First, let’s recap what net metering is and why it’s important to you. The electricity produced by your solar system goes first to your electric service panel to power your home. When your solar system produces more electricity than you need at that time, that excess solar power flows back through your electric meter into PG&E’s electricity grid. PG&E credits you at a 1:1 retail rate for each kilowatt hour (kWh) your solar system sends to PG&E for use by its other customers. At night or when you use more electricity than your solar system is producing, your home pulls electricity in from PG&E. PG&E charges you at its retail rate for each kilowatt hour (kWh) you pull in from its electrical grid. This is called net metering.
For years utilities have argued that 1:1 net metering is unfair. Solar advocates and environmentalists have challenged this argument. In 2014, this debate came to a head when the California legislature directed the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to sort it out. Thanks to great advocacy on behalf of solar and solar customers, the CPUC ruled to protect current 1:1 net metering for existing solar customers and new customers who installed solar no later than mid-2017 but most likely sooner. These solar customers are grandfathered under the current rules for 20 years.
Those who install a new solar system or expand their existing system after the cutoff will be subject to new net metering rules which have not yet been established. These new net metering rules, which are expected to be less favorable for solar customers, are often referred to as “NEM 2.0”. If you are considering adding to your solar system, you may want to act before NEM 2.0 is mandated so your solar system retains its grandfathered status under the current net metering rules.