Will California Start To Allow Solar Battery Net Metering?

Consumers, industry professionals and utilities in California are working together regarding selling solar generated electricity, stored in a battery, back to the utility companies.


If you follow solar energy news enough you are starting to hear more about solar power storage batteries. That’s because like every technology associated with solar energy generation the technology going into them has improved and their cost keeps going down. Since batteries add a new dimension to solar generated power no one knows how quite to treat them yet in different situations. One of them has to do with net metering which is people selling their excess solar derived energy back to the power companies. 

Consumers, industry professionals and utilities in one state are working together to come up with some positive solutions and proposals regarding selling solar generated electricity back to the utility companies. That state is California. As of now individuals can sell direct solar generated power back to the utilities but cannot sell solar generated power that passes through a solar storage battery back to the utilities. 

These groups working together in California are trying to come up with some guidelines as to what conditions need to be met before people can sell their excess battery stored solar energy back to the grid. 

Why Isn’t It Being Done Already? 

You may be wondering if the excess electricity stored in solar batteries is already there, then why isn’t anyone selling it back to the grid or trying to buy it. That is a perfectly understandable question and one which I met too as I first researched this topic. 

There are actually four very good reasons why homeowners with solar power generators are not selling their excess stored electricity back to the grid yet. 

1.  Solar Collection Improvements are Recent 

It’s no secret that for years and years most people did not produce nearly enough solar generated power to even have any excess to sell. Recent advancements in solar photovoltaic cell technology have started to greatly change that. Now solar panels are more efficient at producing power than they have ever been.

2.  Energy was not worth much during the day when it was mainly produced 

California has a time-of-use rate system where the energy is more valuable at night during its peak use and less valuable during the day when solar energy production is at its highest. 

3. Solar Battery Price and Storage Capacity Have Just Begun to Come Down 

Solar batteries are just getting to the point where some can afford them. The technology on how much collected energy these batteries store is also improving dramatically as the technology gets better. 

4. There is No Way to Tell If The Homeowners Solar Grid is 100% Solar Dedicated 

Most solar storage batteries can be charged not only off of the solar cells they are hooked up to but also from other energy sources such as the electricity in one’s home. At the moment there is no exact means to tell if a solar energy setup is a 100% dedicated and pure solar setup. 

The last one is the big sticking point as far as utilities letting people sell excess solar energy back to them that has passed through a solar battery. Under the proposal that’s being studied in California they are looking closely at ways to make sure a solar power generation system with a battery on its line is indeed a 100% solar only system. 

Currently the best option to make sure a solar energy setup with a battery is completely solar is by combining the use of firmware with a DC-coupled inverter that would prevent the entire system being used as anything but a 100% dedicated solar only system.

Utilities in Other States Are Watching Closely 

You can bet utilities in other states are playing close attention to the goings on in California too. As well are solar equipment manufacturers and solar energy producing homeowners. This is a decision that really could change the way people view going to the expense of installing solar power generated systems on their homes. If they can actually be paid to sell their excess solar generated power back to the grid it gives homeowners another way to offset the costs of install solar power generating systems, 

This is something that has to have solar equipment manufacturers and installers salivating at the possibilities. There could be a big spike in solar power generating equipment sales if people find out this equipment may even be able to provide a small revenue stream for them.   




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