Category: "Residential Solar"

05/24/22

  08:10:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 1005 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Solar Economics, Commercial Solar, Residential Solar, Ranting, Non-profit solar, Net Metering

Rally to Kill the Solar Tax!

tl;dr - Come Rally with us on June 2, at 10:30 a.m. in Grand Park, DTLA!

As readers of this blog know only too well, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) had proposed - at the urging of the investor-owned utilities (IOUs), that is SCE, PG&E, and SDG&E - a new set of rules for how solar system owners would be compensated for the energy they put back onto the grid.  In a nutshell, that proposal would have pushed the payback period for solar systems to twenty years or more!  In an epic bit of organizing, our trade association - the California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA) - kicked up a ruckus that was clearly heard in Sacramento, by getting folks to sign petitions, issue public comments, testify to the CPUC for six hours straight, and two very loud, very colorful rallies in San Francisco and here in LA.  (If you missed that, you can read about the LA rally here.)

Thanks to those efforts, the original proposal was pulled back.  But that didn’t win the fight, as the CPUC is still talking about a Solar Tax that would destroy the value of rooftop solar for most Californians.

That’s why it’s time to lace up your protest shoes and attend the…

Rally to kill the solar tax

We need to more than double our impressive turnout from the last two rallies.  That means we need you!  And your kids.  And your friends.  And your kids friends - get the picture?

In case you need more detail - really, this is only about saving rooftop solar in California, so I wouldn’t think too many more details would be required but - let CALSSA’s Executive Director, Bernadette Del Chiaro, give you the Word:

On May 9, the CPUC took an unprecedented step of effectively issuing a new decision in the form of 14 questions. Those questions broke five months of silence, pulled back the curtain, and revealed what the CPUC is still thinking: tax solar and send the value of exports over a cliff. The CPUC has essentially floated a trial balloon to see how much push back they will get for proposing a solar tax (by a different name) and repackaging the solar cliff to make it sound nicer (ACC “plus”). Our job is to push back. Hard. Loud. Once and for all: No solar tax. No solar cliff. Not in California. Not now.

We need thousands of you. RSVP here.

Why June 2? For starters, because silence is acquiesce. Think about it. The State of California just floated a proposal to tax the behind-the-meter use of solar energy, again. Every day that goes by in which people aren’t reacting appropriately (i.e., freaking out), is a day in which the message back to our government is one of acceptance. That is certainly not our reality. If we could have, we would have rallied on May 10!
 
Another reason to rally on June 2 is because the CPUC has literally asked for our reaction to their “new” ideas: tax behind-the-meter solar consumption to the tune of $600 per year for the average customer (NOTE: the tax is not limited to the residential market – commercial market you could be caught up in this tragedy, too) and tie export values for everyone to the Avoided Cost Calculator which they have refused to adjust for the rising costs of natural gas, the crisis in the utility-scale market, and the demands of electrification. The CPUC has asked for our reaction by June 10. June 2 is simply the closest date to June 10 at which the CPUC is holding a meeting. The next meeting of the Commission is June 24 which would be too late.
 
Finally, there is never a good time to leave the office and come down off the roof. Collectively, we build more than 400 solar systems a day in California. That’s a lot of activity. And, with all the disruptions to supply chains along with the increased urgency due to this very campaign (ironically driving more people to solar than if they had promised to make gentle and gradual changes from the get-go), our days are busier and more complicated than ever. I get it. But what’s far more inconvenient and costly than shutting down your office for one day is closing your business or laying off half your staff in 2023 because the CPUC got NEM 3.0 horribly wrong. A stitch in time saves nine. Let’s save our market. RSPV now.
 
Finally, you might also be wondering why we should rally. Aren’t there other ways to make our voices heard? Of course the answer to that is, yes, there are many ways to make our voices heard. We are and should continue to speak out through petitions, letters to the governor, testimony that is being written by Brad now (to be submitted June 10), through media (like this question to Governor Newsom by Politico reporter last week), social media, and so much more. But to really be heard, we need to generate media attention too. We need to get on the nightly news and on the pages of the newspapers. Because when we do that, millions of voters hear our cry and we already know those millions are with us on the issue. 
 
