PALM SPRINGS – Vincent Battaglia of Renova Energy hoists up a large solar panel. These solar systems rely on power company rebates to make green energy cost effective for customers.
But no matter how much solar power people pump into the power grid, they will still owe a bill to the power company.
Look at some solar power installer websites and it appears one can actually make a profit. But the simple answer from Edison’s website is no. And the answer from IID Energy is also no.
Battaglia explains, “Net metering just means at the very end, that utility on their billing system goes to each customer that has a renewable energy source and they net you out and say, OK, did your renewable energy source provide more electricity to our grid than your home used, if it did, those kilowatt hours that were used, they were well spent. We appreciate it because your neighbors got to use it and take advantage of them, they didn’t go to waste, they’re in the community but you didn’t receive any other benefit other than a thank you from the utility. At the end of the year, those credits are washed away.”
If all these facts about net energy metering seem too complicated to figure out, think of it this way.
Imagine not taking all your vacation time in a year, but at the end of each year your company says, “Too bad. Your unused vacation time is gone.”
Or think of it another way. What if the government never gave you a tax refund to make up for the amount you overpay every year?
Is that fair?
In New Jersey, customers can sell their solar power back for a profit, in some cases, for$3,000 a year.
“Spain picked up on it. Japan picked up on it. Well, it’s out turn now. It just makes sense to do that. To have that same type of monetary compensation to help incentivize renewables in our region, in our valley,” adds Battaglia.
Republican Assemblyman Brian Nestande is pushing California Assembly Bill 432. It would allow people to make a profit from the extra power their solar panels create. It would start off as a pilot program for the City of Palm Desert.
Thomas Hill with Renova Energy says, “That’s an awesome thing which would allow us to get an advantage of if we generate more electricity than we use, we’re able to get paid for it.”
The word from the power companies is they’ll wait and see how this Palm Desert pilot program would work.