https://calendly.com/tier1-solar-solutions/solar-consultation
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Market Spotlight: 

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CALIFORNIA

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Welcome! Here you will find market highlights, pricing, requirements, and other market-specific information about California

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IMPORTANT MARKET INFORMATION

California Service Area

Our service area covers South-Central Arizona including the major cities of Pheonix, Tucson, Mesa, Chandler, Scottsdale, Glendale, and surrounding areas. In certain areas travel adders are required, as indicated on the following map. 

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Solar Installation Map For: 

  • Solar Installation Los Angeles, CA  (Surrounding Areas)

    Solar Installation San Diego, CA (Surrounding Areas)
    Solar Installation San Francisco, CA (Surrounding Areas)
    Solar Installation Riverside, CA (Surrounding Areas)
    Solar Installation Oceanside, CA (Surrounding Areas)
    Solar Installation Sacramento, CA (Surrounding Areas)
    Solar Installation Oakland, CA (Surrounding Areas
    )

Below is a map of installations in California, updated January 2024.

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Overall Project Timeline - California

What are typical project cycle times in California?

The information shared below is a general guideline for project cycles and approval timelines based on historical experience. However, these timelines can change due to many factors including our current project pipeline, new AHJ or utility requirements, new policies, on-site project conditions, or other unforeseen circumstances.

 

 

 

Overall Project Timeline

How long does it take to install a project in California?

The average time it takes from a signed contract to a complete installation in California is between 70-80 Days. Once the installation is complete, the average time to Permission to Operate (PTO) is between 25-35 days. This is the state average, and while some projects can be installed faster or take longer, it is best to set a conservative expectation with your customers.

The average timeline from Contract to Installation:

75 Days

The average timeline from Installation to PTO:

30 Days

Are there any additional considerations that may extend the project lifecycle?

The following areas have regulations or guidelines for solar projects that may require additional steps or result in extended project lifecycles:

  • Ground Mounts: Due to permitting and installation requirements, ground-mounted solar projects may be delayed depending on the local AHJ.

  • Main Panel Upgrades: Projects that require a main panel upgrade in California may see extended project lifecycles between 30-60 days due to additional installation steps required by local authorities.

  • Roof Work: When selling projects with roof work in California, project cycle times may be delayed by 30-60 days.

 

PG&E:

  • Gas Lines & Main Panel Location: The utility now requires Main Panel Relocations if the existing electric panel is located within 36" inches of a gas line. The relocation and/or main panel upgrade that is necessary for this work requires an engineering review which can take up to 12 months to complete and which costs up to $2,000 at the expense of the homeowner.

Utility Approval Cycle Times

How long does utility approval take?

For most utilities in California, utility approval for PTO generally occurs 2-6 weeks after inspection is passed.

Are there any additional considerations for utility approval and cycle times?

Some smaller utilities in California, such as Banning Electric Utility and LADWP, require approval prior to installation.

PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E do not require utility approval prior to installation

PG&E

Interconnection Tariff:

There are multiple tariff rates available for residential solar customers in PG&E that can be found on the utility's tariff page. It is important to choose the correct Tiered Rate Plan at the time of the interconnection application based on your customer's needs.

The Interconnection Team will automatically choose the lowest rates unless they are informed prior to the interconnection application. This effects customers with an EV or if they already had solar installed and are adding on to their system.

More details can be found in this Tier Rate Plan One-Pager from PG&E. To avoid project slow-down, discuss these options and make the best choice for your customer, include the decision in the project notes so the Interconnection team can make the right request.

Permitting Approval Cycle Times

How long does AHJ approval take?

Based on our experience across the state of California, the average Cycle Time for permitting approval is 36 days.

We will be updating this section with more location-specific information when it becomes available. Until then, it is a safe assumption that permit approval will take a little more than one month for solar projects in California. 

Are there any additional considerations for permitting and approval times?

Storage Requirements in the City of Los Angeles and LA County

Certain areas of California have more stringent requirements for the installation of battery systems. This document is meant to serve as a general overview of some of these requirements to keep the homeowner informed.

The City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County have additional Fire Department reviews of all ESS projects, adding approximately 2 Weeks to the estimated project timelines.

Storage projects add a substantial amount of additional equipment which can lead to equipment spacing issues. We recommended discussing different possible locations of the battery with the homeowner.

For detailed information about storage installation requirements in Los Angeles, click here.

How does we find a suitable location for the battery?

Our first choice is to locate the ESS equipment on the exterior of the home. If we have large, unobstructed walls that allow for an exterior installation that will be our first option. However, in most cases in LA and LA County, to abide by the strict spacing requirements it is very common that we will have to locate some or all of the equipment inside the garage.

While the garage is the secondary option, most of the time we will need to use that space for the battery installation. In order to do so, Powur must obtain elevation drawings for both LA and LA County so detailed surveys of the garage can be completed. We recommend that you inform the homeowner that we will need access to the garage.

These strict battery standards pose a challenge for design and installation but by setting proper guidance with the homeowner, we can ensure that expectations are managed and prevent any unhappy surprises.

