Today, we’re going to explore the world of Net Energy Metering (NEM) in California and Orange County. You might wonder, “What is NEM, and how can it help me save money while supporting sustainability?” Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.

Let’s set our sights on understanding NEM in Orange, Anaheim, and beyond and how it can benefit you and our local community. It’s time to demystify Net Energy Metering in Orange County and shine a light on a brighter, greener future.

What Is NEM?

NEM stands for Net Energy Metering. It’s a rate option allowing customers with an eligible renewable generating system to receive a credit for the surplus electricity supplied to the electric grid.

Net Energy Metering is how residents and businesses in Orange County can harness the power of the sun to generate clean energy and save on their electricity bills.

But let’s break it down further.

NEM Defined

NEM is essentially a two-way street for electricity. If you have solar panels or another renewable energy system on your property, it can generate more electricity than you need. NEM allows you to return this surplus energy to the grid, turning your electric meter into a credit meter.

This means that when your renewable energy system produces more electricity than your home or business consumes, you receive credits in return. These credits are like tokens of green energy you can utilize in the future.

How NEM Works in California

irvine solar panel contractor monitoring power meter

In the sunshine state of California, NEM tracks the energy flow in both directions. It monitors the surplus energy generated by your system. It’s then sold to the grid, earning you credits. It monitors the energy your home or business draws from the grid when needed.

The credits you accumulate through NEM are like a currency applied directly to your energy bill. These credits can offset some or even the entirety of your monthly energy expenses, resulting in significant savings.

NEM comes in different versions, too.

NEM 1.0 was introduced in 1996, while NEM 2.0 debuted in 2016.

Is NEM 2.0 Available in Orange County?

NEM 2.0 availability isn’t the same everywhere in Orange County, California. Some areas offer it, while others don’t, and it depends on the utility company.

Here’s how it looks in different parts of Orange County:

  • Orange County Power Authority (OCPA): They have their own NEM program, separate from Southern California Edison (SCE). If you’re both an SCE and OCPA customer, you’ll switch to monthly billing with an annual true-up in April. OCPA gives you a better deal with a Net Surplus Compensation (NSC) Rate 10% higher than SCE’s.
  • Anaheim Public Utilities: In 2019, they met the state’s rule to offer retail NEM, covering up to 5% of their peak load.
  • Southern California Edison (SCE): New applicants can’t join SCE’s NEM 2.0 program except for specific projects. Existing NEM 2.0 customers stay on their current plan for 20 years and then move to NEM 3.0.

Contact your utility company or local power authority to find out if NEM 2.0 is available in your part of Orange County. They can give you the details you need.

Where Do I Apply for NEM 2.0?

To apply for NEM 2.0 in California, you’ll follow these steps:

  • Solar System Installation: First, you’ll need a solar energy system installed on your property. This system should be capable of generating electricity for your home or business.
  • Qualified Contractor: It’s crucial to work with a licensed solar contractor. They will ensure that your system meets all the requirements for interconnection and participation in the NEM 2.0 program.
  • NEM 2.0 Application: Once your solar energy system is up and running, you can submit your NEM 2.0 application to your utility company. This application will ask for details about your system, including its size, location, and expected energy production.
  • Interconnection and Meter Installation: After your application is approved, your utility company will take care of the interconnection of your solar system to the grid. They will also install a special bi-directional meter to measure both the energy your system produces and the energy you consume.
  • Enrollment in NEM 2.0: When you connect your system and the meter is in place, you’ll officially enroll in the NEM 2.0 program. This means you can start receiving credits for any extra energy your system generates and feeds back into the grid.

Currently, applications for NEM 2.0 are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis, ensuring you meet all necessary documentation requirements.

Keep in mind that the NEM 2.0 program in Orange County might not be open to new applicants in certain areas, like Southern California Edison (SCE). However, there are other solar energy programs available through your utility company or local government that you can explore.

NEMA: Sharing Energy Credits with Neighbors

NEMA, which stands for Net Energy Metering Aggregation, brings an intriguing concept to the table.

It allows eligible customer-generators to merge the electricity usage of multiple meters within the same vicinity. The credits earned through NEM can then be spread across all properties linked, nearby, or next to the renewable energy source.

Here’s the catch: to participate in NEMA, a customer-generator must be the exclusive owner, lessee, or renter of all the properties involved.

For example, picture an agricultural customer. They can employ a single renewable energy system to generate NEMA credits that offset electricity consumed at home and the energy needed for an irrigation pump on nearby land.

As of November 30, 2022, around 1% of all NEM projects in Orange County were NEMA projects.

NEMA in Orange County doesn’t just save costs for individuals; it contributes to a more sustainable and interconnected energy landscape, benefiting the entire community.

NEM: Key Takeaways

Here are some key takeaways from the past few sections:

  • NEM is an innovative system allowing you to earn credits for surplus electricity generated in Anaheim, Irvine, and other locales in Orange County.
  • You apply these credits to your energy bill, reducing your monthly costs.
  • NEM works in both directions, tracking excess energy sent to the grid and energy taken from the grid when needed.
  • NEMA (Net Energy Metering Aggregation) permits eligible customer-generators to combine electricity loads from multiple meters, sharing credits among connected properties across Orange County.

