Mid-Year Legislative Update: With Rich Borba

 

We sat down with Rich Borba, JKB Energy’s Director of Business Development, for a midyear check-in to learn more about what is happening on the legislative side of the solar industry. Rich spends a tremendous amount of time lobbying on behalf of our customers in Sacramento. He has a finger on the pulse of what’s happening with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and utility companies including PG&E and Southern California Edison.

Top 6 Updates
"You heard it from JKB first!"

1.) Net Energy Metering 2.0
Back in January, the NEM 2.0 final decision adopted nearly all of the original NEM 1.0 regulations. The most notable is NEM 2.0 customers will be grandfathered and eligible to remain on NEM 2.0 for at least twenty years - same as NEM 1.0 customers. In addition, whatever rate the customer is currently holding will transfer into an equally efficient rate once the change is made. This is a fantastic reason to make the investment now to guarantee NEM 2.0 benefits!

2.) Non-Bypassable Charges
If you decide to install or make upgrades while still in NEM 1.0, then you’ll be grandfathered into the NEM 1.0 conditions and will be exempt from the new set of non-bypassable charges. However, if your system is not completed before the cap fills, then you will incur the non-bypassable rate on any energy consumed that is not generated by your solar system. These assessment charges are primarily used for energy savings programs such as tree planting, energy saving refrigerator credits, and other similar programs.

3.) Meter Aggregation Going Strong
Arguments for canceling meter aggregation were made in the winter of 2015, however, those are now null and void. JKB Energy has continued to lobby against restricting or ending meter aggregation.

4.) Lifting the 1-Megawatt Cap
Unlike NEM 1.0, NEM 2.0 project sizes can be built to match annual usage. This means that project sizes are no longer limited to 1 megawatt. However, it is important to note that larger systems could be subject to higher interconnection costs and potential construction upgrade requirements.

5.) Addressing Late Interconnection Timelines
In order to address lagging interconnection timelines, a new bill will authorize the CPUC to establish a “speedy resolution” process in regards to disputes over interconnection applications, allowing no more than 60 days from the time the dispute is formally presented. CPUC and solar providers around the state are pushing for it, and so are we. This bill has passed in the Assembly and is presently sitting in the Senate. Please note that Rich has met with a rep at CALSEIA to discuss the policy, any likely issues and how the bill will benefit our customers.

6.) Utility Rule Update - Construction Estimates
To help customers avoid headaches, inaccurate information and to encourage solar adoption, Rule 21 will require engineering teams and contractors to alleviate ambiguity in their estimates.  Rich mentions, “We’re hoping to nail down cost certainty in the end and reduce estimates in cases where system upgrades are needed.”

 
Chad Cummings