Solar Power San Diego: The First City To Reach Its Solar Cap | Blog | 123SolarPower

Solar Power San Diego: The First City To Reach Its Solar Cap

Now that residential solar power has reached this milestone, how will it affect users?


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Have you heard?! San Diego has become the first city in California to reach its 5 percent solar power milestone. This is fantastic news in terms of the expansion of sustainable energy usage, but it also means that residents have hit their net metering cap. So what will current and future home solar users do? 

Before we dig down into the specifics, let’s break things down a little. What is net metering? Net metering policies allow solar energy users to receive credit for electricity that they return to the utility grid. If a user’s home solar system generates more electricity, they will get credit on their bill for that extra energy. Then customers are only billed for the “net” energy usage. This system better allows homeowners to produce clean solar energy during the day and draw power from the grid during times when their panels aren’t at max capacity.  Net metering policies vary by state and San Diego set its cap at 5 percent of the total amount of energy being used in that region. 

Now that residential solar power has reached this milestone, how will it affect users? 

San Diegans have been leading the way in the solar revolution, topping a national list for most solar power installations in a report by the Environment California Research & Policy Center. The region has been following an aggressive Climate Action Plan introduced in 2014 by San Diego’s mayor with a goal set to reach 100 percent renewable energy usage by 2035. Cooperation by utility companies is needed to reach this goal in any region, however. Some utilities protest that net-metering policies cost them revenue when in fact they create, “a smoother demand curve for electricity and allow utilities to better manage their peak electricity loads.” (SEIA) Thus far, San Diego has been a great place to install home solar panels because of its favorable net metering policy and beneficial relationship with the main utility, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).  

The state legislature limited the amount of solar power the utility had to buy to 5 percent, and thankfully, SDG&E has announced that it will continue to buy back electricity from its customers. 

We are going to continue to buy back power at the retail rate, but what’s changing is there will be a fee for interconnecting solar panels to the reliable power grid," said Amber Albrecht, a spokeswoman for SDG&E. "That’s a one-time fee. Future customers in the program will also contribute to state mandated and lower-income energy efficiency programs.” The estimated extra charge is $115 per year and the utility believes that the charge won’t be enough to deter solar installations, Albrecht said. 

With energy costs on the rise and additional incentives to take advantage of like the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, solar is still a great solution for reducing the use of fossil fuels, increasing the value of your home, and saving money. 

You can always calculate the amount you’d save with our solar panel savings calculator. OR fill out the short form below to receive free quotes from certified solar installers in your area. 

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