California’s Net Energy Billing Plan, NEM 3.0, Explained.

California’s Net Energy Billing Plan, NEM 3.0, Explained.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is proposing to update the net energy metering policy for solar homeowners, commonly referred to as NEM.

The proposed billing plan, NEM 3.0, is complicated and confusing, not surprising. Maybe it was intended to confuse, so we don’t really focus on how unjust the proposed new plan is. But don’t fret. I have summarized the proposed changes for you here:

Historically the export compensation of solar in California is based off a Net Energy Metering (NEM) Policy. Both NEM1.0 and NEM2.0 were under this compensation mechanism. With NEM, when a system owner is generating more electricity than they are consuming, the excess energy is exported back to the utility grid and the customer receives a credit equal to or slightly less than the full-retail rate. This credit can then be applied to offset electricity consumption within the current billing cycle (i.e. monthly) or in future billing cycles before expiring annually at some specified month (known as the true-up period).

NEM has been the law of the land in California since 1995, covering all customers of the state’s three largest utilities—PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E. It’s currently on its second version, NEM 2.0. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is nearing the end of designing NEM 3.0, and the changes that have been proposed could greatly reduce the financial benefits people can get by owning solar panels or subscribing to community solar.

Under NEM 3.0, most of the homeowners savings are stripped away, ending up in the utility company’s pockets. Under NEM 2.0, current solar customers in California save an average of between 22 and 36 cents for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity generated by their panels. Under the proposed NEM 3.0 plan, the credit for excess generation will go down to just 4.7 to 5.8 cents, on average. Let’s not forget that the utilities currently already make a good profit reselling excess solar power at peak energy rates.
Save $310 per month or save $10 per month. That is NEM 2.0 vs. NEM 3.0 in the simplest terms.
Example: In April, under the current NEM 2.0, my solar array produced 1.5MWh of energy. My home used .5MWh. The additional 1 MWh was sent to the grid and I receive a credit of $310 (1,000 kWh x $0.31 [$.34/kWh retail rate LESS ±$0.03/kWh grid fee] = $310). I will use this credit in any month where my use exceeds my solar energy generation, such as in July and August when I am running my air conditioner.

Running the same scenario under NEM 3.0, my solar array produces 1.5MWh of energy. My home used .5MWh. The additional 1 MWh was sent to the grid. But I only receive a credit of $0.05/kWh. In addition, I must also pay a “participation” fee of $40/mo. on average. My new monthly savings is just $10. Ten stinking dollars. Thanks, PG&E, for letting me keep a little sumpin’ sumpin’.

In May 2022, the CPUC commission delayed the decision “until further notice.” The solar energy industry, as well as the utility energy industry in California expect the issue to be revisited this year, possibly as soon as July 2022. If and when a final NEM 3.0 decision and policy is voted on and approved, NEM3.0 could be implemented as soon as Jan 2023.

Industry and consumer lobbying fighting for solar rights has taken place throughout the negotiating process. Unfortunately big utility has the power to get their way. It seems like the CPUC has forgotten the “Public” part of their name, and are siding with big utility companies and their control over energy and shareholder profit. You can still call your local representative, or the governor’s office to voice your support for solar rights.

The good news, if there is any, is that, folks who go solar before the NEM 3.0 deadline, possibly as soon as December 2022, MAY be locked into the NEM 2.0 rate structure for 10 years. Calculate your new solar savings by looking at 10-year return on investment, not 25 years. And being that the decision to go solar and lock into NEM 2.0 will have to happen before Dec, 2022, you will also qualify for the 26% solar tax credit before drops again.

Office of Governor Gavin Newsom :
California State Assemble:

California Utilities Looking To Kill Rooftop Solar.

“CPUC proposed a giveaway to investor-owned utilities that would boost utility profits at the expense of energy consumers, family-supporting jobs, and California’s clean energy future.” 

Sacramento, CA— Today, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) released a proposed decision on net metering, the policy that is responsible for the growth of solar in California by making the state’s most abundant source of renewable energy affordable for consumers of all types.

The CPUC proposal would add a $57 per month solar penalty fee for the average residential solar system. A $15 per month credit for the first 10 years would only partially offset the fee, but California would still have the highest solar penalty fees in the country. Low-income ratepayers and commercial customers would not pay the monthly fee. In addition, the commission proposed slashing export credits to approximately 5 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) on all solar users, including schools and churches. This is an 80% reduction from the 20-30 cents per kWh credited today for residential customers. Further, the commission reduced the protections for existing solar customers from the previously established 20-year grandfathering, down to 15 years.

The Save CA Solar coalition, which includes more than 600 diverse organizations, issued the following statement on today on the CPUC proposed decision:

Despite the overwhelming popularity of rooftop solar in California and more than 120,000 public comments submitted in support of net metering, the CPUC proposed a giveaway to investor-owned utilities that would boost utility profits at the expense of energy consumers, family-supporting jobs, and California’s clean energy future. 

