Understanding Energy Rates & Why Local Matters

Understanding Energy Rates & Why Local Matters


The Union recently prepared an informative article on solar rates, local solar contractors and why it matters on many levels to check in with a local contractor, even just for a second bid on your solar installation.

The Union writes,

“Pacific Gas and Electric is phasing out a popular rate plan that customers — especially solar energy customers — have long used to save money. There is a way to stay on or switch to the energy-and-money-saving “time of use” plan, but there’s a hitch. Few people know what to do.

“It’s called a ‘time of use’ plan because customers save money by using less energy at certain times. A ‘time of use’ plan is beneficial to many customers, but especially advantageous for those with solar systems. The time from 1 until 7 p.m. is when a solar energy system generates much of its energy, which customers can sell back to PG&E,” explained Brandon Davis, sales manager of Grass Valley’s California Solar Electric Co. “Existing solar customers, and anyone who anticipates installing a solar system within the next six months, should contact PG&E.”

Customers can remain on a “time of use” plan and others can switch to it, but only if they notify PG&E before May 31, 2016 that they want the “time of use” rate plan called E-6.” Note: PG&E has extended this deadline three times this season. Read the full article here.

Brandon Davis sees out of town installations, especially, Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), like Solar City, far too often. Nearly 30 percent of solar installations in Nevada County last year were done by companies based out of the area. Davis feels “They make it so easy to say yes. They’re great marketing companies but not great solar companies. Customers should always get a second opinion. Instead, many get pressured into signing a 20-year lease. We encourage homeowners not to commit to a $20,000 or $30,000 home improvement project without getting more than one bid.”

Customers who buy from out of town providers are coming up with issues that can’t be easily resolved. For instance, with a PPA, the leasing agent owns the solar system, so in the event of any secondary problems with your roof or the solar installation site, the homeowner may be contractually completely dependent on the out of town provider to correct the problem and negotiate repairs.

“We are very much part of the community. We have a very strong education, training and community reinvestment program. When people choose California Solar, they are investing in our local economy and local quality of life, not just an energy system.” states Lars Ortegren, California Solar owner. “We are here to help at every step of the process—bid, installation and maintenance.”

Contact California Solar today to confirm your energy rate status, get a quote, or get a second bid on your solar system by calling (530) 274-3671. Remember! PG&E is changing rates May 31, 2016, so lock in the best deal now.