Going Solar in San Diego: It's as Easy as 1-2-3

Going Solar in San Diego: It's as Easy as 1-2-3

Throughout San Diego County and the state of California, the number of people installing rooftop solar systems is increasing daily. In a recent study, San Diego ranked second in the nation’s solar-installed cities, with four out of ten homes having solar units. This translates to roughly 210,500 residential and non-residential rooftop solar installations in our service territory – the highest per capita penetration in the continental USA.

In fact, SDG&E has one of the fastest solar interconnection processes (less than 3 calendar days on average) in California. Our highly skilled engineering team also invented and patented a device to streamline and reduce the costs for solar installation on older homes.

Since the sun shines an average of 146 days out of the year in San Diego, it only makes sense to harness solar energy to power our homes and vehicles. And with so much misinformation regarding going solar, we’re here to provide helpful information on how to get started or learn more.

Getting Started

If you’re deciding to make the switch, there are some essential facts to know moving forward. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) – the state agency that regulates privately owned utilities – recently published its Solar Consumer Protection Guide to inform customers of potential false claims regarding residential solar systems. It also provides a roadmap for homeowners on how to go solar.

Why go Solar?

While there are countless aspects to going solar, here are three key areas that we’ve found are beneficial:

  • Environmental responsibility: Protecting the environment is a reward unto itself. By investing in a rooftop solar unit(s) for your home or business, you can feel good about your role in contributing to a cleaner energy grid.
  • Energy and bill savings: When you generate your own energy, you often need to buy less from the grid. Depending on your usage, this could reduce your bill or help offset costs when your system isn’t producing electricity, or during the summer when you use more than you generate.
  • Stay connected: The existing power grid is already greener than you may think. Around 40 percent of the energy we currently deliver is from renewable sources like wind and solar farms. Plus, it’s always there to back up your renewable system at night when the sun sets or the wind dies down, so you always have a reliable source of power.

What is Net Energy Metering (NEM)?

Net Energy Metering (NEM) is how we’ll track and bill your energy usage. Think of it as a two-way conversation between your home’s renewable system and our company. This means that rooftop solar customers receive a credit on their electric bills when their system generates more power than they need, and that power is sent to the electric grid.

Today, the credit that rooftop solar customers receive for excess energy sent to the grid is 25 cents per kilowatt-hour on average statewide. By comparison, the cost for energy from a large-scale solar farm is 3 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The NEM-enabled meter will inform us when you need energy from the grid (if the sun disappears) or when your system generated more energy than needed. To learn more about NEM, please visit here.

NEM and Battery Storage

Not only do rooftop solar systems feed power to the grid, but as more residents integrate batteries into their photovoltaic (PV) systems, it’s also important to understand how this relationship may affect your bill. When you submit your solar application to us, you will be able to choose your plan.

The CPUC has adopted statewide rules to ensure that NEM generation credits are earned only from the PV's power, not for energy delivered from the electrical grid used to charge the battery.

Finding a Contractor/Available Rebates

While we do not endorse any contractor, you can search for certified contractors in your area using this tool. And when it comes to selecting a contractor, please following these tips:

  • Get three or more estimates (in writing).
  • Only hire a licensed contractor. Also, make sure that they are insured and bonded.
  • Read any documents thoroughly before signing.
  • Know your rights: California has rules to protect consumers, so please stay informed about your rights here.

Lastly, as always, our customer support specialists are available at 1.800.411.7343 to direct you to the correct program.