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Run on Sun Monthly Newsletter

Run on Sun - the source for Pasadena Solar Power

In this Issue:

May, 2019

Volume: 10 Issue: 5

We Got Rolled

In February, we wrote with some fanfare about a new piece of legislation, SB 288, that was intended to enshrine a Solar Bill of Rights into law. That legislation, introduced by State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) would have helped guarantee a consumer's right to install solar, and it would have limited the ability of utilities to impose unreasonable fees on solar system owners.

Then, in early May we learned that the bill was in the Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Pasadena's own Anthony Portantino. Anticipating an ally in Senator Portantino, we called his office urging his support, and we sent out an urgent request to our clients to contact his office as well. The response was overwhelming as nearly 100 of you took time from your busy lives to contact his office and urge support—thank you so much!

But then we learned what became of our efforts. The bill was gutted, we got rolled. Apparently Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins, got together with Portantino, and they agreed to do the bidding of the utilities and gut the bill.

So this stinks. It is an example of why so many people hate politics. And yeah, it hurts worse when someone you think should be an ally turns out not to be.

But let's get real - the utilities are not our friends, and they will fight hard to preserve their monopolies. It is up to us to increase our organization, make our voices louder, and build our pressure every day.

You could start with a tweet - how about: "Put the Rights back in the Solar Bill of Rights! @SenToniAtkins @Portantino - bring back SB 288, the Solar Bill of Rights!  #SolarRights".

Or how about joining the Solar Rights Alliance – the California non-profit that is working to organize solar consumers throughout the state? It's easy – just click here!

Together we can put an end to back room deals, and protect solar for all Californians - but we need YOU!

“Apparently Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins, got together with Portantino, and they agreed to do the bidding of the utilities and gut the bill…”

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Enphase Releases New Video on IQ8 and Ensemble

Our friends over at Enphase have posted a video to YouTube explaining in non-technical terms what the IQ8 will do for solar consumers, both in the developing world, and here at home.  Here's the video and some quick thoughts about it.

To quote the video, "Isn't it cool?"  Well yes, as we've been saying for quite some time here, this is waaaay cool

But here are some other takeaways from the video:

  • Strong endorsement for interoperability with the IQ6's and IQ7's that we have been installing for the past year and a half.  But no word about how this will work with earlier versions.

  • The Enpower switch - which is needed to legally isolate you from the grid - is pictured, but still no details.

  • A hint at pricing would be nice!

As far as I'm aware, this is the first, general-public-facing details about the IQ8 and Ensemble that Enphase has released.  It went live on May 28, and three days later is sitting on just under 15,000 views, with 154 up-votes to 6 down-votes.  (What is there to down vote?  Gee, SEDG, troll much?)

This will be very cool technology for our clients, but it will truly be life-changing for folks in the developing world or any place where the grid is unreliable.

Watch this space.

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EVs can Boost the Value of Solar

We have bragged on the value of the SaaS product that we use for producing solar proposals, Energy Toolbase, many times before in this Newsletter. One of the more interesting things that it is able to tell you is the percentage of energy that is exported to the grid. Indeed, in many instances, 50% or more of the energy produced by the PV system is not consumed locally; rather, it is sent back to the grid where the system owner receives a credit for that energy.

This is all fine and good in a pure net-metering environment combined with a tiered (or flat) utility rate structure. But such conditions are vanishing rapidly in many areas, and are already a thing of the past in SCE territory where Time-of-Use (TOU) rates and Non-Bypassable Charges erode the value of net metering, and increase the value of local consumption.

Which is where Electric Vehicles (EVs) come in, since they create an expanded demand for local electrical energy consumption. Combined with a small amount of storage - to make that energy available at the convenience of the system owner - and one recent study has found that payback periods for the solar system can be reduced dramatically. The study, which focused on Great Britain and Germany - countries with far less solar insolation than sunny SoCal - determined that:

[I]n Britain – where it currently takes an astounding 19 years to pay off rooftop solar – the payback for a “typical” 4kW rooftop PV system when combined with an 8kWh battery and a small 35kWh EV could be slashed to four years by 2025, and one year in 2030.

Of course, your mileage may vary. But as new product offerings like the Enphase Ensemble system come on line (and inevitably become cheaper), this will become a more and more standard offering. Ten years from now, when EVs are everywhere and TOU rates are not only standard, but ever more draconian, the economics of these combined systems will truly be a "no brainer."

We are eagerly looking forward to that day.

“Indeed, in many instances, 50% or more of the energy produced by the PV system is not consumed locally…”

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