The Bottom Line
You are either going to keep paying your electric provider too much, or save money.
Is Solar Still Worth It – Emphatically YES!
There are still substantial savings
Savings may not be as large as your friends and neighbors who were grandfathered into NEM 2, but a home solar system will still save you many thousands of dollars over paying your electricity provider with their continual high rate increases.
If you can save or keep $50,000 – $130,000 or more, depending on the size of your system and utility rate schedule, would you? Seems like it’s worth serious consideration!
An average 9 kW sized solar PV system with 23 solar panels could save net about $102,000, and paired with a battery about $130,000 or more.
However savings on your electric bill is not the only thing to consider.
While it’s easy to focus on the numbers, it’s worthwhile to step back and consider that energy cost savings is not the only benefit of getting solar.
No matter what you can save, consider these other benefits:
Less dependence on your electric provider
Potential increased home value (average 4% sale price increase per Zillow Research)
Backup power for outages (when paired with battery)
Leaving your estate and family with reduced home operating cost.
Reduced carbon emissions
HERE ARE SIX WAYS TO MAXIMIZE THE SAVINGS FROM SOLAR ON NEM 3
If you’re going to put solar panels on your roof, or install a ground mounted system, consider exploring these tips for maximizing bill savings with a NEM 3. Consulting with a solar expert can help you explore all these options to determine which will save the most and provide the most benefit for your specific circumstances.
1. Pair your solar panels with battery storage
Solar and battery systems allow you to:
Store and use your own solar production, instead of exporting it back to your utility at now very low NEM 3 buyback rates
Provide back up power for essential electrical systems during grid outages (which are only expected to increase)
Reduce your dependency on a utility provider
2. Match electricity consumption with solar production
If battery storage is not of benefit to you, then it is best to use as much of your own solar production as possible to avoid exporting it under low NEM 3 solar buyback rates. One relatively simple trick is to shift your electricity consumption to better match your solar production. This strategy is appropriately named “load shifting.”
With all of our sun in California California, solar production typically peaks between 12 and 1 pm. If you’re at home during this time, or have smart home technology, you can shift your consumption by:
Charging an EV
Using your air conditioner
The idea is that using your own solar electricity is much more valuable than exporting it to the grid under NEM 3 solar buyback rates.
3. Install panels on southwest roof faces or face ground mounts southwest
If your electricity consumption peaks around 5-6 pm, then consider placing your solar panels on a southwest roof surface or build a ground mount system to face southwest. This can shift more of your production to that 5-6 pm time when your use is highest.
It may work out best for you to face your system southwest and shift your energy usage to align as much as possible with your solar production. In other words, do tasks that use the most electricity during the 5-6 pm time with southwest facing solar panels.
4. Undersize solar-only systems to around 80% of your average consumption
It may not seem to make sense, but a detailed analysis of NEM 3 export rates indicates that solar only systems sized to offset around 80% of a household’s electricity consumption can provide greater day 1 savings than a system sized to offset 100%+ of household consumption.
The idea for solar only systems is to use as much of your solar production as possible to avoid exporting electricity at a lower rate than you paid for it.
With an undersized system, a larger share of your solar production is used on-site.
Consider combining the three strategies of load shifting, southwest alignment, and undersizing to around 80% offset to maximize solar savings benefits.
5. Consider getting solar right away to benefit from several months of NEM 2 billing
The final tip to maximize solar NEM 3 solar savings is to install a system as soon as possible to take advantage of a transition period while your utility company is setting up their NEM 3 solar billing software.
Long story short, NEM 3 solar billing is a complicated and it’s going to take time for the your utility company to update their billing systems.
The transition is expected to take several months, and perhaps up to a year.
During the transition, NEM 3 systems will be billed as NEM 2 systems. The California Storage & Storage Association (CALSSA) has surmised that utility companies will not ask customers to reconcile the NEM 2.0 bills during the transition period to NEM 3.
So, solar customers who sign up the earliest under NEM 3 will likely enjoy several months or longer being billed as NEM 2 customers. This will increase bill savings and shorten time for system payback.
6. Consider working with an Independent Solar Expert to discover all of the available solar options.
It’s now more complicated than ever to evaluate what the best solar system is for you.
An Independent Solar Expert can evaluate your specific electric use including peak use times, and present you a Side By Side Comparison of all the options to maximize your NEM 3 savings.
This can include solar only options at best existing use offset to maximize savings, solar plus battery storage with different sized batteries and manufacturers, options for roof, ground, patio and carport mounts
It’s worth exploring especially with someone that represents you!
Learn How Michael Can Help You
Bottom Line, Solar is still worth it under NEM 3
Please consider that you have the choice to pay your utility provider at current and ever increasing higher electric rates, or still get solar and save thousands and thousands of dollars.
No doubt that NEM 3 reduces some of the benefits of home solar. But, with careful analysis of your electric use and review of your best options, there is a lot of money still to be saved.
Remember that utility bill cost savings is just one of many benefits of rooftop solar including, less dependence on your electric company, potential increased home value, backup power if you get a battery, leaving your family or estate with reduced home operating cost, and reducing carbon emissions.
If you do want to maximize your bill savings with a NEM 3 system, consider adding battery, aligning your production and consumption, consider around 80% offset for solar only, and taking advantage of a few months of NEM 2 billing.