The San Diego Gas & Electric territory reached the solar power net metering 1.0 cap on Wednesday morning, establishing the region as a statewide leader in solar power and triggering changes to how solar users will be handled in the future.
SDG&E Customer Generation Manager Ken Parks said the region served by his utility was the first in California to reach the cap for how much power generation can come from residential and commercial solar power systems under existing rules. Other utilities around the state, including Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric, are not expected to reach their solar caps for another year.
The fact that the San Diego County region reached the solar power cap first proves that solar power has taken hold in the region and is here to stay, Parks said.
“The good news is, this is not a major change that was proposed,“ Parks told a gathering of local solar power companies shortly after the cap was officially reached. “All in all, I think we’re in good shape and net energy metering is going to be around for a long time.”
Net Metering 2.0 Changes
SDG&E hitting its net metering 1.0 cap means some changes are coming for any customers who go solar in the future. Parks said between 2,000 and 3,000 pending solar power applications that had been filed but not finalized before the deadline was reached will have to be cancelled and resubmitted to the utility for consideration under the new solar rules.
However, the change will not immediately affect the approximately 93,000 solar power customers who have already gone solar in the SDG&E territory, Parks said. Those existing solar customers will be “grandfathered in” and allowed to continue operating as they have been under the old net metering 1.0 rules for 20 years, when they will be moved over to the net metering structure that is in place at that time.
Existing solar power customers who went online under net metering 1.0 rules also will be allowed to add on to their current systems without triggering a change to net metering 2.0 rules, as long as they add no more 10% of their current system size or a total of one kilowatt, whichever is greater.
In the SDG&E territory, the new solar power rules include:
A new, one-time connection fee of $132.
New, non-bypassable charges of 2 cents per kilowatt hour of power that is delivered to a home. For a typical customer who uses 500 kilowatt hours per month, the new charge would amount to $10 per month.
New time of use pricing, which will charge all SDG&E customers, including solar power users, for energy based on the time of day they consume it, not how much energy they use. Details of the new time of use structure are expected to be ironed out later this year and adopted in February 2017.
Even with the changes that come from moving to net metering 2.0, solar power in the San Diego region remains a sound investment that can yield positive financial and environmental results for decades to come.