sunflower in front of rooftop solar panels
NEM Program Benefits
How to Enroll
Solar Rebates

Benefits for MCE Solar Customers

We’re dedicated to encouraging customers to generate their own renewable energy. If you have solar panels at your home or business, you can take advantage of MCE’s Net Energy Metering (NEM) program, which credits you for the excess generation you send back to the grid.

  • Credit Accrual and Premium Payment Rates – If you generate more electricity than you use during a month, you will receive a credit that is automatically applied toward future electricity usage within the same 12-month cycle starting in April. If you generate more electricity than you use over the entire 12 months, your credits will be cashed out at twice the wholesale rate, or double what PG&E offers.
  • Cash Out Annually – Cash-out payments over $50 will be automatically cashed out annually. You will receive a check sent to the mailing address tied to your electric account. Payments under $50 will be added to your retail credit balance for the next 12-month cycle.
  • No Large Annual Payment – MCE credits and charges NEM customers monthly, so you won’t end up with a year’s worth of generation charges at your true-up.
MCE’s NEM Program PG&E’s NEM Program
Credits accrue at retail rates to be applied toward your bills during the year Credits accrue at retail rates to be applied toward your true-up bill at the end of the year
Excess annual generation is credited at twice the wholesale rate at MCE’s annual cash out in the spring Excess annual generation is credited at wholesale rates at your true-up
Billing occurs monthly and retail credits for excess generation are applied toward bills as they accumulate Billing occurs annually and all retail credits are applied toward the true-up balance at the time of payment
60% to 100% renewable energy service when you use energy from the grid 39% renewable energy service when you use energy from the grid

How MCE’s Net Energy Metering (NEM) Program Works

Your meter tracks the difference between your solar panel production and your electricity used during each monthly billing cycle. If your production credit value exceeds your usage costs for that month, you receive a credit which can be applied to future usage costs in the same 12-month period.

At the end of each annual cash-out period, if you’ve produced more electricity than you’ve used, you’ll be eligible for a payment based on your surplus electricity measured in kWh or MWh multiplied by the compensation rate. Eligible balances for active accounts over $50 will automatically be issued checks to their mailing address on record by June of each year.

If you had excess retail credit at the end of this period, your account will be reset to $0 following this payment process. If you have a balance under $50 based on excess electricity generation over the year, you will not receive a check but will have this balance roll over to become your new initial retail credit balance. Cash-out payments are subject to a limit of $5,000 per account.

NEM Bill Sample

1  Account Number
Your PG&E-assigned number identifies your account. Please have the first 10 digits on hand if you call to enroll in MCE’s Deep Green or Local Sol service options, or if you opt out.

2  Current PG&E Electric Monthly Charges
PG&E’s Minimum Delivery Charge for Net Energy Metering customers, set by the California Public Utilities Commission. This charge may be deducted at your annual PG&E Delivery True-Up if your Total NEM Charges Before Taxes are greater than your Total Electric Minimum Delivery Charges.

3  MCE Electric Generation Charges
MCE’s charge for the generation of electricity after accounting for your solar panels’ monthly generation. It includes the cost of electricity to match your home or business energy needs outside of your panels’ production. This fee replaces a fee that PG&E would have collected had they provided your generation service. This is not an additional charge.

4  Your Net Energy Metering Account Summary
This provides your most updated Year-To-Date PG&E Charges for Electric Delivery after accounting for your solar panels’ productivity. This shows what you are expected to owe PG&E at your annual true-up.

Eligibility

If you are participating in PG&E’s NEM program, including residential, commercial, agricultural, grandfathered NEM tariffs, virtual NEM, and aggregated NEM, you are eligible for MCE’s NEM program.

How to Enroll in MCE’s NEM Program

Current NEM Customers

If you’re already enrolled in PG&E’s NEM program and you switch to MCE, you will automatically be enrolled in MCE’s NEM program – no action is necessary. PG&E will perform a settlement of your account’s charges and credits (known as a “true-up”) immediately before your energy provider changes to MCE or back to PG&E. This settlement will result in a balance due for any usage charges owed to-date or a forfeiture of any excess credits on your account at that time.

New NEM Customers

MCE customers sign up for net energy metering through PG&E and will be automatically served by MCE’s NEM program. PG&E is required to complete the NEM interconnection within 30 working days of receiving an application. If you don’t currently have an installed electric generation system, we recommend you first contact a solar or other energy system installer or professional who can guide you through installing a system and submitting a NEM application.

