Latest Comments

In response to: I've got solar; why is my bill so high?

Comment from: Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO
I am sorry to hear that your bill came as such a shocker. I have sent you an email directly, please respond to that and I will see what we can do to help. Jim
06/23/18 @ 09:43

In response to: I've got solar; why is my bill so high?

Comment from:
ambulance21290
Hi there I recently had 20 solar panels installed,I have just recieved my first electricity bill, which are normally between 750/800 dollars After solar was installed I looked at the amounts on the box regularly and to often showed 3459 and figures higher or slightly lower I used my washing machine dishwasher and pool pump during the day ,there are just 2 of us Just recieved my latest bill and was horrified t see that it was 851.80 dollars The house on the bottom block has only 5 panels and they have 5 children much heavier consumption than us there bills are around 150 i am so upset with this bill can it possibly be correct feel like i have been stitched up completely
06/22/18 @ 02:27

In response to: I've got solar; why is my bill so high?

Comment from: Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO

@Sunnyday –

Back in the day, we built an entire series of spreadsheets for each utility in our service area. Those spreadsheets encoded the details of all of the specific rate schedules that we had encountered. When we came across a new one, we built a new spreadsheet.

We would then take the monthly usage for the potential client from the past year and plug it into our spreadsheet. Usually our calculation matched the utility within pennies. We could then apply the monthly anticipated production of the proposed PV array to the past usage, and see what the new bill would be.

We operated that way for many years, confident that it was a reasonable, and reasonably accurate way to model savings - particularly compared to people who just said, “Oh, you will save $0.25/kWh produced!”

Alas, things are way more complicated today, particularly in SCE territory where all new solar clients are switched to time-of-use rates, which means that the quantity of energy produced has to be applied to when that energy is produced. Nowadays we rely on getting hourly interval data (via UtilityAPI) and we use Energy Toolbase to incorporate that hourly usage data against hourly production data, and then model that against the appropriate rate structure. Again, we believe that is the most honest approach we can offer.

You might be interested in the three-part series that we are working on now that talks about these issues. You can read it here.

Thanks for the comment!

Jim

04/12/18 @ 08:15

In response to: I've got solar; why is my bill so high?

Comment from:
sunnyday
How does one calculate the new solar bill for customer. During proposal of the system.
04/11/18 @ 21:44

In response to: Solar Tariffs - What Does this Mean for You?

Comment from:
solarkings
5 stars
Spot on analysis. I hope LG does get an exemption since clearly they have a high-end premium product that does not compete with the cheap panel models which caused the complaint to be made. However, LG, like Jinko Solar, does have the option of setting up manufacturing here in the USA and avoid any tariffs whatsoever on the first 2.5GW of solar panels manufactured. According to Jinko, setting up a plant here in the USA takes about 9-months timeframe. Living here in Florida, the news of a Jinko Solar $410M plant investment in Jacksonville, Florida, is big news. I hope things turn out OK for the LG NeON-2 ACM’s, as well as other LG solar products. TIme will tell the tale.
01/31/18 @ 13:43

In response to: I've got solar; why is my bill so high?

Comment from:
wskcondor
Ironically, the utility companies’ policy (which yes, is what the CA laws allow, but I am certain is what their political action committees created) - those policies de-incentivize any conservation. Even with solar, which is only installed and paid for by a small percentage of the population, conservation is (or would be) important if we really care about reducing carbon emissions, sustainability, etc. The current policy encourages me to use every bit of the solar I have produced, because those excess kWh are the cheapest ones I will ever get. If they cost the same as 1kWh over production, then it really would be 1kWh for 1kWh and make sense to just conserve (as well as be a greater incentive for people on the fence to install, since they could recoup their investment sooner.) I need to buy another electric car and start charging it!
10/18/17 @ 06:00

In response to: I've got solar; why is my bill so high?

Comment from: Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO
Thanks for that - in the FAQ section of that document is this clarification: “Please note that any net surplus energy credits remaining after your 12-month relevant period has ended will be given a monetary value. You may choose to receive a check, or roll-over the monetary value to your new 12-month relevant period.” So, either way, any surplus gets converted to a (tiny) monetary amount and you either get a (tiny) check, or apply it to next year’s bill. Jim
10/16/17 @ 11:30

In response to: I've got solar; why is my bill so high?

