How California’s Rooftop Solar Program Will Change in 2023
What you need to know if you’re thinking about going solar
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a decision on December 15, 2022 that changes the way net energy metering works in California. On April 15, 2023, new solar customers will be enrolled in the new Net Billing Tariff (NBT) where customers will be credited for electricity they export based on its value to the grid. Based on a press release from the CPUC, these changes were made to promote grid reliability, incentivize battery storage, and control electricity costs for all Californians.
What does this mean for existing and future solar customers?
Existing Solar Customers
- The CPUC’s decision does not impact existing rooftop solar customers.
- You will maintain your current compensation rates.
- You will continue to remain on your current NEM tariff for 20 years after your system was connected to the electric grid.
- You can expand your system by 10% or 1kW without affecting your NEM legacy status.
- You can replace your panels with like-for-like equipment (same size/rating or less) without affecting your NEM legacy status.
- You can add a battery to your system anytime without affecting your NEM legacy status.
Future Solar Customers
- If you submit an application to install rooftop solar to PG&E on or after April 15, 2023, you will be enrolled in the new Net Billing Tariff (NBT). This means customers who sign up for solar before April 15, 2023 can still qualify for NEM 2.0 – see below for steps on how to do this.
- The CPUC estimates that the average residential customer could still save over $100 a month on their energy bill through NBT.
- In addition, the CPUC’s decision provides extra electricity bill credits to residential customers who adopt solar or solar paired with battery storage in the next five years. Customers are guaranteed these extra bill credits for nine years. According to the CPUC, these bill credits combined with energy bill savings will allow customers to fully pay off systems in nine years or less.
- The Inflation Reduction Act increased the federal tax credit for solar systems to 30% and now includes a 30% credit for battery storage.
- The CPUC expects that NBT will incentivize more customers to couple their solar systems with battery storage so they can store solar electricity produced in the daytime and export it in the evening when the grid needs it the most for reliability. This means adding a battery could help reduce payback periods for new solar customers because exported energy is worth more in the evening. Read more about battery storage on our Backup Power Options page.
- The State will have millions in funding for upfront incentives for customers with lower incomes to make installing solar and battery storage more affordable. This funding will be available starting July 1, 2023.
The CPUC will publish further details about NBT this spring.
Signing Up for NEM 2.0
Customers who wish to enroll in NEM 2.0 should do so by April 14, 2023. On and after April 15, 2023, you will be enrolled in NBT.
- Visit PG&E’s website to find the Interconnection Application and learn more about the Standard Net Metering process and requirements. This is where you can create an account for your solar project.
- Apply before April 15, 2023.
- Once PG&E receives completed documentation, project approval can take up to 30 business days if there is a high volume of applications.
As long as your completed application is submitted before April 15, 2023, you will qualify for NEM 2.0
SJCE Launches New Texting Feature
SJCE customers can now sign up to receive monthly texts from SJCE with tips on how to save money and energy.
To make it more convenient for our customers to access important resources and information, SJCE will send SMS texts with updates on new programs and tips to save money. For example, when the state calls for a Flex Alert on a hot summer day, SJCE will text you tips on how to conserve energy to support a more reliable grid and save you money on your bill. Or, we will issue reminders about important dates like the upcoming end to COVID-related customer protections on September 30, 2021.
Texts are available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Simplified Chinese. Standard SMS fees apply, and customers can unsubscribe at any time.
Customers can text SAVINGS to 833-415-2329 to sign up; Text AHORROS for texts in Spanish; Text TIẾT KIỆM for texts in Vietnamese; Text 储蓄 for texts in Simplified Chinese.
TOU: Save Energy – and Money –
from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The recent time-of-use (TOU) transition means that most residential customers are now on a TOU rate plan and have more control over their electric bills. Under TOU rates, electricity prices vary according to the time of day. If you received a notice about the TOU transition and did not decline the transition, you are likely on the E-TOU-C rate plan with lower rates 19 hours a day and peak pricing from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Most customers are expected to save on this plan without changing their habits. However, by taking some of the following actions, you could save more and support a cleaner, more reliable grid.