Final permission to operate your solar system is required by PG&E, regardless of whether or not you are an MCE customer. PG&E will review your completed application and a diagram of your system. Upon a successful evaluation, PG&E will install your bi-directional meter. After receiving your “Permission to Operate” letter, you can operate your solar system.

Net Energy Metering FAQ

Over the past decade, MCE’s NEM tariff has grown from serving about 100 customers to nearly 35,000 today. The original cash-out program provided significant payment eligibility for customers on old rate schedules, which haven’t been available to those with newer installations. The updated NEM program allows all customers to have an equal opportunity for cash-out payments.

Recognizing the solar industry is fully matured and cost-effective, MCE is looking for other ways to invest in the community to promote renewable energy, such as battery storage or other types of local renewable energy generation. One of the biggest challenges to continued growth of solar in California is the abundance of midday energy and the need for more storage solutions. The changes to MCE’s NEM program will continue to support and provide incentives for solar customers while allowing MCE to invest additional resources towards community resiliency efforts, including battery storage, which help add value to solar customers.

Yes, PG&E will continue to process your NEM account charges as they usually do. Please visit PG&E’s website for full information on how this process works and applies to you.

No. You are not required to install energy efficiency improvements before installing solar or participating in the NEM program. However, we strongly encourage you to take energy efficiency measures before installing solar to lower your energy bill. Additionally, taking steps to maximize energy efficiency before installing solar can allow you to reduce the size of the system you are planning on installing. If you are considering energy efficiency measures, MCE offers various programs to help reduce your energy and water consumption. Learn more about the programs you might be eligible for.

In the event of an outage, solar installations are designed to disconnect to avoid placing electricity on deenergized lines. As a result, solar alone does not provide backup power during PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff events. Battery installations can provide electricity during outage events; a typical battery may provide several hours of energy depending on the size of the system and the amount of electricity being used. Ideally, solar and battery systems can work together to provide a reliable means of replenishing battery storage during an outage event.
New NEM Installations
Once your NEM application has been accepted and processed by PG&E, you’ll automatically begin to receive credit for your solar production as part of MCE’s NEM program. No additional action is needed!

NEM Customers Transitioning to MCE Service
If you’re already enrolled in PG&E’s NEM program, you will automatically be enrolled in MCE’s NEM program — no action is necessary. PG&E will perform a settlement of your account’s charges and credits (known as a “true-up”) when your energy provider changes to MCE or back to PG&E. This settlement will result in a balance due for any usage charges owed to-date or a forfeiture of any excess credits on your account at that time.

As a NEM customer, you’ll be credited for production of electricity at your applicable retail rates each month. Excess generation credits will be indicated on your MCE billing statement, and applied to later usage charges automatically. MCE charges NEM customers for electricity usage on a monthly basis after applying any accrued generation credits – this is different than PG&E’s yearly true-up process in which charges or credits from the year are paid or credited once annually.

Following your March-April billing cycle, MCE will perform a true-up of your account. After your true-up, your retail credits will be reset to $0. MCE will also determine if you’re eligible for a cash-out payment. If you produce more electricity than you consume within each annual period, you’ll be eligible for a credit at approximately twice the wholesale rate. Credits under $50 will be applied to your balance for the next annual period, while credits over $50 will be automatically paid in the form of a check sent to the current mailing address on your account. Cash-outs are subject to a $5,000 cap per account.

Please note that MCE customers are still subject to a separate true-up for PG&E non-generation charges.

It is important to note that when a new community joins MCE, PG&E performs an automatic true-up of all NEM accounts at the time of the switch. This means PG&E will send a bill for all of the electric charges incurred since your previous annual true-up, regardless of your original true-up date. Accrued PG&E credits will be zeroed out at that time. PG&E will continue to perform an annual true-up for their delivery charges, but only on the delivery side of the bill. If it is not advantageous for PG&E to do an automatic true-up at the time of your expected enrollment, MCE encourages customers to opt out until it is beneficial for them to start receiving MCE service, such as when they have used up their accrued NEM credits.

In addition to the cash-out program benefits, MCE also provides more renewable energy to your home at a cost competitive price. If you produce less electricity than you use, you can ensure that your other electricity will be sourced with MCE’s 60-100% renewable resources. Many of MCE’s NEM customers utilize MCE’s Deep Green, 100% renewable option for their remaining electricity usage.

If you generate more electricity than you use, MCE compensates customers at double the wholesale rate; twice as much as PG&E.

No. Instead of receiving two bills, you will see all of your electric charges on one bill from PG&E. The only difference is your generation charges or credits will appear on your monthly bill, while your delivery charges will appear on a yearly basis. MCE customers still see a minimum monthly bill charge on the PG&E portion of their bill.

