Solar panels gleaming on the roof promised sustainability, independence, environmental stewardship — and drastically reduced utility bills. However, for rooftop solar owners navigating Southern California Edison’s new “time-of-use” plans — that make power most costly after dinnertime — and other modifications, it means additional time until their significant investments pay off.
Rooftop owners would earn less for the electricity they put into a grid for their peers to utilize throughout the day when the renewable energy from Edison’s solar farms is at its greatest. They’ll also pay more for the electricity they take off-grid for their personal use in the evening when sun sets and fossil fuel facilities fire up.
Randy Bruno of the Huntington Beach, who placed solar panels on his roof several years ago, said, “I don’t see how this is going to save us money or assist us in any way.” “The governor intends to promote solar energy, but Edison opposes it.” The rate adjustments are expected to impact some customers more than others, particularly those who don’t have batteries to be able to store their solar-produced electricity for the nighttime usage. Edison has roughly 420,000 solar customers, and the pricing increases are expected to impact some more than others.
A La Habra senior erected her solar system ten years ago and modified it halfway through. She estimated the entire cost to be around $40,000. As per the letter she received from Edison, her yearly bill is likely to rise from around $400 annually to more than $1,100 per year. “At this speed, the new rate,” she explained, “it just won’t pay off.” “I’m not sure what they’re attempting to accomplish.” That’s not the way to go if you’re trying to save environment.”
Some solar clients will be able to keep their old plan, depending on when their systems were installed, according to Edison, and an industry group claims that those rooftop panels are going to pay off in the long term.
“Even though the higher rates will extend the payback period for people who got solar a few years ago,” Brad Heavner, who works as the policy director at California Solar & Storage Association, said, “it’s still a fantastic value to go solar under the current rates.” “We pressed Public Utilities Commission to give solar owners extra time to stay on the existing tariffs, but they declined.”
He believes that a battery to preserve solar electricity generated during the day for usage at night would be beneficial. Heavner believes that in the not-too-distant future, practically every system will include a battery, but that a battery isn’t required to make the numbers work.