for the benefits and the costs of distributed solar power is expected to be adopted.
- 2030: The year by which California leaders have said they want to be getting half of the state’s electricity from renewable sources, including solar power.