Net energy metering (NEM) utilizes the electric grid to store any excess energy your SunPower solar panel system produces to use at a later time. These credits can be used when your solar energy system doesn’t produce enough power to meet your home’s electricity needs (at night, on cloudy days or during the winter, for example). However, in order to qualify for the net metering program, your system must be sized to match your electricity needs but no bigger. As the policy and solar incentive that the solar industry was built on, NEM can save you hundreds of dollars on your utility bills every year and over the lifetime of your solar energy system, it can save you tens of thousands of dollars.
Southern California Edison (SEC) offers net metering to customers across its service territory in the following Southern California counties:
- Inyo County
- Kern County
- Los Angeles County
- Orange County
- Riverside County
- San Bernardino County
- Ventura County
With power outages and wildfires occurring more frequently and utility costs continuing to rise, going solar is a viable option for homeowners to protect their home all year round and keep the lights on when they need it most. Here’s some important information to know about net metering before you go solar.
How Does Net Metering Work?
When you add solar panels to your rooftop, they utilize the power of the sun to produce energy to power your home. Thanks to the bountiful amount of sunshine in Southern California, your system will often generate more electricity than your home needs on a daily basis. Net metering allows you to pay the difference between the energy your system generates and the amount of energy your home needs during a monthly billing cycle. As a result, you pay for the total monthly “net” energy your home needs.
What are Southern California Edison’s (SEC) Net Metering Rates and Prices?
Rates and pricing for net metering in SEC’s territory are based on your home’s electricity rate structure. For each kilowatt-hour (kWh) your system sends to the grid, you get a bill credit for the full retail value of that kWh. When SCE switched to net metering 2.0 policy in 2017, the original cap of 5% of total peak electricity demand was reached. Today, there is no cap on the amount of solar that’s eligible for net metering.
Is SEC Net Metering the Best in California?
While the SEC’s net metering program is structured the same as Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric (the two other largest utilities in the state), there are some other electric utilities that offer more simple policies. For example, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power doesn’t require solar system owners to enroll in time-of-use (TOU) rates. Southern California Edison’s NEM 2.0 program uses TOU rates so homeowners with solar on their rooftop won’t always get the maximum value for the electricity their system produces. Any grid electricity produced during early to mid-afternoon will cost less, so the electricity your system sends back to the grid during this time will have a slightly lower credit. LA Sun Partners can work with you to design a solar energy system that generates more power during the high-cost peak hours so we can save you more money on your monthly energy bills.
What Happens to Excess SCE Net Metering Credits?
When LA Sun Partners designs and installs a solar energy system that meets your electricity needs for the year, there will still be months where your panels produce more than your home needs and some where it produces less. When your panels overproduce, you receive bill credits on your SCE bill that can be used in future months and if your panels produce more than your home needs during the entire year, you’re credited for those extra kilowatt-hours at the Net Surplus Compensation Rate (NSCR). To set the NSCR value, SCE calculates the monthly per-kilowatt hour value based on electricity market prices. At the end of the year, you’ll receive a bill for extra electricity at the SCE rate that was determined for that month.
SCE Solar Interconnection Policies and Costs
The final step to connect your solar panels to the grid is to submit an interconnection request, which LA SunPower can do on your behalf. This request ensures SCE is aware that your home has a solar panel system that’s safe to operate. After you submit your request, SCE will examine your system to ensure LA Sun Partners met all the requirements, including:
- All SCE interconnection regulations (“Rule 21”)
- Electrical panel requirements
- The National Electrical Code
- Other applicable local codes
While there’s no interconnection fee in SCE’s original net metering policy, their NEM 2.0 interconnection request fee will be $75.
If you’re interested in going solar and saving money on your monthly energy bills, we’re ready to help you save. Contact us today for your free custom quote!