California’s net billing tariff era (NEM 3.0) is officially upon us starting April 15. Net billing drastically reduces the value of solar energy via lower compensation on export rates and complex hourly pricing. This effectively forces new solar customers to adopt batteries to store that excess production to self-consume later, and/or export more strategically, if they want to see a return on their PV investment.
As a result, battery energy storage system and service providers are all promoting new solutions and financing to maximize value for solar + storage customers.
Sunrun announced its effort this week — Sunrun Shift — that increases self-consumption during peak hours when rates are highest and reducing low-value exports back to the grid through the use of a new storage configuration.
“After the state’s net metering decision was finalized, we immediately started developing a solution to provide our customers with favorable cost savings and the many other benefits of solar power in a changing policy environment,” said Sunrun Chief Revenue Officer Paul Dickson.
Shift is specifically designed to maximize self-consumption, and it does not provide backup power capabilities. Sunrun says this configurations also minimizes labor hours, equipment costs, and the potential need for a main panel upgrade. Shift is being pitched as a cheaper, easier and quicker installation than conventional home backup systems.
“We are laser focused on bringing more affordable and stable clean energy prices to Californians. We’re seeing tremendous customer interest and desire for solar in California, and I believe we will continue to see strong growth as customers experience the value of Shift,” said Sunrun CEO Mary Powell. “Shift will not only provide greater immediate and long-term savings, but it also provides customers protection against future utility rate changes.”
SolarEdge introduced the Home ‘Rate Saver’ solar + battery solution, pitching it as a more cost-effective storage solution for “homeowners who do not require home back-up.” The battery management algorithms of the SolarEdge Home Rate Saver are tuned to NEM 3.0 rate structures specifically.
The dc-coupled SolarEdge Home Rate Saver removes the need for additional equipment typically required for home back-up, such as ac-combiners or external metering devices. No additional breakers in the homes’ load center are needed, often eliminating the need for a main panel upgrade. SolarEdge says the reduced the battery system and install cost savings for homeowners could near 38%.
Homeowners also have two options for back-up: SolarEdge Home ‘Essential Back-Up’ to handle essential loads like lights, refrigerators, computers, and garage door openers, and SolarEdge Home ‘Full Home Back-Up’, which works across the home managing larger loads like HVAC units and well pumps for longer outage periods.
Sunnova Energy International is taking a different approach: offering a free battery for new customers in California who lease a solar + storage system under the Sunnova Easy Plan. In addition to the $8,000 product discount, Sunnova notes how their lease services are designed to manage the potential reduction in solar energy value, optimize solar generation, and ensure energy resiliency in the face of an unstable energy grid.
“While some may view California’s NEM 3.0 policy as a misguided attempt to prop up the failing utility industry and undermine consumer choice, Sunnova sees it as a chance to seize the market and offer real solutions to our customers,” said William J. (John) Berger, Chief Executive Officer of Sunnova.
Lower income focus
SunPower didn’t announce a net billing specific deal this week, but it did secure financing commitments of more than $450 million for its residential solar and storage loan program — and highlighted the U.S. Department of Treasury’s guidance on the investment tax credit (ITC) adder for residential lease projects in energy communities
SunPower plans to participate in the new Treasury bonus incentive program through the provision of lease financing to customers in qualified Energy Communities. This is in addition to the recent extension of the 30% solar investment tax credit, from which customers already benefit.
“The new guidance is a great opportunity to ensure many more Americans receive the critical bill savings and job growth benefits residential solar and battery storage provide,” said Jason MacRae, executive vice president of Financial Products, SunPower. “We continue to work with our financing partners to grow SunPower’s lease financing facilities in anticipation of continued strong customer demand, which is further boosted by this bonus credit.”
Energy storage system integrator Electriq Power signed a multi-year agreement with a “major U.S. clean-energy company,” for more than than $300 million in financing to fund projects in California over the next 30 months, according to the company.
The financing will support the implementation of Electriq’s new Sustainable Community Networks (SCNs) program that fosters collaborations to connect organizations, companies, cities, and municipalities with their local homeowners, in addition to providing a comprehensive solution portfolio. The Electriq SCN lease model is often a good deal for low- and moderate-income households looking to add solar + storage. It is also a good deal for homeowners in California looking to navigate the new rules under NEM 3.0.
— Solar Builder magazine