Have Solar?

We’re dedicated to encouraging customers to generate their own clean energy! Customers with solar power at their home or business can take advantage of MCE’s Net Energy Metering (NEM) program, which is one of the most generous programs of its kind in California.

Premium Benefits for MCE Customers

Premium Rates

We pay premium rates for excess electricity, crediting customers an extra $0.01/kWh.

Credits Roll Over

Excess credits roll over month after month and never zero out.

Cash Out Annually

Excess credits over $100 can be cashed out annually in April for their full retail value.

No Annual True-up

MCE bills NEM customers monthly, so you don’t end up with a year’s worth of charges at your true-up.

How Net Energy Metering (NEM) Works

A special meter tracks the difference between the amount of electricity your solar panels produce and the amount of electricity you use during each billing cycle. When your panels produce more electricity than you use, you receive a credit on your bill. And if you earn credits of $100 or more, you’ll have an option to “cash out” each April.

Rate Options & Rebates

MCE pays premium rates for excess electricity – crediting customers an extra $0.01/kWh –and rolls over excess credits every month. We have allocated nearly $80,000 to solar rebates and are currently offering rebates to low income MCE customers who install solar. For more information please contact GRID Alternatives and complete this solar rebate application.

Eligibility

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.

MCE’s NEM program is only available to customers within the MCE service area (Marin County, Napa County, Benicia, El Cerrito, Lafayette, Richmond, San Pablo, and Walnut Creek). Customers outside of MCE’s service area can still apply for NEM through PG&E, but will not benefit from MCE’s rate tariff.

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. Both PG&E and MCE will perform a settlement of your account’s net 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 alternatively will result in a forfeiture of any excess credits on your account at that time.

New NEM Customers

MCE customers sign up for Net Energy Metering as normal 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 an NEM application.

Final permission to operate your solar PV system and/or wind system is required by PG&E, regardless of whether or not you are an MCE customer. PG&E will review your completed application, along with a single-line diagram that is representative of your system. Upon a successful evaluation of your engineering review, PG&E will install your bi-directional meter. You may operate your PV system following receipt of a “Permission to Operate” letter.

NEM Bill Sample

As an MCE Net Energy Metering customer, you will see an NEM-related line item on the MCE Electric Generation Charges page of your monthly energy bill.

Our billing page provides additional details about the non-NEM charges on your energy statement.

Thinking About Installing Solar?

Learn the basics of installing solar at your home or business.

Options for Financing Solar Energy Systems

Solar Customers FAQ

PG&E performs a true-up when your energy supply service is changed from PG&E to MCE. This process is required by PG&E any time a customer changes service providers. From the time 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, and 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 within 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 service representatives at 1 (888 ) 632-3674. We’re here for you Monday through Friday, 7 A.M. to 7 P.M.

Customers will remain on the same rate schedule, including closed rate schedules such as E-6, regardless of a transition to or from service with MCE. There are only a few rate schedules that are not open to MCE customers, such as SmartRate and Peak Day Pricing.
A customer transitioning to service with MCE will remain grandfathered on the original NEM design, if they were on it before switching to MCE. From the perspective of the NEM grandfathering eligibility, PG&E will treat an MCE customer no differently than customers receiving all of their electric services from PG&E. The MCE customer on NEM will get their generation credits from MCE rather than PG&E, but their eligibility for grandfathering is unchanged by a move to or from MCE.

The size of your PV system will depend on a number of factors including your energy usage, roof configuration, and goals. For example, some customers seek to maximize their return on investment by sizing their system to reduce their usage just enough to avoid paying for electricity at extremely expensive high-tier rates. Other customers opt to eliminate their carbon footprint by sizing their system to offset 100% of their usage.

Yes, it is possible to oversize a solar system to generate excess revenue through MCE’s Net Energy Metering program, as long as the primary purpose of the solar installation is to provide electricity for on-site use. However, California Solar Initiative rebates are only available for the part of the system that offsets current electricity usage. In addition, customers are still required to interconnect with PG&E, which does not generally allow customers to interconnect systems that exceed 110% of on-site electric demand.

The cost of a solar PV system depends on the system size, equipment options (e.g., the make and model of panels and inverters), permitting fees, and labor costs.

The Federal Investment Tax Credit (set to expire December 31, 2016) provides a credit of 30% of the net cost of the installed system. Please consult a tax professional for more information before making any purchasing decisions.

The California Solar Initiative (CSI) is currently accepting applications for rebates from low-income customers through the following two programs:

  • Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing Program (SASH) – The SASH program provides incentives to offset the costs of installing solar on low-income single family homes in California. GRID Alternatives is the Program Administrator.
  • Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing Program (MASH) – The MASH program provides incentives to offset the costs of installing solar on multi-family affordable housing buildings in California such as apartment buildings.

General CSI rebates have reached their full capacity in PG&E (and MCE’s) service area, and are no longer available. Certain commercial rebates may become available, pending any unbuilt systems in the coming months.

No. Customers are not required to install energy efficiency improvements before installing solar or participating in the NEM program. However, we strongly encourage customers to explore increasing energy efficiency before installing solar, as it is typically the most cost-effective way to lower your energy bills.

Additionally, taking steps to maximize energy efficiency before installing solar can allow you to reduce the scale of the system you are planning on installing. For more information on Energy Efficiency and rebates, please visit our Energy Efficiency page.

Feed-in tariffs are flat-rate payments per kilowatt-hour for electricity generated by a renewable resource under a long-term contract. Feed-in tariffs allow small producers of renewable energy a certain return on investment without the volatility of wholesale and retail market pricing.

Net energy metering (NEM) also allows small producers of renewable energy to offset their use of energy with excess production from their renewable generators. Under a NEM program, production of energy effectively rolls back the meter so that the customer is ultimately paid for the net of their production and use at a full retail generation rate—the same rate which they are charged for consumed electricity.

Feed-in tariffs and net metering are both methods by which a homeowner or other customer is compensated for the renewable energy fed back into the grid. The main differences between the two programs are the type of rate (flat vs. dependent on time-of-day of generation), number of meters required (two vs. one), and flexibility (long-term contract vs. non-binding program enrollment). MCE offers a feed-in tariff program in support of renewable energy projects built within Marin and Napa Counties and the Cities of Richmond, Benicia, El Cerrito, San Pablo, Walnut Creek, and Lafayette.

Net Energy Metering (NEM) customers who choose to enroll in Local Sol will no longer be eligible to participate in the annual cash out process. Local Sol NEM customers will be credited at the same price that they pay for Local Sol service, $0.142/kWh. These credits will be applied to your bill following the standard NEM procedure and will offset future MCE usage charges. However, these credits are not eligible for MCE’s annual NEM Cash Out and will instead roll over to the following year and be applied to any future MCE usage charges.
If you choose to discontinue Local Sol service and return to Deep Green or Light Green service, you will again accrue NEM credits that are eligible for Cash Out. Any credits accrued during your time as a Local Sol customer will remain ineligible for cash out.
If you have questions about how this policy will impact you, please contact us at info@mcecleanenergy.org.