What You Need to Know about Solar, SDGE, and Net Metering
We recently received a call from a San Diego homeowner who had finally decided to go solar.  In fact, she had commissioned a 4.3 kW solar installation several months prior from a rival firm.

Why was she calling us then?

Because she had stumbled across some of our earlier blog posts about net metering.  But after 2 months of producing clean, solar electricity, her utility credits had yet to kick in.

What are SDG&E credits?

The SDGE net metering program is a special incentive in which the utility company pays solar panel owners for the renewable energy their installations produce.  Every month, the monetary value of this clean energy is subtracted from the monetary value of electricity purchased from the utility grid.

This means that with a large enough solar installation, it’s actually possible to receive negative electricity bills from SDG&E.  For more about San Diego’s net metering, click here.

So why wasn’t this homeowner receiving credit from SDGE?  She fit most of the requirements after all:

  • she lived in the right neighborhood
  • her solar installation was the right size
  • her solar PV panels were correctly tied to the grid

But there was 1 final qualification she had overlooked – or rather, her solar installers had overlooked.

In order to join the SDGE net metering program, you have to apply.

Enrollment isn’t automatic.

Applying for the SDG&E Net Metering Program in San Diego

Actually applying for the program is relatively easy.  After meeting the above listed requirements, you just fill out a few forms and submit them to the appropriate parties.

And in most cases, your solar installer will handle all of the paperwork on your behalf.  This procedural step is usually included in the total installation price.

We’re not sure what happened in this particular case.

And needless to say, she was pretty upset about missing 2 months of potential utility bill savings – especially given SDGE’s recent rate hikes that began in September.

We walked her through her options and explained how to apply for net metering.

We also recommended that she contact the original installers to find out why they hadn’t sent her application in.  It was probably just an oversight.

In any event, we hope that she gets everything sorted out.  Net metering is a fantastic incentive, and we encourage all qualified solar PV system owners to join ASAP – before the program undergoes any big changes.

If you have questions about PV installations, net metering, or other solar-related topics, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.