Net Metering Changes Proposed:
California Public Utilities Commission Considering Extreme Anti-Solar Proposals by Big Utility Companies
With on-grid solar net metering, you can sell your daily surplus solar energy production to PG&E: it’s like owning your own power plant! However, net metering changes are in the works which are likely to reduce the financial benefit of net metering for homeowners and businesses.
The California Public Utilities Commission is now considering proposals made by PG&E and the other big utilities, which would gut the net metering program. The decision is expected to be made by the middle of December 2015. The decision is still being considered so now is the time to act!
The utilities propose to greatly increase monthly fees charged to solar customers and to severely reduce the credit that consumers earn for selling surplus electricity. Together, these changes would destroy the economic incentive for installing solar, and would make it much harder for solar energy systems to pay off. Our thriving job creating industry will be decimated by this change.
Go solar now before these changes take place and you’ll be ‘grandfathered’ in under existing—more consumer friendly— net metering rules. Find out more on this NEM 2.0 factsheet for consumers from California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA).
You Can Take Action Now to Protect Net Metering!
View the Take Action Handout final PDF for a step-by-step guide to 6 actions you can take now.
1) Contact the California Public Utilities Commission and stand up for solar energy. Email the CPUC’s Public Advisor at email@example.com and urge CPUC to protect net metering and reject the utilities’ destructive proposals.
2) Submit a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. For ideas on what to include in your letter, check out the letter to the editor being submitted to local papers by Mendocino Solar Service Co-Owners Bruce Erickson & Maggie Watson.
3) Join thousands of other Californians who support solar by signing a petition to the CPUC to protect net metering at http://www.saverooftopsolarca.com
4) Send an email to Governor Brown, click on the Email Governor Brown option at http://www.saverooftopsolarca.com
5) Contact your elected officials. Go to http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov for a quick link to your representatives websites.
6) Spread the word about the need to take urgent action to protect net metering. Find shareable links at www.facebook.com/MendocinoSolar
Getting Started: 4 Seeds to Sow Now
Perhaps you’ve considered the switch to solar, but you’re wondering how well solar will cover your home’s energy needs, what a solar energy system will cost, and how this investment will pay off. Maybe you’re wondering what can be done now, so you are better prepared to go solar, later.
Solar is a lot like gardening. Namely: there are some specific, helpful steps to be taken now to better prepare your home or business to reap the benefit of going solar in the future. We think of these as seeds that need to be sown well, for best results. Read more about 4 seeds to sow now, for solar later.
Solar Financing 101
Current solar financing information is now available in this Solar Financing Resources Sheet. This document can be printed on legal size paper.
More information is available by phone – 707-937-1701 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW: PACE 101–Why Use PACE to Finance Solar?
Click here to learn how PACE can now help your household or business to save energy, save water, and save money.
Mendocino Solar Service Certified by CaliforniaFIRST & Ygrene
Mendocino Solar Service is now certified as a Participating Contractor with both CaliforniaFIRST and Ygrene, state-wide clean energy financing programs. Both PACE programs are now available for Mendocino County residents. Mendocino Solar Service can now help residents to submit PACE applications online.
CaliforniaFIRST & Ygrenen are Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing programs for residential and commercial properties. PACE makes it possible for property owners to finance the installation of energy and water improvements on homes or businesses. CaliforniaFIRST and Ygrene financing doesn’t rely on your credit rating and you don’t need to put any money down.
Review CaliforniaFIRST PACE Eligibility Guidelines in this PDF.
Solar Enters the Mainstream
Reprinted from Fort Bragg Advocate and Mendocino Beacon, Fall 2014 Home and Garden Issue
By Bruce Erickson, General Manager, Mendocino Solar Service
Twenty years ago, when Mendocino Solar Service opened our doors, the world of residential solar energy was quite different. Prices were high, options were few, and solar powered homes were mostly “off grid”.
Today’s homeowners considering converting to solar energy enjoy increased affordability, better equipment options, and more financing opportunities. What are the benefits of this opportunity? The ability to cost-effectively convert an abundant local resource (sunshine) into energy and money, right on your roof! Seamless integration, automatic operation, long life with virtually no maintenance, protection from electric rate increases, and increased property value are some of the benefits of the solar revolution.
Read more in our PDF.
Under a law set to expire 2016, customers who install a new home solar system receive a 30% Federal Tax Credit. There is no upper limit on the credit (the more you invest in your system, the bigger the credit). Tax credits are also available for businesses.
Learn more on the Energy Star website.
California Solar Initiative (CSI) is the rebate program for existing homes wanting to install solar electric systems. The CA Public Utility Commission (PUC) oversees the CSI program.
Go Solar California is a campaign of the California Energy Commission and the Public Utilities commission to encourage the adoption of solar in CA.
New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) is the rebate program for new construction of homes that will install solar. There are specific requirements needed to be eligible for the rebate.
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) offers information for cutting energy costs, and allows the customer to do a free over the phone or online Energy Use Audit of their home or business.
Database of State Incentives for Renewable and Efficiency (DSIRE) provides directory listing incentives for renewable energy and efficiency state by state.
California Energy Commission provides an online directory compiled by the CEC provides links to solar and other alternative energy resources.
HomePower Magazine is a hands on journal of home made power with articles about people living on & off grid, how to resources on solar, wind, and other renewable technologies.
Some Good Introductory Articles
Jim Deering (JD) of Artistic Building Company is a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) energy efficiency analyst. He will come to your home and do an energy efficiency test. License #691099
Other Solar Resources
Nor Cal Solar
Celebrating its 30th year as an advocacy and education group dedicated to accelerating the use of solar energy. Publishes yearly the Solar Energy Resource Guide, which offers information on all things solar and an extensive resource list.
PO Box 3008 Berkeley, CA 94603. (510) 869-2759.
National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)
U.S. Department of Energy sponsored lab for cutting edge research and development of renewable energy.
California Solar Energy Industries Association
CALSEIA is a trade association representing solar photovoltaic and solar thermal contractors, installers, manufacturers, distributors, consultants, engineers, and designers.
Environmental Protection Agency – Power Profiler
The Power Profiler will determine your power grid region based on your ZIP code and electric utility, compare the fuel mix and air emissions rates of the electricity in your region to the national average and determine the air emissions impacts of electricity use in your home or business.
Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
SEIA is the national trade association in the United States, representing companies doing research, manufacturing, distributing, financing, building and installing solar projects domestically and abroad.
American Solar Energy Society (ASES)
ASES is the nation’s leading association of solar professionals and advocates. Since 1954, ASES has advanced education, research and policy development towards a sustainable energy economy.
Other MSS interests
Solar Electric Initiative in Sierra Leone, West Africa
This concerned group brings rural solar electrification to an impoverished country. This project is a program of the Friends of Sierra Leone non-profit, an association of Peace Corps volunteers and country nationals. Co-owner Maggie Watson served in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone. http://www.fosalone.org/projects.php#SEI Or contact Leslie McKeon – email@example.com
ALL Power Labs in Berkeley, CA
This organization that has perfected small scale biomass gasification. Their Power Pallet can be used in off grid or back up applications and runs a generator off of wood chips or other bio mass. http://gekgasifier.com/
Green America Come Together
We appreciate this group’s useful guide to use when shopping to make choices that benefit people and the planet. http://www.greenamerica.org/