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Your Solar Savings - Stolen?

11/30/15

  07:37:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 390 words  
Categories: Solar Economics, SCE, Residential Solar, Ranting

Your Solar Savings - Stolen?

You may have heard that there are forces afoot - brought to you by the investor-owned utilities - that would lead to a “catastrophic” diminution of savings from solar power systems.  Stories from the LA Times, to CNBC, to even the Motley Fool all are proclaiming that change is coming to solar and the end is in site for any real solar savings.  To which we say - not so fast.  Take a deep breath and read on to see our take.

For example, just today the LA Times ran a story in the Business section quoting solar customers who were “just so angry” over not having access to renewable energy credits (RECs) under the state’s new renewable energy targets law.  Yet, that isn’t a change to past practices – no residential client has been able to sell RECs on the open market.

CPUC logoSimilarly with the upcoming changes in the state’s net metering rules - while the investor owned utilities, including our own Southern California Edison, are lobbying like mad to make solar less economically appealing, no decision has yet been reached.  Moreover, the California Public Utilities Commission (which is charged with resolving this issue) has consistently sided with the solar industry, and most likely will do so now.  If they don’t, there will still be the option of seeking a legislative fix before the new rules can go into effect.

And that raises yet another point that counsels for a less breathless approach to all of this: the new rules won’t take effect for at least a year, and clients who install solar before then are locked into the present, solar-friendly net metering rules for the next twenty years!

So let’s recap:

  • Today’s “solar-friendly” net metering rules will still be available to solar clients for at least the next year;
  • A consumer who installs solar before the new rules go into effect will be grandfathered into the current rules for 20 years; and
  • The 30% federal tax credit remains in effect going into 2016.

But there is one catch here - the second half of 2016 is poised to be crazy with lots of consumers trying to get their projects completed in time to take the tax credit.  This will invariably lead to a real crunch and folks who wait too long will miss out.  If solar is in your plans for 2016, the time to get started is now!

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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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