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The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has passed new regulations that will hike up the costs of owners with rooftop solar systems, though not to the extent demanded by San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric. Utility regulators said that the cost increase was an attempt to strike the right balance between the cost benefits available to solar panel owners versus the same for low-income utility customers.
The new decision would require new solar customers to pay a one-time fee to tie into the grid, which could be between $75 to $150 per customer. They would also have to pay an estimated 2 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity used from utility companies, regardless of the power generated by their solar systems. For the average solar user, this would translate into a monthly fee of around $6. These fees will be for what are called non-bypassable charges that go to infrastructure costs, energy assessments and studies, and for community projects such as solar power in low income neighborhoods.
The decision is applicable only to new solar panel systems. If you adopted solar last year, you were grandfathered in the original billing tariff called NEM. New solar adopters will fall under this adjusted tariff, referred to as NEM 2.o. If you read our article on what the utility companies proposed, the CPUC did a great job of preserving the benefits of solar adoption. If you’re looking to buy a new home, you may want to consider one with a rooftop solar system especially, if your electricity bills are through the roof. With talks of electric utility rates increasing in the future, an investment in solar makes smart financial sense.
Solar systems can deliver cost savings of anywhere between 20 per cent and 80 per cent. To ease the upfront costs of installation, you can use the 30 per cent federal solar investment tax credit available through 2019. If you don’t want to deal with upfront costs, Home Energy Systems, San Diego solar power installers, can provide a variety of solar financing options including Credit Union, Lease, Cash Purchase, HERO and loans customized to your needs. Since the tax credit rebate has been extended, rooftop solar continues to be a smart investment and a good move for the environment.
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