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Run on Sun Monthly Newsletter

Run on Sun - the source for Pasadena Solar Power

In this Issue:

February, 2018

Volume: 9 Issue: 2

Beware SCE's Attempt to Switch Solar Customers to TOU Rates!

Attention SCE customers who installed solar before the NEM 2.0 deadline (that is, you installed solar before July 1, 2017) - we just learned that SCE is sending around notices suggesting that you switch over to a Time-of-Use rate. You do not need to make that switch, and you most likely don't want to!
Here are the facts...

SCE customers who installed solar systems prior to the transition to Net Energy Metering 2.0 rules ("NEM 1.0 Customers") are grandfathered into their existing tiered rate structures for 20 years following their go-live date.  While the costs under that rate structure may change, the basic design - a tiered rate where you pay more the more you use, versus a time-of-use rate where what you pay is tied to when you use it - is locked in.  For most solar system owners, that is a better deal.

But we just learned that SCE is trying to convince NEM 1.0 Customers to switch to TOU rates.  (You can find their oh-so encouraging web page for the transition here.)  For the vast majority of solar system owners, such a transition is NOT IN YOUR BEST INTEREST!  The TOU rates have their highest charges either from 4-9 or 5-8, and their lowest charges between 8 a.m. and 4 or 5 p.m.  That means that any energy exported back to the grid will be compensated at the lowest rate (unless your system happens to be exporting after 4 or 5 in the evening, not very likely), whereas energy you need to use in the evening will cost you the most!  

Check out these numbers:

SCE's 4-9 p.m. TOU rate      SCE's 5-8 p.m. TOU rate
SCE's 4-9 p.m. Time-of-Use Summer Rates   SCE's 5-8 p.m. Time-of-Use Summer Rates

Yikes!  That's a whopping 49¢/kWh if you select the 5-8 p.m. rate - but you will only earn 23¢/kWh for energy that you export from your solar system!  Not a good deal at all!

The good news is you don't have to make this switch!  And if you mistakenly were convinced to switch, you have the right to switch back.  (Similar scams are underway in PG&E and SDG&E territory as well.)  If you have questions, give us a call and we will help you to sort this out.

“For the vast majority of solar system owners, switching to TOU rates is NOT IN YOUR BEST INTEREST!

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Down the Rabbit Hole - Two Years Later

Back in 2016 we wrote about a tangled series of misleading solar advertisements under the title of Down the Rabbit Hole. Seems it struck a chord with readers - it is the 4th highest ranked blog post since we wrote it.  The conclusion to that post went as follows: 

These are the sorts of deceptive business practices that are giving the solar industry such a black eye, and one can only hope that the FTC and state AG’s are paying attention.  But we in the industry have an obligation to shut this sort of thing down.  If you purchase leads you need to know how those leads are generated and not support lead generators who are engaged in these sorts of practices.  Make no mistake - these lead-gen operators are making money because solar companies are buying what they are selling!  We can help ensure consumers are better served simply by refusing to participate - or we can wait for the regulators to step in and make all of our lives more difficult.

Alas, that Rabbit Hole is still there, as my online encounter today demonstrated all too clearly.  Follow along, dear reader...

Much of our work is done in Pasadena, where we are based.  So this got my attention while I was wasting time on the Internet:

Pasadena offers no cost solar to SCE customers???

I suspect this will come as a surprise to the City of Pasadena!

First off this is sponsored content, which means that our old friends, The Solar Institute, paid for this to appear on the webpage I was reading - from my office in Pasadena.  But here's the rub, Pasadena, of course, has its own municipal utility - Pasadena Water & Power - so why would it be subsidizing SCE rate payers with "no cost solar"?  Easy - they wouldn't!

Second, is this really "no cost"?  Wow, what a deal!  Who wouldn't jump at that opportunity?

And so down the Rabbit Hole we go...

Clicking on that link takes you to this site, which looks astonishingly like their site from nearly two years ago.  The main difference?  This is now just ever so slightly less deceptive as it now says it is an advertisement - that disclaimer wasn't there in 2016.  But they have doubled down on their Tesla/Elon Musk appropriation - previously they just had his alleged quote in the upper right, now they have added the Solar City/Tesla solar roof image to bolster their bona fides
Attention, Tesla legal department, you might want to have a chat with these folks as they are tarnishing your brand!

And check out the blatantly misleading headline - because NO, SCE customers cannot go solar at no cost.  (Neither can anyone else, for that matter!)

SCE customers can no go solar at no cost

The body text is just as bad:

There is a new Solar Program available in Southern California and it’s got Southern California Edison(SCE) shaking in their boots. This new solar program qualifies SCE customers, who live in specific zip codes, to receive $1000’s in Government rebates and tax breaks. Homeowners are shocked to learn that subsidies and rebates cover 99% of costs associated with installation. With the option to put $0 down, you’ll start saving immediately.

Where to start?  I doubt that SCE is losing much sleep about this since there is no "new solar program" - just the same old scam that The Solar Institute has been running since 2016.  There are no "Government rebates," and the federal tax break is not dependent on your utility or your zip code - and it certainly isn't dependent on you going through these bozos.

Instead this is nothing more than a lead-generation site, pushing solar leases on unwitting consumers, and using other people's names and intellectual property to lend credibility to their scam.

If you scroll down to the bottom of their page they have a link seeking solar companies  to "Partner with us" - and there is the problem, solar companies continue to purchase leads from scam artists like this.  Shame on them.

If you are a consumer, caveat emptor - if a deal sounds too good to be true, walk away!  There are plenty of reputable solar companies out there - you can find many of them in the Member Directory of the California Solar & Storage Association.

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Cinematic Solar is Bad - Run on Sun is Here to Help!

We live and work in a town full of interesting architecture. Perhaps you’ve heard of Greene & Greene? And, if you aren’t local, you may not realize that we are this close to Hollywood, which really means Burbank, and that means we are frequently hosting film crews for TV and movies.

On any given day we can expect to pass a small to large encampment of unmarked white box trucks, yellow and black signs, and the trailer of port-a-potties that look much nicer than what you see on a construction site.

This gives us ample opportunity to muse about the next award-winning masterpiece filming in our backyard. Sometimes we pass someone on the sidewalk and realize, belatedly (being not-so-good at facial recognition), that we just passed so-and-so, that actress who is in everything! Neat! And then we wonder, “is Solar being accurately represented in this project?”

Well, look no further for advice on that topic. How should you incorporate solar into your dystopian post-apocalyptic nightmare drama movie show?

  1. Point the panels toward the sun. Yes. They need sunlight. Point them south if you can.
  2. Put them where it is sunny, which means not under a tree.
  3. Put them up high, not on the ground. The higher they are, the fewer shadows they have to deal with.
  4. Don’t put them on cars. It’s bad math. Bad electromechanical bad engineering bad math. Not smart. Someone at Run on Sun has run the numbers. Trust us.

Why does it matter? Because the solar industry has grown like crazy and solar geeks are watching your shows. And we are pointing at the TV and saying “nope!”

This is not the way to feature solar!

Someone at Run on Sun felt that The Walking Dead took some gross artistic liberties with distantly-spaced panels sitting on the ground in Woodbury. Too much shade, and the voltage drop would make the solar almost not worth the trouble. Also, they never seemed to be getting direct sunlight. What is happening here?

So, to that end, we are here to help. If you want us to come to your award-winning awesome amazing filming location and give you a few pointers, we are at your service!

“If you want us to come to your award-winning awesome amazing filming location and give you a few pointers, we are at your service!”

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