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How to get the best solar rates for California apartments

As California considers new rates for solar energy supplied by utility customers, real estate investors have a couple options. Stand by as the market adjusts to an uncertain future. Or act now to secure the most favorable terms available to multifamily property owners.

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Secure your solar rates in the next 120 days

In January, California regulators voted to change the solar rates available to customers of PG&E, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric. Once the new rates take effect, they will bring the biggest change to the economics of solar in California in more than 20 years ago. Here’s a glance at what's to come and how you can lock in the most favorable solar rates now.

California finalizes new solar tariffs

As of February, a vote on the new solar tariffs appeared to be still months away, according to the California Solar + Storage Association. The new tariffs would increase monthly solar fees for utility customers with solar and energy storage systems, reduce solar rates, and reduce eligibility for solar tariffs from 20 years to 15 years. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has said the proposed changes need more work.

The California Public Utilities Commission has delayed a vote on the new tariffs until further notice. During this time, multifamily property owners can explore the substantial benefits of locking in existing solar rates before new rates take effect.


A 120-day buffer period begins

Time is of the essence. We expect solar contractors will see a surge of customer activity as the sunset date draws near for California’s most favorable solar rates. If you intend to take advantage of today’s solar rates, start planning the project as soon as possible. Contractors may need about 45 days to design your solar system and prepare an application to interconnect your system with the electric grid.

After state regulators approve the new solar tariffs, property owners can expect to have 120 days of eligibility left to claim the current, more favorable rates. The buffer period serves to protect customers who are in the process of contracting for solar.


Submit a complete solar application

Accuracy is important when you submit the application. The utilities allow for decreasing system size during the review process, but to increase the size you’ll have to submit a new application. A decrease of more than 20 percent may be cause for rejection. In general, if estimating system size, it’s best to slightly overestimate to preserve your place in the queue and secure access to the most favorable solar rates.

If you apply for interconnection before the 120-day buffer period ends and the utility deems the application to be complete, your system will be covered by a grandfather provision that preserves eligibility for the phased-out solar rates.


Apartment buildings with rooftop solar

Fair representation for multifamily properties

Ivy Energy has been advocating for regulators to adopt a robust solar tariff that serves multifamily properties. California’s 6 million+ renting households have been underserved by a solar policy designed principally for single-family homes. Yet renters receive tangible benefits every time solar is installed.

Ivy has shown that a significant amount of solar generation at multifamily buildings is consumed on site, minimizing impacts on the grid. When paired with energy storage, solar exports can be smoothed and optimized for grid stability.

Get solar on your multifamily property at the highest rate

Ivy Energy can help you stay on track to secure the highest value for your solar energy. While we're at it, Ivy can also confirm your revenue potential and show you how to design a multifamily solar project that increases net operating income.

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