The Turlock Irrigation District will host a solar workshop on Tuesday morning to discuss the future of net metering for solar customers within the district.
On Sept. 23, 2014, the TID Board of Directors unanimously approved a cap on customers who use solar generation to earn a rebate on their electric bills. The 5 percent of the customer aggregated peak demand, required under California Public Utilities Code 2827, was determined to be 27,810 kilowatts.
All customers who had preexisting solar or were able to install solar prior to the cap being reached, which was reached as of Nov. 17, 2014, were able to receive the net metering benefit, however those installing solar outside of the cap were subject to a new rate schedule.
Under net metering, customers pay the customer charge, but earn a rebate based on the netted energy consumed and energy generated. If a customer ends a billing cycle generating more energy than they consume, the customer will receive a credit for the Kilowatt Hours that they generate and send to the TID grid. The amount credited for the Kilowatt Hours produced is at the same rate TID would have charged the customer.
The elimination of net metering for future solar customers has caused concern for both customers and solar companies.
"TID's new solar billing structure appears to have a major impact on savings that TID customers can achieve with solar," said Todd Filbrun, CEO of Kurios Energy, a Manteca solar company, in a press release from the Alliance for Solar Choice. "Keeping utility consumers informed on what options they will have to recoup these savings, such as battery back-up or off-grid solar systems, will be important moving forward."
According to the Alliance for Solar Choice, TID’s elimination of net metering hinders the solar market and the jobs that it creates, as well as customers’ ability to take advantage of renewable energy.
"It appears that this new billing structure will render solar financially nonviable for TID customers, which will hinder us from taking advantage of green energy in the future," John Miller of Miller Farms, Inc., a TID customer, said in a press release. "This is unfortunate because we believe that anything we can do to improve our business, the local economy, and our environment at the same time is good for all parties involved."
TID will host the workshop to discuss the future of net metering and rate schedules for solar customers.
On Tuesday, the TID Board of Directors is also expected to set the 2015 irrigation season.
The TID will host the workshop at 9 a.m. on Tuesday in the Board Room of TID’s Main Office Building, 333 E. Canal Dr.