Retail credits for excess energy production cannot be applied towards non-generation charges, such as monthly service, distribution, transmission, or gas charges. This applies to both MCE and PG&E “bundled service” customers.

PG&E performs a true-up immediately before your service is changed from PG&E to MCE. This process is required by PG&E any time a customer changes service providers. When you switch to MCE, your NEM billing will be completed as follows:

  • PG&E will continue to charge you for all non-generation services. “Minimum Bill Charges” and gas charges will be due on your monthly statements. Other non-generation charges (such as delivery, transmission, public purpose programs, conservation incentive adjustment, etc.) will be billed annually via PG&E’s annual true-up process, as described in your monthly Net Metering Statement.
  • MCE generation charges will also be settled in your monthly bill, rather than PG&E’s annual true-up process. If credits for generation are earned, they will be noted on the bill as well.

For further information about how MCE will administer credits and charges for the generation portion of your bill, please contact our customer care team at 1 (888) 632-3674, Monday-Friday 8am-5pm.

Feed-In Tariffs and Net Energy Metering are both methods by which a customer is compensated for renewable energy production. FIT programs are designed to compensate medium-sized renewable energy installations for the sales of electricity to MCE. Most FIT projects are above 1,000 kW in size, significantly larger than residential installations.

Feed-In Tariffs are flat-rate payments per kilowatt-hour for renewable energy generation. The long-term contracts provided by feed-in tariffs allow small producers of renewable energy the security of a certain return on investment without the volatility of wholesale and retail market pricing. MCE offers a Feed-In Tariff program in support of renewable energy projects built within its service area.

Net Energy Metering (NEM) is intended to support intermittent energy production for a home or business, and to enable reliance on the grid when energy isn’t being produced. Under a NEM program, the customer is typically credited for their excess generated electricity at a similar rate they are charged for electricity usage. Terms of NEM programs and associated rates are subject to more regular change than FIT arrangements.

Net Energy Metering (NEM) credits accrued by Local Sol customers after April 2020 will be eligible for cash out. Credits accrued under MCE’s previous NEM tariff will still not be eligible for cash out due to the retail compensation rate applied under the Local Sol tariff. If you were a Local Sol customer before April 2020, please contact our team at info@mceCleanEnergy.org to find out how MCE’s NEM tariff impacts you.

Any MCE customer who meets PG&E’s NEM program requirements is eligible for MCE’s NEM program. Generally, this includes customers with renewable electric generation systems (such as solar, wind, biogas, and fuel cell installations) that are less than 1,000 kW. The average residential installation is 5 kW and the average commercial installation is 100-200 kW.

Leasing or PPA
When a customer leases solar panels, they agree to pay fixed monthly lease payments to their solar installer for the duration of the lease term, generally 20-25 years. Their relationship and how they buy/sell electricity with their utility remains the same. A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a solar installer is nearly identical to leasing, however through the PPA contract, there is the ability to pay for the amount of electricity generated by the panels per month. Generally, these costs are comparable to the fixed monthly lease payment costs.

Owning
To own a solar system, a customer may pay cash upfront, or finance it. Most financed solar systems are paid off within 12 years. With either approach to owning the solar system, the customer is able to claim the 30% investment tax credit (ITC). Their relationship and how they buy/sell electricity with their utility remains the same.

MCE’s NEM program works the same for customers who lease their panels as for customers who own them, as the individual listed on the interconnection agreement is the one receiving credits. MCE credits all surplus electric generation from our customers’ panels at retail rates. Credits roll over month-to-month and at the end of the year, customers who generated more electricity than they consumed are credited at MCE’s compensation rate. Cash outs will be automatically issued for customers with $50 or more in credits.

Net Energy Metering Aggregation allows a single customer one or more contiguous properties to share energy produced by a centralized installation, as if it were produced on each beneficiary account. Similarly, Virtual Net Energy Metering allows a single property with multiple accounts on-site to share the energy produced by a central installation among several beneficiary accounts, such as building tenants, common spaces, parking structures, etc.

MCE customers are fully eligible for Virtual or Aggregated NEM; if a customer is enrolled in either program with PG&E, they will continue to be served by the program if they begin service with MCE. However, the automatic true-up initiated by PG&E immediately before the start of MCE service still applies, so the customer may want to time MCE enrollment after their regularly scheduled PG&E annual true-up. For assistance with this, please call 1 (888) 632-3674, Monday-Friday 8am-5pm.