Comment from:
wskcondor
I found this in a brochure from SCE. Trying to see if I can attach it here,. But upon re-reading, I “think” they convert the kWh to $$ (and not much of it) and roll the $$ over to apply to whatever, usage, connection fees, etc. It just reads weird so I thought it might mean kWH. I can’t seem to attach, but it is entitled “Understanding Your Energy Bill For NET Energy Metering Customers”
10/15/17 @ 17:44

In response to: I've got solar; why is my bill so high?

Comment from: Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO
First off, thanks for the kind words, much appreciated. I’m afraid you are reading it correctly - even though SCE shows the credit amount in retail dollars during the year, that is entirely misleading since they will not pay you that; rather, they will instead pay the $0.025/kWh that you identified. (We installed a large solar system for a client who then moved out of the house for a year during a major interior renovation. They showed a credit of more than $1,000! I had to remind him that what he was actually going to get was just a fraction of that amount!) I’m curious about one thing that you said - that SCE would allow you to carry over the credit past the true-up as kWh. I was not aware of that, and the law does not require them to do so, making it odd that they would allow it! Can you point me to where that is discussed? Best regards… Jim
10/15/17 @ 09:26

In response to: I've got solar; why is my bill so high?

Comment from:
wskcondor
5 stars
Jim, I only recently found your website and blog. WISH I WOULD HAVE SOONER!. Awesome and clear explanation of these issues and concepts, and does not feel like a sales pitch. I have a question I can’t seem to answer drifting around the web and the SCE site (kind of confusing, and they have been changing the site constantly). In your 2/17/17 post, you talk about bill shock and the “true up” time, on the anniversary of solar PTO being granted. Briefly you mention, “Now your usage will be “trued up” and you will either get a bill to pay (assuming that for the year you were a net energy purchaser) or a check (assuming you were a net energy seller, but don’t get too excited because that payment is really tiny).” I am trying to find out…how TINY that payment really will be. I have had solar since the end of June (just got in NEM 1.0 (I ‘think”, because I can’t find a SCE thing that says “NEM 1.0”, but I appear to continue to be on a tiered program)). I am making more than I am using, after I kind of really went into conserve mode. (Ironically I conserve a lot more now than I did when I had no solar). But up to the tune of 250-280 kWh excess each month. SCE bill shows a monetary value connected with that (say it is now $120) but then it says elsewhere “this is not the value you will receive” at the end of your relevant period, even if you request a check. They state that at the end of the relevant period, they true up the NET kWh’s, (in my case that I produced in excess of what I consumed so it is “negative” in their bookkeeping) and they multiply that by a number. This number is the “Net Surplus Compensation Rate” (NSCR). It gets more confusing trying to figure out what the NSCR is based upon, but in short, they use the NSCR times your production to decide what to pay you. But the NSCR is only around 2.5 CENTS per kWh. Nothing close to the 16 cents or more that a consumer would pay to use a grid kWh. I could understand it being a “little” less, minus fees and taxes and what not, but 2.5 cents seems really small. The wind up to the questions: Am I missing something here? Is SCE really going to pay only about 2.5 cents for each kWh I paid to produce in excess (at the anniversary of my PTO)? Is there another charge factor that I am missing? It also states a customer can “roll over” the kWh’s into the next relevant period…which might be a better value, for instance in case you thought your system might be down for maintenance for an extended period of time, or you wanted to store up kWh credits for a very hot summer… Just wanted to check with you and see if I am reading this confusing SCE stuff correctly or not. It seems to me “cashing out” at the true up date is not really worth it at all. Like getting cash for airline miles or something. I suppose this is what the utility companies WANT, i.e. de-incentivize the consumer from ever selling back to the grid (net energy). But it also seems counter to what the law “intended” when it decreed the companies had to buy back power fair and square. Lastly, the dollar amount they keep showing me REALLY should be defined as , “Thanks for producing extra! this is the amount of money, after all your usage and production, that you are letting us charge our other customers for electricity that we did nothing to produce”.
10/15/17 @ 08:33

In response to: SE Takes the Leap, Highlighting Enphase's Superior Product - UPDATE!

Comment from:
solarkings
5 stars
The SEDG litigation is great news! More advertising for ENPH’s superior product. I guess SEDG never read about the Streisand Effect, eh!! The litigation is an open statement that SEDG feels threatened by the AC Modules aka microinverters 2.0, and now they’ve just gone and given it more spotlight!! Go Enphase, go! Hoping Aleo is the potential partner Enphase was alluding to in last c.c. Would get them into even more markets like Germany and all of eastern Europe. AC Modules are the way… Great article, Jim.
08/02/17 @ 07:13

In response to: NEM 2.0 is Here - Now What?

