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Our Top Performing Blogs Posts of 2019
By Tracy Fosterling
on 7/9/2019
  • General Interest
  • Net metering
  • rate design

We're already halfway through the year, and a lot has happened in the renewable market in the first 6 months of 2019. From new policy changes to allow energy storage net metering, to arguably one of the biggest changes of the year, California's three investor-owned utilities (IOU's) went through a major electric rate reform, rolling out time-of-use (TOU) rates as the default for all customers. These rate reform changes made big waves in the solar community raising a lot of questions as the new rates began being implemented. 2019 has overall brought a lot of changes which has allowed us to write insightful, educational content to pass onto our readers. We've narrowed down the top 5 blogs that you've read the most:

1.) SCE's Final Decision Rates, Part 1: Residential Rates

It's no surprise that the top-performing blog so far this year has had to deal with one of California's most controversial changes to electric rates. Southern California Edison (SCE) began implementing its new TOU rates in March for its residential customers and these new rates have a significant impact on the economics of solar and storage projects (which we will get into in a post below.) The most significant change that customers see with these is the "on-peak" TOU periods have shifted to later in the evening for both the summer and winter seasons. This blog is key to understanding the basic characteristics of these new rates and where the most significant changes will be felt in order to go on and accurately calculate and present savings analysis to customers. Read full post here

2.) CPUC Approves Energy Storage Net Metering

In February of 2019, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) sent solar buffs into a frenzy when they approved the decision that will now allow net metering for energy storage. This new decision ultimately allowed customers with energy storage systems to receive full NEM credits for stored energy that is sent back to the grid, as long as the storage system charges entirely from solar. This decision changed a lot of things in California's solar + storage market, as storage suddenly started to make more sense if customers could now earn money for that stored energy. In the past, customers were only allowed to receive credits from the excess energy produced by a solar system, exported to the grid. This blog will break down all the stipulations to the new decision and what the end results will be for solar + storage. Read full post here.

3.) PG&E's "Final Decision" Rates, Part 1: Residential Rates 

Just like SCE, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) followed suit and will begin implementing its new TOU rates this year. Given that PG&E is the largest utility territory in the U.S. with more than 5.5 million customers served, their rate design changes set an important precedent nationwide and no surprise that it was one of the top viewed posts we've had in 2019. PG&E's rates have not yet been implemented, they become voluntary in October of this year and mandatory in November of 2020, so the clock is ticking for you to start better understanding these complex rate structures and how they're going to affect your projects. It's always good to get ahead of the game. Read full post here.

4.) A Guide to Grandfathering Protections for Solar Customers 

Do you know all the nuances of grandfathering for solar? Not everyone does, which is why this might have ranked in the top 5 posts from the past 6 months. Grandfathering protections for solar customers has become a hot topic over the last few years as utilities around the country have continued to change their rate design structures and NEM frameworks. This blog dives deep into all the aspects of the misunderstood topic of grandfathering for solar customers including rules of different programs, who qualifies, how long protections last and what types of guarantees are offered. Read full post here

5.) A Historic Moment for Residential Energy Storage Economics: California's new time-of-use rates

This post ties into the noteworthy occurrence of SCE implementing its new TOU rates earlier this year and just how this all affects residential energy storage economics. With this shift to TOU rate schedules, came a historic moment for customers. For the first time ever, the project economics of a solar + storage project operated in time-of-use arbitrage mode beat the economics of a standalone solar PV project. This is a major turning point for energy storage in the SCE territory, as customers will now be financially motivated to install storage. Read full post here