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Q about California NEM2.0 and future changes

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  • Q about California NEM2.0 and future changes

    Hi, question for the hardcore CPUC experts out there. I understand that if I get a new rooftop solar installation approved while NEM2.0 is in effect, then I'll be grandfathered and will not be subject to NEM3.0 and successors ... notably, I'll get credited for generation at the retail rate. Correct so far? Okay, here's the thing that's got me confused. PG&E's current time-of-use tariffs have high retail rates during the afternoon, exactly when my west-facing array will be at max generation and my household consumption will be negligible ... so 💰💰💰🤑! But wholesale electricity costs are, I believe, actually at their lowest during afternoon hours, and heading (some say) towards zero. So, even if I'm grandfathered in NEM2.0, could PG&E change the rates in its TOU tariffs such that afternoon retail rates become very low instead of very high (meaning that my generation wouldn't earn me enough revenue to actually offset my evening consumption)? I think I've probably made the question more confusing than it needs to be, but I hope someone can see through it and explain to me. thanks!

  • #2
    What did PG & E say when you asked them ? The best source for questions such as your asking is the horse's mouth. I'd respectfully suggest you start there.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post
      What did PG & E say when you asked them ? The best source for questions such as your asking is the horse's mouth. I'd respectfully suggest you start there.
      Boy, I wish it were that easy. PG&E doesn't provide a hotline for solar questions; they basically leave it to installers and advocacy groups to explain solar to potential customers ... and I've not found any of either that will stop the hard-sell for long enough to answer a question like this one.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mc510 View Post

        Boy, I wish it were that easy. PG&E doesn't provide a hotline for solar questions; they basically leave it to installers and advocacy groups to explain solar to potential customers ... and I've not found any of either that will stop the hard-sell for long enough to answer a question like this one.
        I am not as familiar with PG & E as I am SDG & E, but I once thought similar to you about my POCO's reluctance to be clear about what's going on. Over the years I found that persistence and professionalism get me all I need to know. That, and an understanding that I need to be active in seeking the solutions to my questions rather than simply expect to be spoon fed answers to complicated questions I once thought simple and so had not formulated the questions to be answerable.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mc510 View Post
          Hi, question for the hardcore CPUC experts out there. I understand that if I get a new rooftop solar installation approved while NEM2.0 is in effect, then I'll be grandfathered and will not be subject to NEM3.0 and successors ... notably, I'll get credited for generation at the retail rate. Correct so far?
          You are credited at the retail baseline rate until your credits equal the amount of your minimum electric delivery charge of approximately $10/month. Each month, your charges and credits are converted to a dollar amount. At true up, the monthly totals are added up. If that total is less than the amount of your minimum delivery charges (approximately $10 * 11 months = $110), any remaining credits will be made at the wholesale rate of $0.02 - $0.04 per kWh.

          PG&E's current time-of-use tariffs have high retail rates during the afternoon, exactly when my west-facing array will be at max generation and my household consumption will be negligible ... so 💰💰💰🤑! But wholesale electricity costs are, I believe, actually at their lowest during afternoon hours, and heading (some say) towards zero. So, even if I'm grandfathered in NEM2.0, could PG&E change the rates in its TOU tariffs such that afternoon retail rates become very low instead of very high (meaning that my generation wouldn't earn me enough revenue to actually offset my evening consumption)?
          Wholesale rates ($0.02 - $0.04 per kWh) are little more than zero already. But they don't "offset" your usage. Anything that offsets usage (above the minimum delivery charge) is done at the retail rate. This is why sizing your system correctly is so important. There is no benefit to overbuilding, because anything that you generate beyond what merely offsets your usage charges is credited at the wholesale rate. Assuming a price of $0.03/kWh, you would have to generate 33.33 kWh to earn a credit of $1 (again, essentially nothing).

          As for peak vs. non-peak rates, they are almost the same during the winter time (about $0.015 difference). The difference only becomes significant during the summer time (June 1 - September 30), which comes to about $0.075/kWh. But again, if you are offsetting usage charges, you are credited at the retail rate, so the wholesale rate doesn't matter. Furthermore, I don't expect peak rates to ever become lower than non-peak rates, since the actual cost of delivery is higher during peak times (that's the whole idea behind time of use billing). Thus, if your production will be highest during peak hours, that is definitely a good thing.

          PG&E doesn't provide a hotline for solar questions.
          Actually, they do. It is 1-877-743-4112. There is a lot that PG&E doesn't tell you about how NEM works unless you specifically ask. I had many misconceptions about how NEM billing worked until I read a 6-year-old BLOG post. In said post, the OP refers to a billing rate that is no long available. However, the same principles (many of which PG&E are not likely to explain to you) apply. The post can be read at http://blog.metamatt.com/blog/2012/1...f-solar-power/

          I hope this helps.
          Last edited by Epiphany2000; 11-12-2018, 05:48 PM.

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          • #6
            Thanks Epiphany2000, that's great information! I'll take the responsibility to study and digest this info, and great to know that PG&E does actually have a hotline that I can call!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mc510 View Post
              Thanks Epiphany2000, that's great information! I'll take the responsibility to study and digest this info, and great to know that PG&E does actually have a hotline that I can call!
              It's all there for the asking. Just takes a bit of digging is all.

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