Southern California Edison’s net metering program makes it possible for solar energy system owners who are connected to the grid to receive credit for their excess solar electricity. These credits can be used when your solar panel system isn’t producing enough power to meet the electricity demands for your home or business. However, SCE net metering isn’t a way to earn extra money – in order to qualify, your solar panel system must be sized to match your electricity needs, but no bigger.
Southern California Edison offers net metering to customers across its entire service territory in central and Southern California. That includes parts of:
The specific rates and pricing for net metering in Southern California Edison’s territory are determined based on your property’s electricity rate structure. However, the structure is simple: for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) you feed back to the grid, you get a credit on your bill for the full retail value of that kWh (e.g., the rate that you pay for a utility-generated kWh).
There are some changes coming to the SCE net metering program under net metering 2.0. These changes will impact all new solar installations beginning this summer.
|Net metering 1.0 (before June 2016)||Net metering 2.0 (before June 2016)|
|Credits for exported electricity||Full retail rate||Ful retail rate|
|Non-bypassable charges||Paid for electricity drawn from
the grid during a billing period
|Paid for all electricity used
during a billing period
|System size regulations||System must be no larger
than customer’s electricity
needs, and less than 1,000
|System must be no larger
than customer’s electricity
needs, but no restriction
|Interconnection fee||None||$75 for systems under 1,000 kW|
|Electricity rate||Standard||Time-of-use (variable based
on time of day and season)
As of early 2017, SCE is still under California’s original net metering policy, which has a cap of five percent of total peak electricity demand in the utility’s territory. However, at the beginning of 2016 California announced a new net metering program, referred to as net metering (NEM) 2.0., which will be implemented when California utilities reach their original net metering caps.
NEM 2.0 sets new guidelines for Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). For each utility, net metering 2.0 is put into place when the five percent cap is reached. Both PG&E and SDG&E have already reached their caps, and SCE is expected to begin net metering 2.0 in July 2017.
Once SCE switches to net metering 2.0, there will be no cap on the amount of solar that is eligible for net metering.
SCE’s net metering program will be structured the same way as the two other largest utilities in the state, Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric, starting in 2017. The economics of the net metering program for these three utilities will be very similar.
However, there are some other electric utilities (such as Los Angeles Department of Water & Power) in California that offer simpler net metering policies, because they don’t require solar system owners to enroll in time-of-use (TOU) rates. Because SCE’s NEM 2.0 program uses TOU rates, solar homeowners won’t always get the maximum value out of their solar electricity – grid electricity during the early to mid-afternoon hours will cost less, so the solar electricity sent back to the grid during those times will receive a slightly lower net metering credit. That being said, a good solar installer can help you design a solar system that generates more power during the high-cost peak hours in order to reduce your monthly bills.
If you install a solar panel system that is sized to meet your electricity needs for the entire year, there will be some months where your panels produce more electricity than you need and some months where your panels produce less.
When your panels produce more energy than you can use over the course of a month, you will receive bill credits on your SCE bill that can be used in future months. If your panels produce more electricity than you use over the course of twelve months, you are credited for the extra kilowatt-hours at the Net Surplus Compensation Rate (NCSR).
To set the value of the NCSR, SCE calculates a per-kilowatt hour value for each month based on electricity market prices. At the end of twelve months, you will receive a bill credit for any extra electricity at the rate that SCE has determined for that month.
SCE doesn’t offer solar incentives for every homeowner. However, the California Solar Initiative has two rebate programs that low-income households in SCE’s service territory can qualify for: the Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing (SASH) and Multi-Family Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) programs. Learn more about these and other California rebates & incentives with EnergySage’s California Solar Incentives guide.
The last step to have your solar panels connected to the grid is to submit an interconnection request, which your solar installer will often do on your behalf. The interconnection request ensures that SCE is aware that your property has a solar power system and that your system is safe to operate.
To fulfill your request, SCE will examine your system to ensure that your solar installer complied with:
There is no interconnection request fee required in SCE’s original net metering policy. Under NEM 2.0, SCE’s interconnection request fee will be $75.
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