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What is Net Metering 3.0 and why is it important if I want to get solar?

Updated: Jan 24

If you're serious about getting solar to replace your PG&E bill, there is no time like the present.

The California Public Utility Commission unanimously approved Net Metering 3.0 impacting all PG&E electricity customers who sign up for solar and submit their Net Metering agreements after April 14th, 2023. The new law reduces the value of each kilowatt-hour credit PG&E is required to pay you for your unused solar power.

Unused solar power? There are times when the sun is up that your home may not require all of the power being generated from your system. Maybe you're all out of the house or it's just a temperate Sacramento day in spring or fall when no AC or heat is needed.

The excess solar passes right through your service panel, through the meter (you'll see it spinning backwards) and onto the PG&E grid. They must credit you for each kilowatt-hour (aka kWh) you send their way to use against any electricity you need from PG&E at night or during the winter.

To be eligible for the existing NEM 2.0 plan, homeowners getting solar must have a completed solar design and preliminary PG&E solar application submitted prior to April 14th. The system doesn't need to be installed but these documents typically take 5-6 weeks to prepare so your deadline to sign a solar contract is really March 1st.

The urgency behind signing a solar contract asap, if you're going to do it, is in the "grandfathering" built into the new law. Until now, PG&E has been required to credit customers with solar at retail electricity rates - the same rates you pay for electricity you draw from the grid.

Now, rates will vary by time of day, time of year and overall will be much lower. The state made this move for various reasons, and if you want to dive deeper into "Why did CA pass this law" we suggest reading this LA Times article.

PG&E rates have risen at an astounding 50% over the last five years according to the Utility Reform Network and PG&E has requested another increase that will see your bills be 20% higher by 2026. The cost of delivering power and burying thousands of miles of power lines in high fire threat zones will continue to cost PG&E rate payers.

It's important to point this out to understand that solar will still make sense with Net Energy Metering 3.0 but for those who are in position to take action now, they stand to benefit even more. Want to learn more about your PG&E rates and net metering? PG&E offers a resource page to help customers understand net energy metering and is worth a look, as well.

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