The Benefits of NEM in Orange County

commercial solar panels in anaheim field

It’s time to explore the perks that this system brings to our fellow residents and businesses here in sunny Orange County.

Earning Rewards for Extra Energy

With NEM, if your solar system makes more power than you need throughout the year, you’re in for a treat. You get Net Surplus Compensation (NSC) from your utility company.

One-for-One Credit for Your Power

In California, NEM gives folks with smaller solar setups (less than 1 MW) a great deal. You get a credit for every unit of electricity your solar panels make. It’s like getting a full credit for every dollar you spend, minus a few charges.

Boosted Returns on Your Solar Investment

The more your solar system cranks out energy, and the more you save on utility bills, the quicker it pays for itself. Your solar investment is even better in Orange County, where electricity can get pricey, and you get a one-to-one deal on credits.

Smooth Transition to OCPA

Don’t worry about the switch if you’re a customer of both Southern California Edison (SCE) and the Orange County Power Authority (OCPA). Your billing will go monthly; every April, you’ll square things up for the energy you generate. Plus, OCPA gives you a little extra, 10% more than SCE’s deal. The transition is smooth, happening within a month of your yearly true-up with SCE to make sure your credits are safe and sound.

Guarding Your Grandfathered Status

If you’re already in NEM 1.0 or 2.0, joining OCPA’s NEM program won’t ruffle your feathers. You keep all the benefits and goodies from your original NEM program.

No Standby Charges

NEM customer-generators catch a break because they don’t need to pay those standby charges. Think of it as saving money for that rainy day when you don’t need as much energy from the grid.

Embracing Solar Power in Orange

Alright, let’s dive into the world of solar panels in sunny Orange County, where the power of the sun is at your doorstep. It’s not just about going green; it’s about saving green, too.

The Significance of Solar Panels in Orange County

Solar panels aren’t just a smart choice in a place known for its year-round sunshine; they’re a sun-soaked blessing. They’re like having your own power plants, soaking up those golden rays and turning them into electricity you can use in your home or business.

But how does this tie into NEM, you might wonder? Solar panels are your ticket to generating extra electricity. NEM is the system that lets you share that extra energy with your community, get credits for it, and cut down on your bills.

It’s a win-win for you and the environment.

Do I Still Pay Edison If I Have Solar Panels?

Here’s a question that pops up often: “What happens to my utility bills when I’ve got those shiny solar panels on my roof?”

How NEM Affects Payments to Edison

Well, good news! You don’t have to worry about sky-high utility bills just because you’ve gone solar. NEM comes to the rescue.

When your solar panels generate more electricity than you use during the day, that extra power doesn’t go to waste. Instead, it returns to the grid, and you get credits for it.

So, yes, you’ll still pay Edison for the energy you use from the grid when your panels aren’t producing. But those credits you’ve earned through NEM will help offset those costs.

What Happens After I Pay Off My Solar Panels?

So, you’ve reached the moment you’ve successfully paid off your solar panels. Congratulations are in order! Your solar system is now officially yours, free and clear.

But here’s the fantastic part: your partnership doesn’t end when your solar panels are paid off. In fact, it continues to be a valuable friend in the world of energy.

How NEM Keeps Benefiting You

NEM is a gift that keeps on giving. Even after your solar panels are completely paid for, NEM still works its magic.

  • Credits Keep Rolling: NEM continues to give you credits for the surplus electricity your panels generate. These credits are a buffer for when your panels might produce less energy, such as during cloudy days or at night.
  • Reduced Energy Bills: Those credits work wonders to offset your future energy costs. So, you save money on your utility bills whenever your meter runs backward.
  • Sustainable Savings: NEM keeps the green in your wallet and supports a greener environment. By producing electricity and earning credits, you’re reducing reliance on traditional, often fossil-fueled, energy sources.
  • A Brighter Future: The beauty of NEM in Anaheim is that it isn’t just about saving money. It’s also about contributing to a cleaner, more sustainable future for Orange County.

Even after you’ve paid off your solar panels, NEM ensures you continue enjoying the benefits of reduced energy costs. It’s a win-win situation, making your solar investment one that keeps giving for years.

What Is NEM? Your Ticket to Savings

Net Energy Metering and solar panels are the dynamic duo that offers a brighter tomorrow and a greener one. Let’s recap what we’ve uncovered.

  • NEM for Savings: Net Energy Metering gives you credits for extra solar power. This means lower energy bills and a more eco-friendly Orange County.
  • Solar Panels Shine: Solar panels are your personal power plants, saving you money and supporting NEM for green energy.
  • Year-Round Benefits: Even after you pay off your panels, NEM keeps working. You get credits and reduced bills, all while supporting a cleaner environment.

So, if you’re ready to join the solar revolution in Orange County, reach out to REPOWER Orange. We’re your local, family-owned business, here to guide you through the world of Net Energy Metering and solar panels.

We offer the support, knowledge, and solutions you need to embrace a brighter, greener future while keeping your budget in check.

Don’t miss the chance to become a part of this sunny journey. Contact REPOWER Orange today, and let’s illuminate a path to cost savings and environmental sustainability right here in Orange County.