While we wait, and wait, and wait some more for the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to publish a new Proposed Decision for Net Energy Metering 3.0, the silence from Governor Newsom has been deafening. And then, out of nowhere, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed a bill that would have done to the Florida solar industry what the CPUC tried to do here. What am I missing?
The Sunshine State of Florida has a comparatively tiny solar market next to that of California - California has more than 1,400,000 rooftop solar installs compared to Florida's 118,000, and the industry employs over 68,000 people in California versus only 11,000 in Florida, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) as of Q42021. So you would think that California's Governor - who is up for re-election this year - would get off the sidelines and into the game. Yet all he has said publicly when asked about the original, disastrous, Proposed Decision, "We still have some work to do." Yah think?
Meanwhile, far to Newsom's right, DeSantis just vetoed a bill in Florida that would have gutted the rooftop solar industry there. Amazing.
So what doesn't Newsom get? After all, every one of the Commissioners at the CPUC were appointed by Newsome. Public comments from him would go a long way toward moving the CPUC to do the right thing. And in an election year, his silence is frankly bad politics. Rooftop solar consistently polls very well, particularly when compared to say, PG&E or SCE!
The California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA) - which has been leading the fight against the CPUC's efforts to kill the rooftop solar industry - put out a comment from Executive Director Bernadette Del Chiaro on the veto from DeSantis, linking it to the NEM 3.0 controversy:
Governor DeSantis did not fall for the utilities’ playbook of protecting their profits and monopolies by eliminating competition from rooftop solar. Governor Newsom’s administration should not fall for it either. When it comes to keeping solar affordable, growing, and contributing to our clean energy future, California should be not only keeping pace with Florida, but leading the world.
As usual, Bernadette is spot on.
Our response has got to be to keep the pressure on Newsom to do the right thing. One way to do that is to call his office and tell him that!
It's super easy - just mash that button below. Do it now! Tell your friends to do it. Let's make so much noise that Newsom will finally get it!
Watch this space...
“Rooftop solar consistently polls very well, particularly when compared to say, PG&E or SCE…”
In light of the unanticipated departure from the solar market of our prior module manufacturer, we needed to go do some research and identify a new module to recommend to our clients. After a month of research, and some time getting certified, we are now ready to rollout our new go-to product: REC Alpha Pure modules! Here's why...
Here's lookin' at ya...
First of all, this black-on-black module will look great on our clients's homes and businesses!
That is a 400 Watt module, slightly taller than our prior 380 Watt modules, but an inch narrower. Frankly, the added power/efficiency and the sharp esthetics were definitely points in REC's favor.
We also were attracted to their avoidance of lead-based solder in their modules, meaning that when the time comes for them to be retired - decades from now! - they are less toxic than other modules on the market.
Wow that Warranty!
But what really wowed us the most was their warranty, covering Performance, Product and Labor. Let's take those one at a time.
Performance - of course, every solar module comes with some sort of performance warranty. After so many years, the product will produce some percentage of its nameplate value. For some panels, that prediction is 85-90% of nameplate after 25 years. On our prior product, it was 90.8%. REC beats them all with a whopping 92% performance after 25 years!
Product - REC offers a 20 year product warranty that gets extended to 25 years when you choose a Certified REC Installer (more on that in a minute). Clearly, REC believes in the quality of their product, particularly when supported by Installers who know what they are doing!
Labor - REC offers a labor warranty (again, when you choose a Certified REC Installer) that pays the installer to make the swap if ever needed - something most manufacturers do not offer at all!
Taken together, that is one of the best warranties in the industry!
Run on Sun's module of choice: the REC Alpha Pure
Warranties are great, but hopefully you will never need to rely on one. Rather, you want a product that outperforms the competition, day in and day out! After all, that is what drives your return on investment, and in the performance space REC really shines.
One real world measure of performance is the PTC to STC ratio. All solar modules have a nameplate rating: a module might be nameplate rated at 380 Watts (our prior module) or 400 Watts - the REC Alpha Pure. That rating is measured under Standard Test Conditions - or STC - which are conditions seen only in a lab and certainly not on a roof. So years ago, the CEC came up with something called the "PV Test Conditions" - PTC for short - that are meant to better capture what is happening on your rooftop, particularly at the higher temperatures found in the real world. Taking the ratio of PTC rating to STC (or nameplate) rating gives you an idea of how well the module will actually perform.
On our old 380 Watt modules, the PTC rating was 352.1 Watts for a ratio of 92.6% - certainly a respectable number. But REC has it beat handily! The PTC rating for the 400 Watt Alpha Pure module is 381 Watts, producing a ratio of 95.25% - a 2.6% advantage for REC! That translates into better performance at temperature, all day, everyday. And that means greater savings for you!
Of course, REC is happy to highlight all of the great features in this truly innovative product, so take it away:
We mentioned that the REC Product warranty extends from 20 to 25 years, and the Labor warranty comes into play if you go with an REC Certified Installer. Readers of this blog will not be surprised to discover that given how much we love certifications - think NABCEP for 12 years, and Enphase for Ensemble and IQ8 - we immediately signed up to get ourselves certified.
By gaining certification, we open up to our clients REC's extended warranties - providing you with additional value at no cost to you. In addition, you have the assurance that we have taken the time to learn about this wonderful product and how to install it in such a manner that you will enjoy many years of uninterrupted performance. You can check out our certification here!
Managing the Solar Coaster...
So the Solar Coaster continues with its ups and downs, but we feel like we have arrived in a great place with REC, and look forward to providing their wonderful products to our clients for many years to come.
If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know in the comments!