Tips to conserve energy from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.:
- Turn off all but essential lighting
- Pre-cool your home in the morning to reduce need for air conditioning during peak hours
- Set the thermostat for your air conditioner at a higher temperature
- Run large appliances like your dishwasher, washing machine, clothes dryer, and oven during off-peak hours. Use the delay start function or a timer to help!
- Charge electronics overnight, including your EV
- Sign up to receive monthly texts with energy-saving tips and reminders from SJCE by texting “CLEAN” to 833-415-2329
Most California residential electricity customers are being transitioned to TOU rates as part of a statewide initiative to ensure greater grid reliability, fight climate change, and support a cleaner and healthier energy future. California generates plenty of solar energy during the day and wind energy is typically more abundant overnight. But between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., the sun sets just as residential electricity demand increases. By adopting TOU rate plans, customers are incentivized to use energy during the cheaper and cleaner 19 hours of the day and decrease energy use during peak hours. In turn, this will reduce the need for fossil fuel energy sources and lead to a cleaner, more reliable grid. Learn more about TOU and why it matters.
from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
San José Clean Energy Service is Getting Cleaner!
San José Clean Energy (SJCE) has provided San José homes and businesses with clean, renewable energy options at competitive rates since its launch in February 2019. On May 11, City Council approved several updates to our service and rates, including making our default service cleaner, establishing a new low-cost service, and introducing a new program for low-income customers.
Renewable content of GreenSource increased by 15%
Our default service, GreenSource, now consists of 55% renewable energy, cutting San José’s greenhouse gas emissions by 140,000 metrics tons in 2021 – the same as taking 30,000 cars off the road. This is well ahead of the State’s renewable portfolio standard of 36% for 2021 as well as PG&E’s default service, which PG&E preliminarily reported as 36% renewable in 2020. However, we also had to make the difficult decision to increase GreenSource charges by about $3-4 more per month for the average home (or 8.25%). Since generation makes up less than half of your total electricity bill, these changes would only result in a 3% total bill increase.
These changes help alleviate ongoing increases in PG&E’s above-market energy costs, which are recovered through a fee paid by all electricity customers called the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment, or PCIA. PG&E’s PCIA has risen over 900% since 2013. The average residential customer in San José will pay $20 per month in PCIA fees in 2021, up from $10 per month in 2018. We are advocating for improved management of PG&E’s above-market costs with the California Public Utilities Commission and State Legislature to give customers more savings. To learn more about the PCIA, read our fact sheet or visit cal-cca.org/pcia.
GreenValue is our new lowest cost service
Recognizing that the pandemic has caused economic hardship for some and further exacerbated affordability, we decided to introduce a new service option called GreenValue that is open to all customers. GreenValue is 36% renewable, and costs the same as PG&E.
If you wish to make changes to your account, you can go online, call us at 833-432-2454, or email us at email@example.com.
*Based on average residential usage of 482 kWh per month on E-1 (tiered) residential rate.
SJ Cares Program for low-income customers
In addition, we created a new program to provide higher renewable content for our lowest income customers. SJ Cares provides customers enrolled in CARE or FERA financial assistance programs higher renewable energy (55% of GreenSource) for our lowest possible rates (GreenValue). All CARE and FERA customers are automatically enrolled in SJ Cares, with no action required. Enrolling in GreenValue will not save CARE or FERA customers any additional money; they already receive higher renewable energy for our lowest rates.
Upgrade to TotalGreen for 100% renewable energy
Customers still have the option to enroll in our 100% renewable service, TotalGreen. If it makes sense for your home, we encourage you to upgrade to TotalGreen for just $4 more per month than GreenSource. You’ll cut your carbon footprint, protect our planet for future generations, and help us add new renewable resources to the grid. To date, we’ve invested in nearly 500 megawatts of new solar, wind, and battery storage – enough clean energy to power nearly 300,000 San José homes!