Across California, homeowners with rooftop solar may soon be facing much higher monthly utility bills.
San Diego Gas & Electric is trying to raise its minimum utility charge from $10 to $38 per month. Starting in November 2019, new solar users in Merced will have to pay a $65 monthly fee—including those who have purchased a home from an existing solar user. Meanwhile, Redding’s electric utility is attempting to slash the net metering credit (for negative net consumption) and charge all solar users a new $10 per month fee.
Why are so many California homeowners being penalized just for having solar?
The utility companies claim that solar customers are not paying their fair share to operate and maintain the electric grid. They say this unfairly shifts the burden to the other customers who don’t have solar. That’s right, the utility companies are all about “fairness” now.
In fact, solar actually reduces a household’s burden on the grid. More self-generated power means less power the utilities have to generate themselves or purchase from power plants. This drives down the market price of energy, which benefits all ratepayers. With more homes generating their own power, fewer transmission/distribution upgrades are needed. Communities become more resilient to major power outages. In short, rooftop solar threatens the utility companies’ profit margins, so they’re doing whatever they can to undermine solar.
With home solar under attack by the utility companies, how do homeowners fight back? One way is to pair their rooftop panels with an energy storage system. With these systems, self-generated solar power is stored for use when there is no sunshine—including evening hours, when Time of Use utility rates are often twice as high. Storage systems also provide critical backup power, keeping homes comfortable and connected in the event of a blackout.
One of the most sophisticated energy storage systems on the market comes from San Diego: the NeoVolta NV14. The NV14’s advanced lithium iron phosphate battery is designed for safety and a longer life cycle than ordinary lithium ion batteries. It has a high storage capacity of 14.4 kilowatt hours (kWh) and delivers 7.6 kW of continuous power, easily outperforming competitors in its class.
The NV14 can connect with any residential solar installation—new or existing, AC or DC. Homeowners who require more storage capacity can add a second battery and avoid the expense of installing another entire system (inverter and battery); this option will be available in November 2019. With NeoVolta’s NV14, homeowners can design a system that is tailored to their needs and see significant savings on their monthly bill.
“These solar fees are an outrageous attempt by California utility companies to wipe out the financial incentives of home solar,” said Brent Willson, CEO of NeoVolta. “If your utility company tries to penalize you for having solar, make your voice heard in the community and with your representative in Sacramento. And by installing the powerful, long-lasting NV14 storage system, you can protect yourself from utility company pricing manipulations for years to come.”