Solar advocates around the state are disappointed the CPUC fell for the utility profit grab by proposing the highest solar penalty fees in the nation and drastically reducing the credit solar consumers receive for selling the excess energy they produce to their neighbors. 

The fight is not over for solar advocates. Consumers, affordable housing advocates, faith leaders, environmentalists, conservationists, climate activists, and solar workers and small businesses will continue calling on the CPUC and Governor Newsom to stop the utility profit grab and keep solar growing in California.   

The CPUC will hold a final vote on the future of net metering following a 25-day public comment period on the proposed decision and alternative proposals. The proposed changes to net metering would go into effect this Spring.

Members of the Save California Solar coalition weighed in on the CPUC proposed decision: 

“California is on a path to 100% renewable energy, and that path requires a sustained commitment to growing rooftop solar. Instead the CPUC is proposing to put a drag on our transition away from fossil fuels. State regulators calculate that to get to 100% clean energy, California needs at least 28 gigawatts (GW) of customer-sited solar by 2045; that’s nearly three times as much as we have today. The momentum that rooftop solar has now would help us reach our goal – but to gut net metering is to gut that momentum. The CPUC needs to put California’s climate change efforts first, ahead of the financial interests of the big utilities.” 

– Laura Deehan, State Director at Environment California Research & Policy Center. 

“It is a story as old as this country: a new technology is developed, programs and policies are offered to help consumers to adopt the technology and bring down the costs over time, and just when people in Black and brown communities are beginning to be able to afford the technology and benefit from it – the programs and policies are often taken away. That is exactly what the CPUC did in their proposed decision. By accepting the utility profit grab, the CPUC would take California back to a time when solar was a luxury for the wealthy and out of reach for our communities.” 

– Pastor Pastor William D. Smart, Jr., President and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California

“Our diverse, grassroots coalition is disappointed in the CPUC’s proposed decision, but we are even more determined to keep up the fight to make sure California stays a solar state. In the coming weeks solar supporters will make our voices heard in creative ways online and in person so Governor Newsom understands just how unpopular the utility profit grab is among voters.” 

– Dave Rosenfeld, Director of the Solar Rights Alliance 

“This is a clean energy and jobs disaster. With this proposal, California would abandon its long-held position as a clean energy leader, threatening the jobs of tens of thousands of hard working men and women who provide clean, reliable energy for millions of consumers today. Governor Newsom needs to clean this mess up and get California back on track as a solar leader.”

– Bernadette Del Chiaro, Executive Director of California Solar & Storage Association

“This is really a debate between energy democracy vs. energy monopoly. The big utilities want to protect their control over energy delivery to protect their billions in profit. The environmental justice community wants energy equity where people are free to generate and distribute their own energy in ways that are cleaner and more affordable.” 

– Esperanza Vielma, Executive Director, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water


About Save California Solar

Save California Solar is a coalition founded by the Solar Rights Alliance, California’s association of solar users, to help ensure that rooftop solar continues to grow and benefit every Californian. Learn more at

Composting Is Way Easier Than You Think. Here’s How.

Composting Is Way Easier Than You Think. Here’s How.

Julian Mackenzie, –

With minimal effort, you can turn those banana peels and apple cores into gold. Let us break it down.


If you’re going to ask an environmentalist why you should compost, make sure you have a minute. Darby Hoover, NRDC’s senior resource specialist in the Food and Agriculture program—and master of the household compost heap—can reel off a long list of reasons for keeping your food scraps and other household waste out of the trash can. “Compost adds nutrients and organic matter back to soil, which benefits agriculture, reduces our reliance on synthetic fertilizers, diverts methane-producing organic materials from landfills, and improves soil’s water retention capacity so you don’t need to water as much,” she says.

Read More.

North County Businesses are Going Green.

North County Businesses are Going Green.

Atascadero, CA – Two north county businesses, Gathering Thrift and Solarponics, are the first two businesses in the north county to get Green Certified through the California Green Business Network (CAGBN). The CAGBN has stepped up its effort to certify more businesses in an attempt to build a greener, more vibrant economy.

Being a Certified Green Business is the clearest way for a business to prove to the community and customers that you care about sustainability. It shows them that you are committed to taking action to conserve resources and prevent pollution in both the facility and operations. It means that your business complies with environmental regulations in the areas of waste, energy, water, pollution prevention, and air quality.

The California Green Business Network leads the state and nation in working with small to medium sized businesses to create a vibrant green economy. Led by a coalition of cities and counties, the CAGBN contribute by helping to make our communities healthier and more livable while also conserving resources and saving money.

