4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Rough road ahead for solar adopters

Bad news among the good

"I'm thinking I can get some extra panels in over the addition on my garage..."
"I'm thinking I can get some extra panels in over the addition on my garage..."

The Solar Energy Industries Association was in town last week, hosting an annual conference for more than 800 solar-related businesses.

"The market has continued along going into this year — we may see a slowdown coming due to the changing economics, but for San Diego, with its ideal environment, there's still a strong inclination toward going solar," said the association's state director, Rick Umoff, when reached for comment on Monday (April 2).

One key factor in those changing economics is a push from utilities to move new solar customers into a "time of use" pricing plan that pays them less for power delivered to the grid when the sun is likely to be shining and charges more for power purchased during the evening hours.

"This is happening with [investor-owned utilities] across the state, not just in San Diego," Umoff noted. "What it's ultimately going to do is drive storage adoption."

Since new solar utility customers (and existing ones, as grandfathered rate plans expire) won't be able to count on earnings from feeding excess power back into the grid; installers say that in-home battery backup that allows a house to store excess energy for the evening is an important component of a solar system.

In recent months, representatives of storage solutions like Tesla's Powerwall have taken to hawking their wares in the aisles of big box stores such as Home Depot, where displays have become a permanent fixture. Still, the batteries can add $6000 or more to the cost of going solar, money that'll take longer to recoup given new lower utility purchase rates.

"We're in a bit of a transition period," Umoff says, though in the long run he's not worried. "In the coming years, as customers adopt to the new time-of-use rates and the cost of on-site storage comes down more benefit will shift back to the consumer.

"New trade tariffs are going to mean additional soft costs over the next couple years, but the effects are really going to hit more next year than this year," Umoff continued.

Data provided by the Association suggests that throughout California, where 15 percent of energy needs are met by solar, the average cost of a new installation has decreased 55 percent over the last five years — more than offsetting an increase in importation costs.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Did Torrey Pines go all-white?

What Almost Factual News means to readers
Next Article

Thunderheads in the east, flea season

Orioles moved from Sycamores to palms
"I'm thinking I can get some extra panels in over the addition on my garage..."
"I'm thinking I can get some extra panels in over the addition on my garage..."

The Solar Energy Industries Association was in town last week, hosting an annual conference for more than 800 solar-related businesses.

"The market has continued along going into this year — we may see a slowdown coming due to the changing economics, but for San Diego, with its ideal environment, there's still a strong inclination toward going solar," said the association's state director, Rick Umoff, when reached for comment on Monday (April 2).

One key factor in those changing economics is a push from utilities to move new solar customers into a "time of use" pricing plan that pays them less for power delivered to the grid when the sun is likely to be shining and charges more for power purchased during the evening hours.

"This is happening with [investor-owned utilities] across the state, not just in San Diego," Umoff noted. "What it's ultimately going to do is drive storage adoption."

Since new solar utility customers (and existing ones, as grandfathered rate plans expire) won't be able to count on earnings from feeding excess power back into the grid; installers say that in-home battery backup that allows a house to store excess energy for the evening is an important component of a solar system.

In recent months, representatives of storage solutions like Tesla's Powerwall have taken to hawking their wares in the aisles of big box stores such as Home Depot, where displays have become a permanent fixture. Still, the batteries can add $6000 or more to the cost of going solar, money that'll take longer to recoup given new lower utility purchase rates.

"We're in a bit of a transition period," Umoff says, though in the long run he's not worried. "In the coming years, as customers adopt to the new time-of-use rates and the cost of on-site storage comes down more benefit will shift back to the consumer.

"New trade tariffs are going to mean additional soft costs over the next couple years, but the effects are really going to hit more next year than this year," Umoff continued.

Data provided by the Association suggests that throughout California, where 15 percent of energy needs are met by solar, the average cost of a new installation has decreased 55 percent over the last five years — more than offsetting an increase in importation costs.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Del Mar bluffs cause heartache

What to do while waiting for the moving of train tracks
Next Article

For Glass Spells’ Shattered, isolation equals inspiration

Dreaming, driving, and late night walking
Comments
1

Investor owned utilities are all about making money as in profit for the shareholders. Ratepayer owned utilities are the only way to go. As for solar one should be very cautious. Not everyone qualifies for the "30%" tax credit and the financing costs may outweigh the savings. Those who sell solar systems are in the business of sales more than installation and service. Nothing is ever "as seen on TV". Buyer beware.

April 5, 2018

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close