Don't get left in the dark when going solar

Over 14,000 homeowners in the Southern California Edison utility territory have gone solar this year, but with the utility’s recently-altered rates, the clear majority are likely unaware of the financial implications. A typical homeowner may lose thousands of dollars in savings over the lifetime of their solar power system if it is not designed to consider the new solar rules and rates with Southern California Edison (Edison).
Under former solar rules, it was simple for solar companies to design a solar power system that resulted in a $0 utility bill. A solar company looked at how much energy a household used on an annual basis and designed a solar power system to produce that same amount of energy per year, regardless of when the system produced energy or when the home consumed energy.
Since last July, solar customers in the Edison utility territory have been on new solar rules, which includes placement on a mandatory “time-of-use” rate. Time-of-use rates enable Edison to charge more for electricity depending on when a home uses energy throughout the day, not just how much the home uses in a given month. With these new rules in place, a more in-depth analysis is needed to design an efficient solar power system.
Edison currently charges a typical family on time-of-use rates $0.48 cents per unit of energy consumed during their “on-peak” period, from 2-8 p.m., the time of day when electricity is most expensive. However, Edison has proposed to move the on-peak period to 4-9 p.m. beginning in March of 2019, with the possibility for even higher rates. Because panels don’t generate energy at night, a battery allows homeowners to store their solar power during the day and use it in the evenings when electricity is most expensive.
A typical family who goes solar with a battery saves roughly $80,000 over a 20-year period. If their neighbor goes solar without a battery at the same time, the neighbors will pay hundreds of dollars per year in additional unavoidable costs. Over 20 years, using a six percent escalation, the family without a battery will have missed out on $8,400 in savings.
“Many local solar companies are saying batteries are unnecessary or are only for back-up power, and that’s patently false - batteries allow solar customers to maximize their return on investment,” said Daniel Sullivan, founder and president of Sullivan Solar Power, “The majority of families going solar in the Inland Empire have no idea about the huge financial impact these new rates are going to have because their solar company doesn’t fully comprehend it, therefore these companies do not teach people the importance of incorporating a battery.”
For those who go solar now, they can apply for the state rebate, the Self-Generation Incentive Program, which can cover a portion of the cost of a battery. In addition, the remaining cost can be offset by a 30 percent federal tax credit.
For more information about solar paired with energy storage, the public is invited to attend the Huntington Beach Solar Education Series, taking place on Saturday, September 8, at the Huntington Beach Central Library. To learn more visit
or call 1-800-SULLIVAN.
Seminar attendees will learn how solar works, battery storage and integration, policy changes, available incentives, financing options, how to choose a solar provider, new solar rules, and more.

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