California ruling on net metering a major win for solar

Great news: The California Public Utilities Commission has voted that homeowners with solar power systems will be compensated at the retail rate for power their systems generate and feed back into the electrical grid. 

Utility companies had argued that solar customers should be paid a rate closer to wholesale price to compensate for the "burden" they placed on non-solar customers to pick up the tab left by homeowners who now generate their own power.

Of course, this is not the view of us in the solar industry (and frankly anyone without a vested interest in traditional utilities) as solar consumers relieve pressure on the aging grid infrastructure, minimize fossil-fueled power generation and water usage required in that process, and reduces the need to buy power at expensive peak times. Indeed, the ruling reflects that value and is a major win for renewable energy in California and the US.

“This decision creates certainty for consumers, it creates certainty for clean energy providers, it creates certainty for investors and it upholds California’s strong tradition of clean energy leadership," said Sara Baldwin Auck, regulatory director at the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, a nonprofit policy group that supports clean energy.

New customers will be required to pay an interconnection fee ($75-$150) and begin paying fees of a few cents per kilowatt-hour when utility limits are reached, estimated to be in 2017. Anyone installing a system in advance of those rooftop limits being reached will escape these fees, which will fund low-income and energy efficiency programs.

All in all, it's a positive step for solar and the energy landscape in general. Perhaps Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association, said it best:

"It’s not just net-metering 2.0, it’s grid 2.0 that this decision essentially ushers in.”

 

 

 

Project: KHS Bicycles

KHS Bicycles wanted a solution to spiraling electricity bills at its global headquarters in Rancho Dominguez, California. 

The renowned designer, manufacturer, and distributor of mountain, road, and touring bicycles, as well as comfort tandems and cruisers, is known for its quality, value and integrity and wanted to bring that ethic to its electricity generation too. 

The solar installation and energy management program will save KHS more than $600,000 and reduce its carbon emissions by 1.3million pounds. 

Since its establishment in 1974, KHS has earned many awards and accolades including: the first Taiwan-made bicycle to use Reynolds tubing (1979), Sears Partner in Progress Award (1986), Mountain Biking Magazine's coveted "Bike of the Year Award" (1994), awarded the US patent for the Delta Linear Downtube design (1998), the world's first "softtail" comfort bicycles, and Taiwan's prestigious "Excellent Product" award for its softtail bicycles (200).

For more information on KHS Bicycles Inc., visit www.khsbicycles.com or call 310-632-7173

Save energy this Christmas with a few quick tips!

Electricity bills spike around this time of year for most of us. For those of us who work from offices or buildings that will be closed for the holiday, these few reminders will help keep costs low.

1. When everyone leaves the premises for the Christmas holidays, switch off all computers, photocopiers, printers and non-essential equipment at the plug socket. Leaving these items on standby means they could still be using up to 90% of their power. 

2. Turn off the lights on your desk, in the office, any display lights that don't need to be on. If you need them on at a certain time for security reasons, use a timer. According to the Carbon Trust, lighting the average office building overnight wastes enough energy to heat water for 1,000 cups of coffee!

3. Turn off any Christmas decorations that light up. They may look nice, but if you're not there to enjoy them there is no need to pay for them. This is also heavily recommended from a fire safety perspective. And also, if you do decorate with Christmas lights, consider using LED lights, which are energy efficient.

Happy Holidays!

Project: Chula Vista Community Church

Sunistics Group has partnered with Chula Vista Community Church to help the organization with its energy management needs. 

The installation of a 21KW solar system will offset 90% of its electricity use and reduce its monthly electricity bill from $842 to $119 - more than quarter of a million dollars in savings in total. 

"We chose to go solar because it was the only option for us to get out of the rising costs from the utility company," said Pastor Phil Golden. "In the hottest months, we were paying more than double our usual bill from the cooler months.

"Our experience with Sunistics was positive from the start - and that set them apart. They had time and answers for every question, guided us through everything, and I felt comfortable with the team immediately and throughout. Even when obstacles arose, there was a great personal effort to overcome them and this, as well as their professionalism and clear communication, gave me complete trust in Sunistics. Our opinion of Sunistics is great."

For more information on Chula Vista Community Church, call (619) 422-7850 or visit www.chulavistacommunitychurch.com. 

Project: Plymouth Church, Whittier

Sunistics Group has partnered with Plymouth Church in Whittier to support the organization with its energy management needs for both its church and school facilities. 

A 68KW solar system will offset more than 1.7million pounds of carbon emissions and save the organization almost $650,000 in electricity costs. 

"As a growing church with a school and a pre-school, the increasing costs of electricity over the next few years was going to make it very expensive for us to continue - and guaranteed significant tuition increases," said Pastor Dan Pryor. "Solar power will help us stop the bleeding and continue to focus on our mission, not our electric bills."

For more information on Plymouth Church, visit www.plymouthchurchwhittier.com or call (562) 692-1228.

Project: Coast to Coast Computer Products (Woodland Hills)

Coast to Coast Computer Products is overcoming its high demand charges by partnering with Sunistics Group to install a solar project on the roof of its Woodland Hills location.

A 49KW system significantly reduces Coast to Coast's carbon emissions and will save the company, which provides a complete range of consumable computer supplies, more than $650,000 in electricity costs. 

Coast to Coast have also signed up to install solar at its Simi Valley location, and the company's president and CEO, Rick Roussin, even purchased a Sunistics Group system for his own home. 

"After thoroughly vetting Sunistics Group to provide energy management and solar solutions for our Coast to Coast Computer Products business locations, I was very comfortable using their expertise for my home project," said Rick.

"I'm very pleased with the results and highly recommend their services for both business and residential solar."

For more information on Coast to Coast Computer Products, visit www.coastcoast.com or call 800-223-8890.