January 18, 2014

If you are an Ag operation with more than one meter, this is important news for you.

PG&E has offered California’s Solar industry – and our solar Ag clients – some great news, agreeing to comply with [the new net energy metering (NEM) legislation*] “because many potential customers have expressed an interest in the NEM Aggregation option and PG&E seeks an approved program as soon as possible”.

PG&E will set its billing service fees to a $500 cap, which translates to 20 accounts using a one time set up fee of $25 per account. This is great news as we can enroll all of your wells, boosters, ranch houses, shops, street lights, whatever and not have to worry about paying for each one.

It also clarifies which other meters can be included – those on “contiguous” parcels. PG&E has agreed to a fairly broad interpretation of that word, including parcels that are divided by a street, highway, or public thoroughfare provided they are within an unbroken chain of otherwise contiguous parcels that are all solely owned, leased or rented by the customer generator.

This allows growers to keep your best crop land producing. One centralized solar system will offset numerous meters from anywhere on the “contiguous” properties. Offset whatever meters you have on those contiguous lands. Offset a ranch house, a booster, and a deep well one month. Then the next month maybe offset just your deep wells.  You get to pick which meter to offset. If water or crop patterns change, you can adjust which meters to offset. This allows you to take control of offsetting your most expensive power.

PG&E has also agreed to implement a 30 day “effective date” request, meaning that this tariff will be available as of February 15.

Utilities will be required to offer Aggregated Net Metering only until the total capacity of renewable energy generated exceeds 5% of the electric utility’s aggregate demand. In other words, this is a window of opportunity that is closing quickly, not a door left open indefinitely.  The Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is still available for renewable energy projects through the end of 2016.

     *This law has gone by various names, so don't be confused: Virtual Net Metering, Aggregated Net Metering, Net Energy Metering are all basically the same.