Category: "Residential Solar"

01/14/22

  03:05:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 270 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Commercial Solar, Residential Solar, Non-profit solar, Net Metering

Run on Sun Rallies for Solar Jobs - along with a few thousand of our friends!

On Thursday, January 13, 2022, the Run on Sun crew - and a few thousand of our friends and colleagues - got together at simultaneous rallies in Los Angeles and San Francisco.  Our message was simple: the Proposed Decision from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) would imperil thousands of solar jobs, drive up the cost for solar for everyone (truly meaning that only the most affluent could afford it), and frustrate California’s efforts to address Climate Change.  It is time for Governor Newsom to do more than suggest that the proposal, “needs some work."  In fact, the Proposed Decision needs to be scrapped in favor of a policy that will make solar more affordable for everyone.

Nearly two thousand people gathered in LA’s Grand Park to listen to CALSSA’s Policy Director,  Brad Heavner, and other speakers exhort the crowd to stand strong in solidarity against the CPUC’s disastrous proposal.  We then marched from the park the four blocks to the CPUC’s offices in DTLA.  Along the way we were greeted by cars honking in support of solar - including the driver of a Metro bus!

Here are some images from the rally:

Amanda does her thing!

Project Coordinator Amanda Watson puts the finishing touches on our signs!

Crowd listens

Crowd at Grand Park listens to Brad and the other speakers.

Marching to the CPUC!

Amanda’s colorful sign tells the story!

Making our voices heard

Making our voices heard outside the CPUC offices.

Colleagues

Amanda and Adrian flank Scanifly’s Chance Venable at the march’s end.

By any measure, the rallies were a success - but there’s still one metric to be determined: the final outcome! Of course, we will write about that as soon as we know more. Watch this space.

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01/05/22

  02:15:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 174 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Residential Solar

Guess Who is Certified to Install IQ8?

Readers of this blog know quite well that the long-awaited Enphase IQ8 microinverters are almost here.  (Enphase reports that shipments have started, and our distributor is promising to have them in numbers by next month.)  But there’s one slight catch: in order to commission a PV system with IQ8’s, you have to be certified by going through an online training at Enphase University!

So guess who just got certified?

IQ8 certification for Jim Jenal of Run on Sun

Jim Jenal - newly certified IQ8 Installer!

The training takes you through all of the four use cases for installing IQ8: solar only (no backup or storage components), Sunlight Backup which allows partial backup even without adding any storage components, Partial Home Backup and Full Home Backup. Each of these use cases has different components, and those components need to be properly configured to guarantee that the solar system owner has the best possible experience.

We are excited to be at the forefront of this exciting next step in our partnership with Enphase, and with you, our cherished clients.

Let’s make 2022 one for the record books!

10/30/21

  03:11:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 588 words  
Categories: Solar Economics, Residential Solar, Net Metering

NEM 3.0 Transition Rules - Potential Solar Clients Need to Read This!

New solar clients in Southern California Edison territory (along with their counterparts in PG&E or SDG&E territories) will soon find themselves operating under the not yet known, but certainly less advantageous NEM 3.0 rules that has the potential to significantly affect their return on investment.  While NEM 3.0 won’t go into effect for some time, we already have an idea of what clients need to do to secure the benefits of the present NEM rules.  Here’s what we know so far…

NEM 2.0 - the Present State of Play

SCE customer presently operate under NEM 2.0 rules established a number of years ago.  (Municipal utility customers, such as those in PWP or LADWP, are unaffected by any of this, fortunately.)  We wrote extensively about the impact of the NEM 2.0 transition at the time, as this article from 2017 explained: NEM 2.0 is Here - Now What? 

Essentially the NEM 2.0 rules made several changes: they introduced a one-time application fee of $75, they forced solar customers onto a Time-of-Use rate structure (instead of the more solar-friendly tiered rates), and they introduced the concept of non-bypassable charges - components of the rate structure that have to be paid on every kWh imported from the grid, even if it would otherwise be “netted out” thanks to energy exported.

Those changes, while concerning as they marked the first successful effort to chip away at the benefits of net metering, turned out to be relatively mild and the industry surged forward despite them.

NEM 3.0 - Dark Days Ahead?

Now we are in the middle of the process of bringing about NEM 3.0, and it looks far scarier than what we faced in 2017.  For example, one proposal calls for monthly fees on the order of $75 for every residential solar customer (commercial customers would pay far more).  The value of exported energy might drop by as much as 80%!  Payback periods could balloon to as much as 20 years!

(Take a moment to sign the petition to make the new NEM 3.0 rules more favorable to solar system owners!)

However that process turns out, if it is possible to get in under the current rules you will save a lot of money!  Here’s what we know about how the transition period will be handled:

  • If you sign a contract and submit your complete interconnection application to SCE by mid-January you are guaranteed of 20 years under the more favorable NEM 2.0 rules!

  • If you submit between mid-January and April, you will start under NEM 2.0, but the 20-year term is not guaranteed.

  • If you submit after April but before NEM 3.0 is fully up and running, you will start on NEM 2.0 for a set term of years, but you may be forced onto a rate that includes a monthly fee.

  • Applications submitted after August, will likely be completely under NEM 3.0

The uncertainty around all of this is distressing but is out of our hands.

