You may be wondering how the PGE bankruptcy will affect rooftop solar, even if you don't live in their service area. We were too, and called some experts to find out. Here's four takeaways:
1) You may face delays when expanding your solar. If you're expanding your solar system or adding storage, interconnection delays might mean it takes takes longer for the switch to get turned on by PGE.
2) The solar storage rebate should continue, but you may face delays getting a rebate. Thanks to the efforts of Solar Rights Alliance members, the recently extended rebate (known as SGIP) is already funded by a ratepayer charge, and by law must be dedicated towards storage rebates only. There may be delays in processing rebates, however.
3) Net metering payments should not be affected...for now. PGE is required by state law and regulations to make those payments; whoever assumes PGE's debt will have to make those payments, too. But state law can always change, as we've seen elsewhere in the country, so we must stand on guard.
4) California should double down on making it easier and cheaper to choose solar and storage.
Every time someone like you chooses to make your own energy from the sun, you reduce the need for expensive power lines to transport power over long distances, including heavily forested areas prone to wildfires. Thanks to solar users, the state saved an estimated $2.5 billion last year in avoided utility infrastructure costs.
But there's more. The combination of solar and battery storage can be a total gamechanger for individuals and the state as a whole. Homes and businesses can become almost completely self-contained, avoiding blackouts and reducing power infrastructure costs even more. With a bit more advanced technology in play, your extra solar and storage system could supply power in real time to a neighbor, police station, or hospital that needs it.
None of this is news, nor the fact that utility industry lobbyists have relentlessly pushed to put up barriers to people choosing solar and storage. What's new may be state lawmakers' tolerance for utility industry malarkey. Thus lawmakers charged with responding to the PGE situation should, while they're at it, knock down barriers to choose solar and storage.
P.S. Here's a fun solar home picture to brighten your day! Send us your favorite solar home pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org or post on the Solar Rights Alliance Facebook page and we'll include them in the next newsletter.