PG&E reaches its California rooftop limit — So what happens next?

PG&EPacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) will soon reach a milestone of 2,409 MW of installed private rooftop solar capacity on the energy grid, representing more than 275,000 solar customers in Northern and Central California. PG&E expects to reach this state-mandated limit for its current rooftop solar program this month.

With this milestone, new solar customers that PG&E connects to the energy grid will be on the next version of the net energy metering (NEM) program – called NEM 2. NEM is the program for private rooftop solar customers who generate their own solar energy and use PG&E energy at night or when the sun’s not shining.

“PG&E is dedicated to supporting our customers’ choice and control when it comes to their energy. Because of our commitment to clean energy, we want to make sure our customers are well-informed and prepared as they start on their solar journey. We’re here to help them throughout the process and to safely and quickly connect them to the energy grid,” said Aaron Johnson, Vice President of PG&E’s Customer Energy Solutions.

While NEM 2 makes modest changes to the structure that has been in place for more than 20 years, rooftop solar customers continue to receive subsidies that are borne by all other customers. The solar market has evolved and PG&E is committed to working with all parties to find the right balance to support the continued growth of solar and align the cost of the energy grid for all customers.

Exploring the NEM 2 program

The NEM 2 program for new solar customers makes modest adjustments compared to the existing program, including:

• A one-time fee for PG&E to safely and quickly connect a customer’s rooftop solar system to the energy grid, which will be $145 for customers installing a system that is one megawatt or less in size. An average residential customer’s solar system is five kilowatts in size.

• A small charge for state-mandated costs contributing to public purpose programs such as low-income or energy efficiency customer programs. New solar customers on the NEM 2 program will pay these charges on electricity they use from PG&E’s grid, but not on electricity they use that’s generated by their solar panels. All other PG&E customers pay these same charges for all of their energy use.

• New solar customers will be on a time-of-use rate plan in which the price of electricity depends on the time of the day.

Solar customers who have already installed their solar panels and are on the existing version of NEM will be grandfathered into that program for 20 years from the date their solar system was connected to the grid.

 

— Solar Builder magazine

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