PG&E Solar Program Overview

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is one of the largest energy companies in the US and has been around for over 115 years. They provide service to about 16 million people in California and generate electricity through hydroelectric, natural gas, nuclear and solar energy sources.

In addition to their 12 wholly-owned solar plants, PG&E supports over 380,000 private rooftop solar customers (and more every day!) who are connected to the energy grid. Customers can also purchase clean electricity exclusively generated by solar when they enroll in the Solar Choice plan. In the long run, installing your own home solar system is a less costly option, especially when you take advantage of existing solar rebates and incentives from PG&E and the federal government.

How the PG&E Solar Program Works

Solar energy generated from your own solar panel system can be used to power your home, store energy in a home battery, or sell the power back to the electricity grid. To power your home, you need a solar system and sunlight. To store energy for future use (like at night), you need a special home battery. To sell power back to the grid, you need a two-way system and a meter that is hooked up to the utility grid. These function together to send energy back to the grid and offset your electric bill, which is called net metering.

PG&E Net Energy Metering (NEM, also called NEM1 or NEM2) is offered almost everywhere. They have an online tool for checking the validity of your location, and EnergyPal can help you determine if your home is applicable. The energy you sell back to the grid is purchased at rates set by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and is typically somewhat less than what you pay for your retail electricity. This amount you sell back to PG&E becomes a credit and goes against the cost of retail electricity you use when you cannot supply yourself with enough solar energy. Sometimes the amount you can sell back to the grid is capped.

At the end of your 12-month billing cycle, you receive a True-Up statement. This shows a charge if your charges for consumed energy exceed your credits for excess solar energy contributed over the last 12 months. Conversely, if your credits for producing surplus solar energy from your panels exceed what you were charged for consumed energy, then PG&E compensates you. Overall, you can offset your electric bill to near zero! However, PG&E will not compensate you above 100% offset of your electric bill charges. EnergyPal will help you appropriately size and configure your solar and home battery system to ensure you maximize your financial savings and energy independence

Becoming a PG&E Solar Customer

In addition to reducing fossil fuel consumption and diminishing your carbon footprint, you can reduce your monthly bill, improve the resale value of your home and avoid power loss during outages with your own solar (or solar-battery) system. EnergyPal will help you follow these steps:

  1. Download your PG&E bill information on your annual usage
  2. Assess the solar potential for your home and analyze your roof.
  3. Compare quotes for solar panel systems and finance options.
  4. Prepare the interconnection agreement and sign documentation.
  5. Qualified workers will install your solar system.
  6. Pass inspection with local inspectors and PG&E to start generating your own power!

Upfront PG&E Solar Incentives

There are multiple incentive programs available to reduce the upfront costs associated with solar system installations. They are the:

  • Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). This program provides free or discounted solar storage batteries to those who qualify.
  • New Solar Homes Partnership program (NSHP). This program helps install solar systems on newly constructed homes.
  • Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing program (MASH). This incentivizes building owners of low-income, multifamily buildings to install solar systems
  • California Solar Initiative ThermalClean energy incentive (CSI). The program incentivizes homeowners to use solar hot water heaters.

EnergyPal is available to help you navigate PG&E bills and the PG&E solar program requirements and steps to installing solar. Start by requesting a quote and we’ll help you through the whole process so you get the right system at the right price and offset your PG&E electric bill.