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UnThink Solar
a div of Impress Labs
811 Sansome St
San Francisco, CA 94111
United States

No. of Employees: 33
Phone: 415-395-0941
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California Solar Installer? Help! (Yourself and Job Security)


The good people at the Vote Solar Initiative and SEIA need about a minute of your time, and believe me, that minute will be well spent. If you already know about California’s net-metering ticking clock, just click here now before it’s too late. If you don’t know what’s happening, read on:

There’s a little solar policy that people may take for granted called “net metering.” If you’re a solar pro reading this, you know what net metering is: You generate extra solar energy during the day, and the utility credits your bill at night. In other words, “spinning your meter backward,” yada, yada, yada, the “roll-over minutes” of solar.

The problem is that net metering in California has a cap of 5 percent of the peak power needs of each California utility. How is that 5 percent of peak power calculated? Good question! Until now, it’s never been really defined. So, utilities are using a more restrictive methodology because, well…they can. With their interpretation, the “5 percent” results in almost 50 percent less net metered solar than would otherwise be allowed under what we all thought was the definition.

Obviously, solar installers and their employees would prefer to have more solar, not less. Take away net metering, and there really will be trouble for maintaining solar growth and solar jobs in California, and that includes all of the jobs created directly and indirectly by residential solar leasing and solar PPAs.

Why? Because without net metering, homeowners will only install as much solar as they use during the day, rather than sizing solar systems for as much as their total day and night usage. That would result in smaller installations and fewer installations, since the savings and ROI in a non-net metered world would be substantially reduced.

You get it, I know. You’re a solar pro. So, how can you help decide on a definition of net metering that creates more solar, not less? Ta-da:

The Vote Solar Initiative and SEIA have created an email campaign with a goal of 20,000 California residents sending an email to the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in support of a new "more solar" net-metering definition.

As of this week, they’re up to 10,000 emails, and that’s great. But they need all 20,000 to make the full PUC understand how important net metering is for consumers — and for our own solar jobs. So, four easy steps to help:

Step 1) Send an email if you haven’t already.

Step 2) Share this link http://ow.ly/aybZ1 with all of your friends, family, customers, and pets on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc.

Step 3) Share this blog post and/or the above link with all of your solar pro colleagues at work, especially if you live and work in California.

Step 4) Write your own version of this message on a company blog or e-newsletter, and send it out to current and former customers and potential customers. Be sure to also ask them to share it on Facebook, Twitter, etc. too. The more the message spreads, the better.

SEIA and Vote Solar need all 20,000 signatures by the about May 7th, so please, please, pretty please, get the word out as soon as possible.

Thanks in advance for supporting this solar campaign…and really…your own solar jobs.

(P.S. If you’re not in California, you can still share it on Facebook, etc. Just tell everyone to spread the message to California friends and family. Plus, if California solar loses this definition battle, you can be sure that other state PUCs will be watching…and follow our lead. So, please help, wherever you are.)

Tor Valenza a.k.a. “Solar Fred” advises solar companies on marketing, communications, and branding. Contact him through UnThink Solar or follow him on Twitter @SolarFred.

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