Currently the California Public Utilities Commission has a proposal before it that would allow Southern California Edison to condense their four tiers into two, as well as add a fixed $10/month fixed charge for
every household beginning in 2019. An alternate plan suggests three tiers would be better. Either way, it looks as though rates will go up for those who use the least energy, and decrease slightly for those who use the most.
How would this “redistribution” affect the decision to go solar? The answer? It probably means solar makes sense for even more consumers. Some of those for whom solar didn’t “pencil” because their usage wasn’t enough
to warrant it, may now be moving into territory where the purchase of a system has an even shorter payback period. Alternatively, a lease for the number of panels required to offset 100% of their usage may now bring a guaranteed
payment for 20 years that is low enough relative to their electric bill to make sense, even with a fixed charge of $10/month. If the $10/month is a deal breaker when considering whether to go solar, then it probably didn’t
make sense in the first place, unless the desire is to go green at a break even due to environmental concerns and a desire to be a good steward of our resources.
For customers at the higher tiers whose bills would be somewhat lower, the percentage of reduction may extend the payback period on a purchase somewhat, but over the expected lifetime of solar panels such as SunPower
(40 years), the savings are still extraordinary. After year seven or eight or nine, depending on the power the individual system generates relative to the usage, power is essentially “free” except for the fixed charge.
Who wouldn’t be happy to pay just $10/month for electricity for 30 years or more?
If you’re considering solar, the new rate structure will be taken into account and proposals will be generated that show you your savings. Consider exercising your right to explore energy independence with solar now,
and energy storage soon, when you pair your solar with batteries. Then you can enjoy true energy independence.
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