It comes down to you reading this message and deciding to join the fray, the fun, the action. So, please join us in either Los Angeles or San Francisco on June 2. It will be worth your time. It will be fun. You’ll be glad you did it.
 
As always, email me with questions or comments.

p.s. Many people like to theorize about the likelihood of a Democratic governor in a pro-environment state harming the darling of the clean energy economy: solar. Putting aside the lack of understanding of how politics really works up here in Sacramento (hint: follow the money toward the path of least resistance), my ask to you is this: don’t leave this critical decision to political theory. Your active involvement in this campaign – most importantly joining us June 2 – will help make sure we win in reality, not just in theory. Let’s not leave anything this important to chance. Join us. 

This is up to us.  This is our fight.  Get in the game, people!  See you on June 2nd!

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04/11/22

  10:45:00 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 752 words  
Categories: Commercial Solar, Residential Solar, Ranting, Non-profit solar

Say Hello to REC Solar!

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…

REC Alpha Pure module

Run on Sun’s module of choice: the REC Alpha Pure

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!

Performance

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:

Certified Better

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.

REC 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!

02/03/22

  05:00:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 402 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Commercial Solar, Residential Solar, Ranting, Non-profit solar, Net Metering

NEM 3.0 Update - Call the Governor!

UPDATE: Bloomberg News makes it official - CPUC is delaying a vote on NEM 3.0 to allow more time to consider changes. Read their piece here - and check out that great sign front-and-center!


We have been reporting on the struggle with the CPUC’s Proposed Decision on Net Energy Metering 3.0 which, in its present form, would decimate the solar industry in the territory of the state’s three Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs), SCE, PG&E, and SDG&E.  Originally the PD was supposed to be voted on during the CPUC’s January 27th meeting, but that was quietly taken off-calendar.  Not so quiet was our response, as 325 of us spoke out against the PD (compared to only 4 who spoke in support) during the longest public comment period ever at the Commission. (You can read my prepared remarks here.)

That meant that the soonest the PD could be voted on was February 10th - but when the Agenda for the meeting was released, the PD was nowhere to be found!  Again, with nothing being said officially from the CPUC.

Then, just today, over on investing site Seeking Alpha, came this tantalizing tidbit:

California Public Utilities Commission President Alice Reynolds reportedly has asked for more time to review and consider revisions to a proposal that would cut incentives for residential rooftop solar systems in the state.

No idea where that “report” comes from, as we haven’t been able to find any news stories on point.  Keep in mind that our marathon public comment period at the last meeting was only Reynolds’s second meeting as President of the CPUC - previously she was working for Governor Newsom.

Even without a clue as to what revisions Reynolds might be considering, the delay itself is a benefit as it gives potential solar clients more time to pull the trigger and get in under the existing NEM rules - which will certainly be better than the new rules, regardless of what revisions might come down the pike.

In any event, our collective outcry has clearly been heard, but we will need to keep the pressure on, and I’ve got just the means to do that - Call Governor Newsom!  Our friends at CALSSA have made it super easy to do just that.  Just mash that button below, and that will take you to the CALSSA Call Newsom website that will hook you up.  It’s fast, simple, and effective.  So don’t delay, mash away!  And watch this space!

01/27/22

  01:51:00 am, by   , 492 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Commercial Solar, Residential Solar, Ranting, Non-profit solar, Net Metering

Prepared Remarks of Jim Jenal before the CPUC

Today’s CPUC public comment period attracted more than 400 people looking to speak - each for no more than one minute.  Below are the prepared remarks of Run on Sun Founder and CEO, Jim Jenal.

My name is Jim Jenal, and I am the Founder and CEO of Run on Sun, a solar and storage installation company in Pasadena.

I saw the flier that SCE distributed in my service area proclaiming that the present NEM rules are “Making Billionaires & Big Businesses Rich” – and I just had to shake my head, as I really don’t know who they are talking about.

