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Time-Of-Use Rates, NEM 2.0, and Solar

2 years 2 months ago

time of use rates

Yes, the solar industry is excited for the major victory in NEM 2.0, assuring that customers earn retail-rate payments for their excess energy. This policy has helped increase the amount of solar installed in California. This new policy also requires a transition to time-of-use rates (TOU) for net-metered customers. What is a TOU rate? Utility companies like PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E, will charge different prices during different times of the day. The purpose of this is to attempt to better match real-time energy costs across the grid. Most agricultural and commercial customers are already required to use TOU rates, so no real change there.

How do TOU work?

Utility companies have created peak rates which can be anywhere from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you have solar, luckily those are the times that solar panels are producing more electricity. If your solar panels are producing more electricity than you are using during the day, that excess gets sold back to the grid at the peak rate. At night, when your solar isn’t producing, your utility company sends you back the electricity that you didn’t use at a lower rate.


It is important to properly factor in TOU to your initial solar panel design. With net metering, utilities will most likely NOT pay extra if you lower your bill past zero. That’s why it is important to work with a company that has experience in design and can get you to as close to zero as possible, but not lower than that. 

Net Aggregated Metering 2.0

2 years 3 months ago

What should you know about NEM 2.0

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved the newest net metering tariff for PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E customers on January 28, 2015. This will apply to customers who install solar after each utility has met their caps on the previous tariff. This new net metering has an additional ongoing fee as well as an upfront fee. It also requires that customers use time-of-use rates. So, if you've been thinking about installing solar, it's a good time to make the next move...

What is the one-time upfront fee?
This fee is part of the interconnection application. The fee starts at $75 for SCE, $132 for SDG&E, and $141 for PG&E and is mostly likely to increase in the future.

What are the Time-Of-Use Rates?
Currently, if you are a residential customer, you have the choice between traditional tiered rates and time-of-use (TOU) rates. TOU rates encourage customers to limit their usage during high demand times. The NEM 2.0 requires residential customers to be on TOU rates if they decide to install solar. Agricultural and commercial customers are almost all already required to use TOU rates, so no real change there. 

What are the ongoing fees?
The ongoing fees (i.e. tariffs) are considered public purpose (non-bypassable) charges, such as low-income bill assistance, energy efficiency rebates, energy research, and nuclear decommissioning.  These charges are essentially exempt from the current NEM program, but NEM 2.0 will narrow this exemption which means an additional hundreds or thousands of dollars per year depending on your electricity usage.

These tariffs apply only to customers who install solar after the utility companies thresholds are met, which is expected to happen this year or early next year. So if you’re thinking about installing, I’d think soon!

Premier Renewables and Grid Alternatives Take College Spring Breakers on a Tour of Topaz Solar Farm

2 years 3 months ago

Every year Grid Alternatives provides a spring break program where select students from all around the world are chosen to spend a week learning about solar in California. Premier Renewables, a local agricultural solar company was able to volunteer to help Grid Alternatives and their spring breakers take a tour of Topaz Solar Farm. Tori Degen, the coordinator of the program noted that “It was an awesome opportunity for students to tour an incredible project that many people don’t get to see. I think it opened their eyes to the possibility of a career in solar, something they may not have considered before seeing Topaz. The students are majoring in a number of subjects - law, pre-med, environmental science and policy - so it was neat for them to hear that solar careers aren't just in construction and installation. There's a need for people in communications, development, project management, sales - across the board." We were lucky enough to have the delightful Maria Kelly take us around the Solar Farm and explain to us the details regarding the project. Many of the spring breakers came from all around the world, and with Topaz solar farm being one of the world’s largest solar installations, they were excited to have the opportunity to tour the property, "I thought it was really amazing to be able to tour an area that people don't normally have access to and learn about all the energy they are generating for so many communities and households in the region. I found the biology aspect of it incredible as well - how much thought and surveying they put in to the protection of the land and animal species that live there” said Shambhavi, a student from India.

Topaz solar farm is a 550 MW photovoltaic power station in San Luis Obispo County, California. This $2.5 million project includes almost 9 million thin film solar panels spread across 9.5 square miles, the equivalence of 4,600 football fields. According to First Solar, this project created 400 construction jobs for the county and the annual generation of the farm is projected to produce 1,100 GWh, which is enough energy to power 180,000 average California homes!

Topaz Solar Farm has a 25 year Power Purchase Agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). A Power Purchase Agreement is similar to a lease in the sense that a third party owns and maintains the renewable energy system on the individual or companies behalf. The individual or company agrees to pay for the electricity generated at a rate lower than their current electricity bill. A Power Purchase Agreement or PPA has been growing in popularity, as it allows many commercial and agricultural companies to install a solar energy system at no upfront costs. If you would like more information regarding a PPA or if you have questions about solar, feel free to contact Premier Renewables LLC. Premier Renewables specializes in solar energy solutions for commercial, agricultural businesses, non-profit organizations, and government entities. Our commitment to quality, integrity, and dependability has allowed us to provide cost effective solar energy systems that are custom built to suit the individual needs of our customers. A special thanks to Tori Degen at Grid Solar as well for the opportunity to participate in this special program!

Cloud Inc. Goes Solar

2 years 4 months ago

Premier Renewables recently completed a rooftop solar project for Cloud Inc. in San Luis Obispo. Cloud Inc. offers a wide range of products to provide the highest quality Rotary Impingement tank cleaning machines, equipment, and service available. Premier Renewables recently designed a 100 kW solar energy system for Cloud Inc. using Canadian Solar modules and Solectria Inverters. This project is designed to offset 90% of their utility bill and produce over 175,000 kWh annually.


2 years 4 months ago

solar promotion for a free hunting trip

In case anyone is interested in hunting..... we are offering an all expense paid mule deer, or elk hunt. Refer a friend, company (or yourself for that matter) and we'll send you to go hunt muley's in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, or New Mexico - ON US! The referral must be someone that has agricultural solar needs, or might already be thinking about solar. Cold storage or dairy, etc... if we install a system for them you get to go! Just send in the information today to get started. info@premierrenewables.com

World Ag Expo 2016

2 years 5 months ago

Another year, another World Ag Expo. The turnout for the 50th anniversary of the World Ag Expo was groundbreaking, with attendance exceeding 106,000 visitors last Wednesday. Over 70 countries were represented this year, showing the latest agricultural equipment and technology. We were excited to be one of the 1,500 exhibitors for our third year in a row. Although we weren’t able to make it to one of the many seminars we heard great things about them, maybe next year. Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth, it was a pleasure meeting you and we hope to stay in touch, and for our returning customers, it is always great to see you! We look forward to continuing to build our relationships with the agricultural community. And just in case hunting interests you, we are offering an all-expense paid mule deer or elk hunting trip. Just refer a friend, company (or yourself for that matter) that is interested in solar and we’ll send you to go hunt muleys in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana or New Mexico – On us! We’re already looking forward to what next year’s World Ag Expo brings and we hope to see you there!


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