Utility Approval Cycle Times - California

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CALIFORNIA
Net Metering Information

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CALIFORNIA
Net Metering Information

What is the Net Metering Policy in California?

Under NEM-3.0, customers receive 75% to 80% less from the utility for the energy they send to the grid during the day. instead of getting compensated for the full retail value of electricity delivered to the electric grid, solar users will only receive a fraction of the retail value of electricity that they share with the grid.

What is Net Billing?

Net Billing is an arrangement with the utility in which the customer is paid for the electricity they export to the grid based on a value determined by the avoided cost to the utility of buying clean energy elsewhere. In other words, the utility does not offer a 1:1 credit based on their retail rate but the wholesale rate that they could pay to other clean energy suppliers.

What is NEM 3.0?

NEM 3.0 went into effect on April 14th 2023, becoming the active program for Net Metering in California. See below for common questions about this decision and the latest information available.

Here's an article from February 20th with an overview of NEM 3.0 and retaining value for solar customers.

NEM 3.0 FAQ

See NEM 3.0 FAQ for more details about the questions below, and a list of Frequently Asked Questions for homeowners considering going solar before NEM 3.0 begins.

What is NEM 3.0?

The method utilities use to calculate the excess solar power their customers deliver to the electric grid during the day is called “net energy metering” (NEM) or simply, “net metering.” The rules that determine how solar customers are compensated are approved by each state’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC). In late 2022, the California PUC voted to adopt the state's third NEM policy (after NEM-1 and NEM-2) which we call NEM 3.0.

How is NEM 3.0 different?

Compared to NEM-1 and NEM-2, which both provided solar customers a 1:1 credit for the excess power they delivered to the electric grid during the day, NEM 3.0 will offer a significantly lower credit. Under NEM-3.0, customers will receive 75% to 80% less from the utility for the energy they send to the grid during the day. instead of getting compensated for the full retail value of electricity delivered to the electric grid, solar users will only receive a fraction of the retail value of electricity that they share with the grid.

When does NEM 3.0 go into effect?

The new net metering rules go into effect on April 14th, 2023 which means the last day to qualify for NEM-2 by submitting a complete interconnection application is April 13th, 2023.

What does NEM 3.0 mean for existing solar customers?

Homeowners who already have solar in California, or who qualify for NEM-2 before the new rules take effect on April 14th, 2023, are locked into NEM-1 or NEM-2 for 20 years from the date their solar system is turned on. Customers who are nearing the end of the 20-year period will be switched to NEM 3.0.

What does NEM 3.0 Mean for future solar customers?

The new net metering rules under NEM 3.0 will have a significant impact on the financial savings that homeowners enjoy from going solar, and in order to see the full benefits of going solar, future customers will most likely require battery storage solutions.

What is changing between NEM-2 and NEM 3.0?

The California Public Utilities Commission made history by voting in favor of terminating NEM-2 and installing a new program called NEM 3.0. Here are some key differences:

 NEM-2NEM 3.0

Net Metering (Export) Rates: Export rates are 1:1 with time-of-use (TOU) rates. This means that if rates are $0.30 cents per kWh in the afternoon, that is the value of NEM credits you get for exporting 1 kWh of power to the grid at that time in the afternoon.Export rates change hourly with different sets of rates on weekdays and weekends, all of which change monthly. Rates are, on average, 75% lower than NEM-2 for PG&E and SCE and 86% lower for SDG&E.

Grandfathering Homeowners are grandfathered into NEM-2 for a period of 20 years from PTO and this is fully transferable through the sale or transfer of the home and solar property.

Homeowners are grandfathered into NEM 3.0 for 9 years for new solar customers and this can only be transferred to a spouse or partner.

Time-of-Use Rates Customers are required to be on any Time of Use (TOU) rate.

Customers are required to be on "electrification" TOU rates (SDG&E EV-TOU-5, SCE TOU-D-PRIME, or PG&E E-ELEC) for grid consumption only. Export rates will be calculated separately, based on the avoided cost rate.

Virtual Net Metering

Net Metering Aggregation (NEMA) and Virtual Net Metering (VNEM) rates will be available on NEM-2 with 9 years of grandfathering after the sunset window is over.

 

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CALIFORNIA
Rebates And Incentives

CALIFORNIA
Rebates And Incentives

Are there any statewide incentives or rebates in California?

There are currently no state incentives for solar in California. You can find up-to-date information about available rebates related to renewable energy and efficiency projects here: https://programs.dsireusa.org/system/program/ca.

Are there any utility or municipality rebates in California?

Yes! Below are details about the following utility-based solar incentives:

Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP)

The Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) is a California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) program that offers rebates for installing energy storage technology in your home. These storage technologies include battery storage systems that can function in the event of a power outage.

Who is eligible for SGIP rebates?

Any residential customer of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), or San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is eligible for a General Market SGIP rebate of approximately $250/kilowatt-hour, which means the rebate covers approximately 25 percent of the cost of an average energy storage system.

In addition to this General Market rebate, there are two additional categories of higher SGIP rebates for residential customers: Equity and Equity Resiliency. (See the pamphlet below for details about these additional rebate categories).

For more information, see the SGIP pamphlet attached: 

SGIP Pamphlet

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