By now you have heard that PG&E is mandating that all customers change over to the new “B” rates by March 31. These new rates will have new time of use time periods over the week and year. The question is, how do these new B rates affect my solar installation?
This question has two answers, neither one of which is great. If your system was installed before 2017, you will be grandfathered in with whatever rate you are currently on. Hopefully your PG&E business manager hasn’t already changed you to the new B rates because the new B rates are not solar friendly for several reasons. If you have a more recent solar installation, you will be automatically moved over to one of the new B rates. This depends on your demand, which is the highest usage in any 15 minute period during the month.
The grandfathering rules are as follows:
- The initial interconnection application must have been submitted by 1/31/17
- NEM-1 customers need to select a Time of Use (TOU) rate prior to March 31, 2021.
- A new solar customer must have a TOU rate prior to March 31, 2021 and the new solar system must be installed before that date.
If you have a business agent with PG&E, be sure and call him right now to get your grandfathering put into place. If he does not give you the answers you want to hear, give us a call and we can help you with this. This grandfathering of your current rate will last 10 years from 2017. From then on, you will be put on one of the new B rates. Beware that business agents from PG&E are neither well informed nor looking out for your best interests.
If you have a new solar system, you may be forced to move to a new B rate. This means your Peak times have changed to 4 PM to 9 PM seven days a week, from June to September. This means your solar system will not generate as much income for you as it had in the past. This means you may need additional solar in order to zero out your usage on your business.
Moving forward, if you are looking to invest in a solar system for your business, or sign up for a solar Power Purchase Agreement, the B rates will be taken into account by your solar provider. We have been using these new rates in our proposals for 6 months. We have found that the paybacks are detrimentally affected by the new B rates, just as PG&E wanted. However, since PG&E keeps raising its rates, paybacks are still less than 2 to 3 years.
You can contact us with any questions you may have on the new B rates and how they are going to affect your business. CitiGreen is your expert in the power business.