This year, the passage of Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) opened new doors for clean energy by making solar power more accessible for Americans interested in reducing their carbon footprint and their utility bills. The new law also secured thousands of renewable energy jobs over the next 10 years with an extension of the federal solar Investment Tax Credit. But many would say that recent changes to California’s net energy metering (NEM) program, often called NEM 3.0, are a step backward from U.S. climate goals and the state’s race towards 100% clean energy.
While NEM 3.0 is certainly a change in how solar owners are compensated for their contributions to the grid, aligning with the right solar provider can help them unlock significant savings on their electric bills.
PG&E, SCE and SDG&E utility customers that go solar after April 13, 2023, will only be eligible for NEM 3.0, as opposed to California’s current NEM program, NEM 2.0. As such, understanding what to expect from NEM 3.0, the program that will start in just a few short months, is crucial, especially for homeowners currently shopping for solar energy. Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t wait to make a clean energy transition.
There’s still time to take advantage of NEM 2.0
If you live in the Golden State, there are still a few months left to apply for the current NEM 2.0 program. This can be highly beneficial because NEM 2.0 customers will not be affected by revisions to NEM 3.0 for 20 years from the date of their Permission to Operate status. NEM 2.0 customers can receive higher reimbursement rates for any extra clean energy supplied to the power grid when compared to the upcoming NEM 3.0 program.1 Also, keep in mind that solar owners that are locked into NEM 2.0 can modify their system by up to 10% without triggering a requirement to switch to NEM 3.0.
To qualify as a NEM 2.0 customer, a completed Interconnection Application package will need to be submitted to your utility by your solar provider prior to April 14, 2023. Keep in mind that this application does take some time to complete.
Solar battery storage makes sense under both NEM 2.0 and NEM 3.0
Since its introduction on the market a few years ago, solar battery storage has become a hot commodity. It has also become increasingly affordable through new incentives provided by the federal Inflation Reduction Act. The NEM 3.0 program is more favorable to customers who go solar combined with battery storage, to support personal resiliency when the grid goes down, and electrical grid resiliency, which can help prevent grid outages in the first place.
Homeowners with solar + storage can receive compensation for any stored energy that is discharged from their solar battery when demand for electricity is at its highest, which is typically during the evening when solar power isn’t readily available. And solar customers that are locked into NEM 2.0 can add battery storage and still take advantage of NEM 2.0.
The Inflation Reduction Act provides tax incentives for going solar
As mentioned above, the Inflation Reduction Act is a great resource for solar energy savings. Through it, qualified residential consumers can now take advantage of the federal solar investment tax credit at a higher percentage of the system cost than was previously available. The tax credit is now valued at 30% of the system cost.*Tax credits subject to change. SunPower does not warrant, guarantee or otherwise advise its customers about specific tax outcomes. Consult your tax advisor regarding the solar tax credit and how it applies to your specific circumstances. The federal investment tax credit will also be available for battery storage systems for the first time this year, along with an additional federal tax credit for EV charging solutions.*Tax credits subject to change. SunPower does not warrant, guarantee or otherwise advise its customers about specific tax outcomes. Consult your tax advisor regarding the solar tax credit and how it applies to your specific circumstances. A great place to learn more about the range of new clean energy federal incentives available to American consumers is through Rewiring America.
Beyond the Inflation Reduction Act, many homeowners may find that there are state and local rebates available to cut down solar and/or battery storage installation costs even more.*State and local incentives vary by location and are subject to change. Talk with your SunPower installer about what might be available to you in your area or get a sense from the DSIRE database.
Plan ahead for power outages
Researchers from Climate Central found that power outages increased by 63% over the past decade. Of those outages, 83% were caused by weather-related events like storms and wildfires. Solar energy is becoming a vital resource for the aging power grid. As more homeowners use their solar systems to generate clean energy, they rely less on the grid for their daytime electrical use. But when extreme weather events occur, a solar battery can help keep the lights on.
Most solar systems work with the electrical grid to provide a home with power. When a power outage occurs, your solar system will pause production. That’s when a solar battery storage system saves the day. The solar battery can be programmed to discharge and power up your home with stored energy from your solar panels. Having this advantage to power essential appliances like your fridge or keep your phone charged can save you from a serious headache. In some cases, a more powerful version of the SunPower® SunVault® storage system can power your whole home, even enabling your EV charger to keep your vehicle in working order.*The ability to provide electricity during an outage will vary based on the size of your storage system, the amount of energy stored in the battery, wattage and duration of use of devices/appliances connected to the system, the battery’s ability to recharge during daylight hours, and other factors. Additional hardware may be required for powering your HVAC system. Storage system should not be relied upon as a single source of power for critical medical devices.
Climate change is an active issue
It can be disheartening to think about the state of our planet when it comes to addressing climate change, but the good news is we can do something about it. Taking an active part in reducing harmful climate change pollution by installing a solar system is a great way to make a real difference.
SunPower customers have installed solar systems that have generated enough clean energy to be the equivalent of reducing approximately 94 million metric tons of carbon since 2005. That’s the same as carbon sequestered by 115 million acres of U.S. forests in one year.*Calculation made through EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. When you go solar with SunPower, you’re making a commitment to fostering a better, cleaner planet.
California has been a leader in stimulating a clean energy economy for many years, setting initiatives that have led to state accomplishments like boasting over a million solar rooftops. Even with the changes in the new NEM 3.0 program, there are many opportunities for Californians to save money on their electricity bills, especially considering the benefits in the Inflation Reduction Act and even certain local rebates.
In other words, if you’ve been on the fence about solar power, there’s never been a better time to take advantage of the many benefits available to you. Kick things off by signing up for a custom solar quote.
For more information regarding NEM 3.0, visit the Solar Rights FAQ section.