What we can do is to urge folks on the fence about going solar to act before mid-January.  Bear in mind that the project does not need to be completed by mid-January, you simply have to have your completed application submitted by then.  We anticipate quite the rush to get applications in by then, and there is always the concern that a reviewer at SCE might kick back an application and deem it incomplete.  The best way to be safe is to get the application in as soon as possible, thereby avoiding the crunch.

So right now really is the best time for anyone in SCE’s service area to go solar!  Give us a call and let’s get the process started!

 

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10/26/21

  05:46:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 591 words  
Categories: Residential Solar, Energy Storage

Enphase IQ8 Released - Sunlight Backup is a Thing!

They say all good things come to they who wait - and boy have I been waiting for this day for a long, long time! But Enphase has finally released their much anticipated IQ8 microinverter - the first device that can provide “Sunlight Backup” without batteries! Here’s my take…

Long Time Comin!

Those of you who follow this blog know that I have been writing about the IQ8 microinverter for almost forever, starting with this piece from August 2018, titled “What I saw at Enphase - Mind Blown!“  Back then I was fortunate enough to get to visit the Enphase lab in Petaluma and got to see a demonstration of what Enphase is now calling “Sunlight Backup” - the ability for your PV system to continue to operate when the grid goes down.  While I wasn’t allowed to record the demo, Enphase, to mark the public release of the IQ8, has posted the following video which illustrates the concept quite nicely:

This is the wow-factor for the IQ8 - when combined with an automatic transfer switch for code compliance - if the grid fails during the day, your PV system with IQ8s on the roof will continue to produce power, no batteries needed!

Of course, there are a few caveats: during the day the output from your PV system will fluctuate based on prevailing conditions.  For example, it rained like crazy here yesterday - and the power went out!  How much value would the PV have been then?  Not too much.  However, today the sun is shining like crazy and the weather is cool, the air clean - outstanding day for solar production.  Go ahead, take down the grid, we’ll be just fine!

And a word about code compliance.  The anti-islanding rules that require a grid-tied PV system to not export power to the grid when the grid fails, are still very much in force.  After all, we want our systems to be safe for all involved.  So to meet code, you need to also install an automatic transfer switch, which Enphase is now calling the IQ System Controller - FKA Enpower - into your system.  But the IQ System Controller costs a fraction of what the actual storage components do, so this is a way to have some power during the day at minimal additional cost!

As this video nicely demonstrates, if you have too many loads turned on when the grid fails, the microgrid cannot start.  But as soon as you shed sufficient loads, the microgrid will form instantly, all on its own.

Enphase has put together a pretty good chart (albeit kinda small here, but click on it to see it full size) that shows the components needed to achieve different capabilities:

 energy goals chart

Solar Only is what we have been doing for years.  Home Essentials Backup, aka partial-home backup, and Full Energy Independence, aka full-home backup are what you get when you add storage.  But Sunlight Backup is what IQ8 brings to the party!

Please don’t keep-a me waitin…

So when can we put these on your roof?  Well not today, that’s for certain.  We are being told that we will see shipments toward the end of December.  (Of course, if they are coming into the ports of either LA or Long Beach, we could be waiting for months!)   First quarter of next year is likely a safer bet.  Still waiting to see firm pricing as well, but figure something like 25% higher than the comparable IQ7+ that we have been installing for the past two years - and without a single unit failure!

The wait is almost over - watch this space!

 

10/22/21

  03:00:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 386 words  
Categories: SCE, Residential Solar, Net Metering

Battle to Save Rooftop Solar - Act Now!

Readers of this blog are well aware of the fight being waged before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) as we first wrote about this back in February!  Now we are entering the final stretch in this fight, and quite frankly, we are losing. 

Why, you ask?  How can we be losing the battle to preserve your right to put solar on your home or business, when everybody loves that idea?  The answer is easy: the opposing forces - we are talking about you here, Southern California Edison - have nearly infinitely more money than we do, and they are spending it like crazy.  So how do we possibly fight back?

With you.  And tens of thousands of other folks just like you.

The California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA) - our trade association - is fighting hard to preserve the value of the investment made by past solar clients, and those in the future.  They have created an audacious goal: generate 200,000 public comments by November 20!  Here’s how CALSSA framed the fight:

“If the broad light of day could be let in upon men’s actions, it would purify them as the sun disinfects” – 1891, Louis Brandeis, US Supreme Court Justice

In 2015, the pro-solar coalition submitted 130,000 public comments to the CPUC on the NEM-2 decision. Today, as we near the homestretch in the NEM-3 proceeding, the headwinds are greater and the opposition better organized. Therefore, we are launching a campaign today to reach our goal of generating two hundred thousand public comments by November 20. Reaching this goal would break the record for the greatest number of public comments received by a state agency in history – previously set by solar advocates in 2015. Simply put, two hundred thousand is a number that the CPUC and the governor simply can’t ignore. It is the sunshine that is needed to fight against the corrupting influence of SCE and the other utilities

We cannot afford anyone sitting on the sidelines.  If you own a solar power system, the value of your investment is at stake.  If you realize that rooftop solar is a key piece in how we reduce carbon emissions to combat climate change, that goal is under attack!

It’s easy to join the fight: Mash that button below and tell the CPUC to side with solar consumers and not with the utilities!

Sign the Petition!

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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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