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Yesterday I attended an update session on Sonoma Clean Power (SCP), specifically on Net Energy Metering (NEM) for solar clients. The session was very informative and the information presented is a “must know” for solar customers making the move.

First, I am a huge supporter of SCP, sitting on the task force through its development phase. SCP fits well with my desires for our County.  For renewable energy use, they have roughly a 10% increase over PG&E.  SCP does not use nuclear power, they create local jobs, they lower residential costs, and are green friendly. In addition, since their rates are 4-5% less than those of PG&E, SCP offers a $0.01 bonus for over-generation.   And even better, unlike PG&E,  at the end of your sum-up period, any unused credits are carried forward to the next year.  A real bonus!

The SCP program is an OPT-OUT program which means you will be automatically enrolled in SCP unless you OPT-OUT to PG&E. Currently this applies to the entire County of Sonoma with the exception of the cities of Healdsburg, Petaluma and Rohnert Park. The current plan is to move 166,000 users from PG&E Customers to SCP in December 2014.

So here is what you need to know. If you are like me, and build large credits during the summer to use during the winter (I am at about $400 in October), you may lose your credits in December. Why? Because when you move to SCP (remember this will happen unless you OPT-OUT), PG&E will sum-up in December, not on your usual true up date,  and the credits are lost. If your true-up period with PG&E is in June – December, your credit loss may be minimal, and I would suggest you just move to SCP. If like me, your true up is in May, you do have an option to avoid the loss of these credits.

I ran the following idea by the SCP representatives and they said it was a sound strategy. What you can do is OPT-OUT of SCP before you are converter to them. Thus you will stay with PG&E and be able to use up your credits. And because you did not leave SCP (usually a 12 month waiting period before you can move back), you can OPT back in at any time, i.e. once your credits are used up. So I chose to OPT-OUT last night, and will be joining SCP in May when my usual true-up bill comes from PG&E.  This will maximize usage of my credits. This is a personal choice, and knowledge is power, or savings in this case.

Please do not hesitate to email me with and questions, or those of your friends who are on solar. Get the word out and remember to like Synergy on facebook to get future updates on SCP.

Thanks,

Jeff

CFO and Co-Owner of Synergy Solar & Electrical Systems, Inc.

jeff@synsolar.com