The California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) formally signed the December 15, 2015 draft NEM decision at their January 28, 2016 Voting Meeting, extending the positive aspects of Net Energy Metering to new solar energy customers. This is great news for Ag operations in California!
“We are pleased with where things ended up on NEM,” said Andrew Hoffman, Senior Director of Strategy & Market Development. “The PUC is making a statement that distributed generation is an important piece of our energy and environmental future in California.”
One of the most important aspects about the approved program is the continuation of Net Energy Metering Aggregation (NEMA). This is a huge plus for agricultural customers.
For more about the decision, click here to read a summary article by entelligent, an online information source reporting on the U.S. energy industry and issues of environmental regulation.
With the extension of NEMA, growers, cold storage facilities, processors, packagers, water districts, etc. will continue to be able to deploy a single, centralized solar array for multiple service points. The bottom line impact is higher solar ROI. This is due to lower initial capital costs and greater flexibility in shifting offsets to respond to crop rotations, seasonal flucations in usage at different service points, changing irrigation patterns, etc.
Under then new program—which takes effect when the utilities meet their existing NEM program participation caps, or July 1, 2017 (whichever comes first)—there will be a nominal one-time interconnection fee (likely to be approximately $75-$150) for new Ag operations. This fee is a much better result for Ag operations than the more costly charges proposed by PG&E, SCE and SDG&E. Read how CalCom Solar worked with regulators to reduce costly interconnect charges for Ag operations in California…