Halloween is almost upon us, and a chill hangs in the air as the Nightmare of NEM 3.0 continues to haunt us all. It’s a terrifying tale of indecision and woe, a proposal planned for the people but not by the people, seeking to harm the solar industry at large. But what, pray tell, is this NEM Nightmare - how did we get here, what is the problem, and what does the future hold?
Gather close on this cold autumn evening, and let us discuss the Nightmare of NEM 3.0 - starting with a useful definition of what exactly NEM is!
Net Energy Metering, or NEM, is a program that allows utility customers to generate their own electricity using a solar installation, and either store and utilize the generated electricity on site or return the excess electricity to the grid in exchange for a financial credit on their monthly energy bills.
If you’ve been following this particular scary story for as long as we have, you know that the fight for NEM has been an ongoing dilemma for the people of California. NEM 2.0, the current agreement, was designed with the customer in mind, and features provisions that we believe make it far better for the users than any proposed changes. Compared to the first agreement, NEM 2.0 allowed more California residents access to the system, increasing adoption of clean energy generation across the state.
As our mission is to make solar as accessible as possible, and to reward those who do invest in our clean energy future, we support the current NEM 2.0 agreement. While Simply Solar is committed to helping everyone navigate the system, no matter what the agreement, we feel it is only right to stand up for the trailblazers who are helping to move California energy in the right direction. As the state itself has ambitious green energy goals, every solar adopter is another contributor to our larger push for clean, renewable energy.
This is unfortunately where our story turns dark, because while solar companies like us were working tirelessly to help people make the switch to solar, there were others who decided to undertake more sinister plots. Namely, the utilities decided that the current NEM agreement didn’t sit right with them, and cooked up a new agreement in order to secure value from those who had escaped their grasp. Those solar adopters we discussed, the ones who took the initiative and helped move the needle on a clean energy California? They would be the target of an insidious solar tax, known to us as NEM 3.0.
With this new, 200+ page agreement in hand, the utilities have urged the CPUC to consider changing out the current system, campaigning hard for the agreement to be updated. No one has had a chance to vote on this proposed tax on rooftop solar, and indeed there was such an outcry of support for the current system that they have had to twice postpone their decision, and unfortunately it seems like we will not know the true fate of NEM 2.0 until after election season has passed. Our great fear is that once the dust settles, NEM 3.0 will be forced through, and NEM 2.0 will be lost forever. This is a scary story indeed!
However, the story is not over yet. Scary though it may be, the fight for NEM 2.0 is not over yet, and there is a chance that this story could end up being a cautionary tale instead of a true halloween horror. The Nightmare of NEM 3.0 has been contested by solar installers around the state, as well as the very people who it aims to harm. The decision on NEM 3.0 has been delayed once already, and was recently delayed a second time in September. Indeed, this was once intended to be an article discussing the outcomes of the CPUC decision, but with no decision in hand we are left dreaming of the nightmares to come.
It is likely that we will not see a decision on NEM until after the election, which would be a shame - the people of California deserve to know what is happening, especially if it will impact them come tax season. Thankfully, the true hero of this story is the will of the people, which has already caused legislators to take pause before implementing this proposed agreement. If we all work together to resist the call of NEM 3.0, we may yet be able to save our current event, and keep this from becoming too scary a story.
Until then, we are left to make our own preparations, like providing new financing options for those looking to make the switch, and we will continue to help people make the switch to solar under the current agreement before it’s too late.