Community Choice Energy – Good for the Environment & for Solar Customers
Solar homeowners get a letter that gives details about special timing for enrollment. The timing is driven by your true-up date, and its goals are to make sure that you don’t lose any credit you may have banked with PG&E and that you don’t have to pay a big true-up bill at a time of the annual cycle when you weren’t expecting to.
For solar homeowners, CCE’s net metering programs are typically better than PG&E’s, especially if your system produces more kWh over the year than you consume. Overproducing systems are paid full retail prices for the electricity portion of the overproduction, not PG&E’s ~2.7 cents/kWh “generation rate” (also called net surplus compensation rate) as of July 2017. Most CCE’s also give a higher credit for the net energy you send back to the grid in any given month, typically $.01 per kilowatt-hour.
Another plus: CCEs allow solar customers to purchase electricity from 100% renewable energy sources for electricity that you don’t produce yourself. PG&E has a 100% renewable program, however solar customers aren’t eligible for it. PG&E’s renewable energy costs about 2 cents/kWh more than their standard electricity offering, but the CCE Renewable Energy programs cost less. Also, CCE’s standard electricity offerings are slightly less expensive than PG&E’s standard offerings and the rate options mirror PG&E’s.
Community Choice Energy Agencies:
MCE Clean Energy (MCE) – this first CCE program in California covers Marin County and in 2018, rolled out to almost all of Contra Costa County.
Sonoma Clean Power (SCP) was the second CCE program in California. SCP just completed their third and final “Drive EV” program in November 2018.
CleanPowerSF started serving San Francisco businesses and residents in 2016.
Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) was founded in 2016, is based in Sunnyvale and serves 13 Santa Clara County communities.
East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) is coming to almost all of Alameda County residences i Nov 2018 (commercial accounts started a few months ago), and will be the largest CCE program in California. Alameda county cities signing up for EBCE include Albany, Berkeley, Dublin, Emeryville, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Oakland, Piedmont, San Leandro, and Union City. The East Bay Express published an article about EBCE in July 2018.
San Jose Clean Energy is expected to launch in February 2019 for San Jose residential and commercial accounts.
Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) began providing lower-cost, carbon-free electricity during 2018 to Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Monterey Counties.
In late 2018, arrangements were worked out for the cities of San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay (both in San Luis Obispo County) to join with Monterey Bay Community Power. These two cities, and perhaps others that may join with MBCP as well, will begin receiving carbon-free electricity starting in January of 2020.
CalCCA represents CCE providers to the California legislature and regulatory agencies.
The Local Clean Energy Alliance works at the Bay Area, state and national level to promote clean energy and “local power” in the sense of democracy as well as energy. LCEA Coordinator Al Weinrub edited the new book Energy Democracy: Advancing Equity in Clean Energy Solutions.
LEAN Energy works to accelerate expansion and success of CCE nationwide.
Clean Power Exchange (CPX) was started to help form Sonoma Clean Power, the second CCE program in California. It now works to expand CCE throughout California and beyond. CPX has a statewide interactive CCE map.
The Clean Coalition helps CCE providers navigate legal, regulatory and financial issues for successful energy procurement, risk management and managing relationships with utilities and regulators.
Wikipedia provides a summary of national as well as California CCE programs here.
The federal solar tax credit is extended two more years. Take advantage of the higher solar tax credit this year than was anticipated.
The net energy metering program in California will likely change to a new program at the end of 2021. People considering solar systems for their homes will likely benefit by installing solar in 2021 with the current version of net energy metering (NEM 2.0)
In general, an existing solar system can be upgraded to add battery backup. However, it is expensive and SunWork does not install batteries at this time.
Installing batteries for backup purposes can cost $15,000 to $30,000
Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid” according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Net Metering is short for Net Energy Metering (NEM). NEM basics: During the day, your solar system generates energy. When you’re away, most of your solar energy
The California’s Solar Rights Act was passed in 1978 and it allows Home Owner Associations (HOAs) to impose “reasonable restrictions” on solar systems, however, it prevents HOAs from disallowing solar on homes. In 2014 the act was amended to define the nature of the restrictions that an HOA can impose. Such restrictions can’t: