At first, I was vastly disappointed by the huge hike in the permit fee that San Diego will be now charging for "all" solar systems, but it seems that "all" solar systems actually means "all that want to be counted as rebate-ready" solar systems instead.

Anybody wanting to set up an off-grid system has about as much obligation to report it to city bureaucrats as any of us who put in solar-powered lawn lights between the driveway and front door.

It appears that people who set up a bunch of off-grid systems are as obligated as those of us putting a whole bunch of solar lawn lights to self-report and get dinged for a whole pocketful of benjamins.

This remains enough of a question in my mind that I'll actually have to ask somebody in the city attorney's office for an opinion.

If I am right about this, then I don't see why clever San Diegans aren't doing all they can to say the heck with rebates and just go with the market flow by reducing their expenses payable to SDG&E by a whole lot, a few solar panels at a time.

For those of you who don't like the unsightliness of a whole mess o' solar setups in the yard, then feel free to keep that SDG&E bill as high as it has been (actually, it's set to go higher by 3%... or more depending on how many SDG&E rate increases are in the pipeline now).

The utility is thanking all of us who contribute our excess electricity to the grid for free, so that the utility can go and sell it for a profit to your neighbors.

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