Reaching Net Metering Limit for Solar Power

Solar gets more expensive for new customers

Solar customers in San Diego get credit for excess electricity they generate.  But the rules are about to change.

"Compared to the rest of the state, SDG&E is going to be the first investor owned utility to reach the program limit," said San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) representative Amber Albrecht.

When that happens, new customers will have to transition to a new set of rules.

"The way solar was done the last decade is not going to work because moving forward rates are changing,"  said Dan Sullivan with Sullivan Solar Power.

Solar customer will still get credit for excess electricity at the full resale credit for solar but under the new rules, customers will have pay one time connection fee of $132 and pay into public participation programs.  Those costs could add up to an additional charge of $115 to $300 a year.

Solar credits were guaranteed to customers until the SDG&E base reached five percent in solar power generated.  That is expected to happen the week of June 27th.  After that new rules take effect that include the new charges and fees.

Customers already using solar are "grandfathered" into the old rules for 20 years. Dan Sullivan says they are seeing a yearly growth in sales between 30 percent and 60 percent and he doesn't anticipate the changes to hurt solar installations.

"The old rules are now going to be gone and we have a new order in place but it still makes a lot of sense to go solar," said Sullivan.

So what about people who have solar panels installed on their roof but not using them yet?  "To qualify under the current program," said Amber Albrecht, "you would need to have your city inspection clearance signed off Monday or Tuesday and SDG&E notified to that."

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