Companies throughout the central coast have become Green Certified through the CAGBN. Those select few Certified Green Innovators have met the highest verifiable standards of sustainability. They represent the spirit of our work better than any words could describe. And they are leading the movement of businesses in California making a positive impact on people and the planet. So far, only two north county businesses are Green Certified; Gatherings Thrift, and Solarponics.[1]

“I don’t know why a business wouldn’t want to get green certified. It’s a good thing all the way around,” says Frank Scotti, solar advocate at Solarponics in Atascadero. “It is a thorough process to go through, and well worth the effort”, Scotti said.

Some benefits of being a green certified business include cost savings, differentiate from competitors, become part of a larger community, and marketing and public awareness. But perhaps the biggest uncelebrated benefit to being green certified is the internal achievement. Companies that are green certified often operate more efficiently and employees are happier.



The California Green Business Network is a nonprofit organization that oversees programs operated by Chambers of Commerce, cities and counties throughout California. Businesses that apply receive personal attention from the public agencies and the utilities that serve them. The counties and cities that offer the Program are listed below. County programs are generally available to businesses located in all cities within that county. 

Frank Scotti is a renewable energy advocate and director at Solarponics, the Central Coast’s premiere solar energy installer. Solarponics installs solar electric, battery storage and backup, thermal heating and cooling, solar water heating systems, wind energy, and solar pool heating systems. Established in 1975, Solarponics is the longest continuously owned and operated solar company in California. For more information, visit, or like them on Facebook.


Last Chance For The 26% Federal Solar Tax Credit.

The federal solar tax credit, also known as the investment tax credit (ITC), currently allows you to deduct 26 percent of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. The ITC applies to both residential and commercial systems, and there is no cap on its value.

On January 1, 2021, this solar tax credit will drop from 26 percent to to 22 percent of the cost of installing solar. For the average homeowner, that’s an additional $1,000 savings if they go solar by December 31, 2020.

With the pandemic having slowed global manufacturing, the solar equipment supply chain has been interrupted, with prices anticipated to increase 5-10 percent in 2021.

“More reason to go solar this year,” says Solarponics director, Frank Scotti. “People tend to want to wait, either for a better deal, better technology, or some other unknown future incentive. That’s just not going to happen. Prices are going up every day. The sooner you go solar, the more you save. Simple as that,” says Mr. Scotti.

It is unlikely that the federal solar tax credit will ever be more than it is now, either under the current administration, or under a new administration. Best case scenario is that we see the federal tax credit get locked in at 10 percent for both commercial and residential projects from 2022 and beyond.

Solarponics Featured on National Top Solar Contractors List

Solarponics Featured on National Top Solar Contractors List

Atascadero, California, 07-28-20—Solar Power World has recognized the efforts of solar contractors across the United States in its 2020 Solar + Storage Installer List, where local solar installer Solarponics achieved a rank of 25th in the nation.

The Top Solar Contractors list is developed each year by Solar Power World to honor the work of solar installers big and small. Solar firms in the utility, commercial and residential markets are ranked by number of kilowatts installed in the previous year. Companies are grouped and listed by specific service (developers, electrical subcontractors, EPCs, installation subcontractors, rooftop installers), markets and states.

“The Solar Power World team is so pleased to highlight more than 400 companies on the 2020 Top Solar Contractors list, especially during this unprecedented time,” said Kelsey Misbrener, senior editor of Solar Power World. “All contractors featured on the 2020 list reported strong 2019 installation numbers and are continuing to stand tall this year.”

This year’s collection of over 400 Top Solar Contractors is facing obstacles that this industry has never seen before. The first quarter of 2020 was the country’s biggest ever, with 3.6 GW of new solar capacity added. But COVID-19 impacts showed their force in Q2, and Wood Mackenzie is forecasting residential and non-residential markets will see 25% and 38% decreases in year-over-year installation volumes this year.

“In spite of the current economic and social climate, we won’t rest until every building and residence on the central coast has a net zero energy and resource consumption footprint,” says Solarponics president Kristian Emrich.

Solarponics is at the forefront of battery storage and backup and was one of the first certified Tesla Powerwall installers in California. Solarponics employs 41 team members who installed two megawatts of solar plus storage power in 2019 alone. Since its founding in 1975, the company has installed nearly 15 megawatts of solar power, saving local residents an estimated $150 million in energy costs.

Solarponics is a full service renewable energy company that designs and installs solar electric, storage and backup systems, solar pool heating, water conservation systems, and radiant heating and cooling for residential and commercial projects. Solarponcis can be reached at or by calling (805) 466-5595.

About Solar Power World

Solar Power World is the leading online and print resource for news and information regarding solar installation, development and technology. Since 2011, SPW has helped U.S. solar contractors — including installers, developers and EPCs in all markets — grow their businesses and do their jobs better.