Run on Sun is a gross revenue, half-a-million a year company, not exactly a big business; and no, I’m not a millionaire, let alone a billionaire.  Nor is anyone I know in this industry.  Most of us are small, and scrapy, and are doing this because we believe in the mission: to make the world a better place – one roof at a time.

And after all, isn’t that what we all strive to achieve?  To make the world a better place for our kids?

The Proposed Decision does the opposite, and it needs to be scrapped.

(Editor’s note: this was all that could be presented in one minute.  The remainder of the prepared remarks continue below.)

SCE's lying flyer

SCE’s lying flyer distributed to rate payers.

The statements on SCE’s flier prove just one thing: the IOUs and their allies LIE.  They are lying to the public and to this Commission about what is at stake with this rule change.

My company, Run on Sun, has been in business since 2006 – we have weathered two massive recessions and survived a once in a century, global pandemic.  We went a full quarter in 2020 and didn’t book a nickel in revenue – but we are back, stronger than ever.

And why is that?  Because our clients want what we offer – independence.  Independence from the misrepresentations and mismanagement of SCE and its IOU counterparts.

We are a local company, roughly 60% of our business is in SCE territory.  After thousands of “kitchen table” conversations with prospective clients I can tell you that if the Proposed Decision is adopted, 80% of our SCE clients will NOT go forward.  A twenty-year payback period just doesn’t make sense for most folks.  Rather, the only ones who will go forward will be those for whom payback periods just don’t matter. 

Surely that won’t make going solar more equitable.

The Proposed Decision is a disaster for the rooftop solar industry, for our clients, and for California’s stated goal to be a leader in solving the Climate Crisis.

The Proposed Decision does the opposite.  It will decimate the rooftop solar industry in California, and send a terrible message to the rest of the country.

It needs to be scrapped, and replaced by a rule change that spurs the necessary expanding growth of the most successful solar and storage market in the country.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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01/22/22

  01:43:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 392 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Commercial Solar, Residential Solar, Ranting, Non-profit solar, Net Metering

CPUC Delays Decision - Urgent Action Needed!

TL;DR - We are having an impact, but we need your voice on the 27th!


Rally goers in downtown LANine days ago, thousands of solar supporters rallied against the CPUC’s Proposed Decision that would gut the value of rooftop solar, driving payback periods from 5-7 years to 20 years or more! As of that date, the CPUC was scheduled to vote on the Proposed Decision at its next scheduled meeting - January 27th.  A veteran of many a march in my time, I know that sometimes it can seem futile - does anybody care?  Is anyone who matters really listening?

Turns out the CPUC was listening: earlier this week we learned that, quietly, the vote on the Proposed Decision was taken off the agenda for the meeting on the 27th!  So, squeak, squeak, we are having an impact - and by we I mean everyone of the 120,000 people who have signed our petition, or called the Governor’s office, or yes, marched in the streets.  You have taken action and you have been heard!  So thank you for taking the time to help save rooftop solar.

But there’s more to do (of course)…

We need as many people as possible to sign up to speak to the CPUC board during the public comment period on Thursday, January 27th at 10 a.m.  Certainly every solar company in the state should have someone speak, but we also need the public to add their voices.  We know that the utilities like SCE will be having their workers call in, repeating the same scripts over and over.  What we need to counter that are regular folks - people who have solar now and are angry that the CPUC would change the rules midstream, or people who would like to add solar but won’t be able to afford it if the payback period goes to 20 years or longer, or simply people who believe that SCE shouldn’t be able to tax people for the privilege of putting solar on their home or business.

In other words, we need YOU.

CALSSA is making it easy - providing a form where you can sign up to speak.  How?  Just SMASH the Sign Me Up! button below and we will take care of the rest.  Speakers are limited to one minute, so all you really need to do is say something short and sweet, from the heart.

Thank you for your support!

SIGN ME UP!

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Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
Run on Sun also offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities, and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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