Solar and PG&E...

Bi-directional meter
Bi-directional Meter

When you move to a grid-tie solar system, how you use electricity in your house doesn't need to change but there are some changes with PG&E. While every situation is different, the most common changes are the PG&E tariff schedule, PG&E access and the billing cycle.


PG&E Tariff Schedule
    PG&E has several rate schedules, the most common for residential is...

PG&E has several rate schedules, the most common for residential is E1, and there are too many to mention for commercial. Most residential solar customers change to an E6 'Time of Use' schedule. With 'Time of Use' scheduling, a customer pays different rates depending on time of day, and weather it is summer or winter. Details of these rate schedules can be found at the following link:

PG&E ELECTRIC SCHEDULES
      (Once on the schedules page, click on the appropriate "PDF")

The reason most solar customers select 'Time of Use' metering is that the most expensive rates are during the summer afternoons, when solar production is at its peak. Most solar users will over produce during these summer afternoons and can “sell back”, or get a credit based on this higher rate for their over production. These credits can be significant, usually off setting the additional usage in the winter months when solar systems produce less energy.

PG&E Access Issues
    When you become a PG&E net metering customer, part of the...

When you become a PG&E net metering customer, part of the agreement you sign allows PG&E personnel to have access to your property, to shut off the solar feed, so PG&E personnel can safely work on the power lines. The two main issues are locked gates and unrestrained animals (dogs). If a locked gate is present, PG&E will require a lock box be attached, with the gate code, so they can gain access in an emergency. If dogs are allowed to roam freely, in the area of the electrical disconnect switch, PG&E will require a new disconnect in an area that is accessible with no dogs present. Please note that the Interconnection group from PG&E follows different guidelines then the meter reading group from PG&E.

PG&E billing cycle with 'Time of Use' metering
    If a solar user chooses 'Time of Use' metering, they will pay for...

If a solar user chooses 'Time of Use' metering, they will pay for electrical generation, distribution and transmission, once a year at an annual sum up date. The anniversary date is usually based on the day the system went live with PG&E. Customers will still receive a monthly “Blue” bill, with misc. charges (about $12), in addition to a statement showing net usage and credits of the household.

Download a PDF:
PG&E Discusses Billing

or visit PG&E's websites:
PG&E NEM Billing      and
How to Read Your NEM Meter

At the end of the year, a customer will have a sum up with PG&E, paying a balance (if an annual charge exists). If a customer generated more power then they used (if a credit exists),they will receive a check, or nothing if the bill happens to equal zero.