Comment from: Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO
Russ - thanks for your comment. I agree that solar owners do benefit from the grid, but the grid also benefits from the investment of the solar owners. Unfortunately, when you interconnect a storage system to SCE’s grid it is not allowed (by SCE) to backfeed the grid. Nor are you allowed to charge the battery from the grid, it must be charged by the solar system. However, if the solar system exports power to the grid, that power is credited at the TOU rate. Jim
07/22/17 @ 07:31

In response to: NEM 2.0 is Here - Now What?

Comment from:
rkj90266
Jim, thanks for this summary. I am a solar enthusiast but I support SCE’s move here at least in broad principles. The solar customer enjoys benefits from being connected to the grid, and maintaining that connection costs SCE real money which needs to be somehow recognized in the rate policies. I have some questions though. It’s called “net energy metering 2.0″ - so is the solar customer’s energy exported to the grid credited at the same time of use rates as his consumption (so that energy injected during the peak hours gets 44.7 cents/kWh)? And if so, do you think this can create a business case for residential customers installing battery systems in order to export at that price during the peak hours? Are the costs there now to make this viable? If so, this will be great for everybody … a rational rate policy that recognizes the costs at the system level and encourages individual residential system owners to contribute to the solution. Combined with the CPUC’s “Rule 21″ improvements to inverter utility support, and despite the sometimes clumsy lobbying by the utility industry against solar, the solar industry will move toward being an essential part of managing and stabilizing the grid with less and less fossil fuel.
07/22/17 @ 02:33

In response to: Who has the Edge? 3 Reasons to Pick Enphase over SolarEdge

Comment from:
Hi Bill – SolarEdge will always suffer from having a single point of failure - if the string inverter goes out the whole system is offline until: a) you notice it (maybe when your next electric bill is surprisingly high), b) you get in touch with your installer (assuming that they are still in business and willing to provide service), and c) they come out and make the swap. Enphase avoids that pitfall, because if a microinverter fails, you lose that one unit, but everything else continues as before. We have been installing the S280’s for the past year or so, but are eager to move to the new IQ6+. It is lighter, and double insulated so the cable goes from four wires to just the two hots, making wiring easier and less expensive. We are also excited about the Enphase AC Battery for clients who are on time-of-use rates. Best regards… Jim
06/22/17 @ 18:32

In response to: Who has the Edge? 3 Reasons to Pick Enphase over SolarEdge

Comment from:
wsweger
4 stars
Jim – It’s now been over 2 years since your article on optimizers vs. micro inverters, etc. With the upgrades and advancements on both sides, do you still recommend Enphase M250s, M280s, or a string inverter with optimizers? We’re looking right now and depending on what you see on line, YouTube, etc., it’s a mixed bag and has not changed too much overall. It’s still price vs. reliability, and the ROI. My head is spinning trying to decipher, and it’s been another 2 years to verify reliability of both systems in the field. Thoughts? Thank you for your advice/recommendations! - Bill Sweger
06/22/17 @ 14:21

In response to: Suniva - the Tail Wagging the Dog

Comment from: Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO
Frank – Thanks for the information - as to Sunpower I stand corrected. Much appreciated. (Though I swear I have heard Sunpower dealers tell potential customers that their panels are made in the USA!) Jim
05/01/17 @ 16:03

In response to: Suniva - the Tail Wagging the Dog

Comment from:
frank
5 stars
“SunPower is a premium (i.e., expensive) module that is also made in the U.S.” Sunpower doesn’t have manufacturing facilities in the USA. And I got the information from 10-k filing report with SEC on February 17, 2017, here is the link:http://investors.sunpower.com/sec.cfm"Our headquarters and research and development operations are located in California, and our manufacturing facilities are located in the Philippines, Malaysia, France, and Mexico.”
05/01/17 @ 15:39

In response to: Solar + Storage = $avings!

Comment from: Sara Pavey
5 stars
This is great news! Even people with older systems that have string inverters can use these batteries.
03/30/17 @ 09:58

In response to: I've got solar; why is my bill so high?

Comment from:
stephanie
Awesome article, Jim- explains, with the clarity characteristic of your writing, what customers can realistically expect from their solar system. Most helpful!
02/20/17 @ 18:36

In response to: Meet Sara Pavey!

Comment from:
berry2k
Welcome to a great company
01/23/17 @ 15:52
Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
Run on Sun also offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities, and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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