PG&E to transition to net metering 2.0 by the end of the year

Late last Friday, Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) announced that it expects to hit its cap for the state’s original net metering program before the end of December. This will mean that new customers who install distributed solar will be compensated under the rules of “Net Metering 2.0”, which were finalized last January.

PG&E reports that 275,000 of its 5.4 million electric customers have now installed distributed solar PV systems for a total of 2.4 GW, which brings it within striking distance of the cap of 5 percent of peak demand set by the state’s government for the original net metering program.

Under Net Metering 2.0, new customers who install solar PV will continue to receive roughly retail-rate compensation for the electricity they export to the grid, but will have to pay additional “non-bypassable” charges totaling around $0.03/kilowatt-hour. Customers participating in the program must also transition to time-of-use rates, and there is a one-time connection fee of $145 for new PV systems.

PG&E is still complaining about this arrangement, which it fought bitterly. In a press statement the utility claims that “rooftop solar customers continue to receive subsidies that are borne by all other customers”, despite this myth of a cost shift being repeatedly debunked in independent studies.

PG&E will be the second of California’s three large utilities to hit its caps under the original net metering program, after San Diego Gas & Electric hit caps this summer. Southern California Edison still had another 595 MW of available capacity under the original net metering program as of a week ago; If this is not reached by July 1, the utility will still transfer its solar customers to net metering 2.0.