Following major changes to California’s net metering program, you may be wondering if the current net metering system could be going away in New York too. At a time when major solar states like California are making policy decisions that devalue home solar, New York’s policies could be brought into question too.
Read to learn about what happened in California and what it means for Con Edison’s net metering program in New York City.
What is net metering?
Simply put, net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar owners for electricity that they export into the grid.
As a residential solar owner in NYC, you remain connected to the grid. After your solar PV system is installed, Con Edison will keep track how much energy is flowing in and out of your home.
During the daytime, your solar system will likely produce a lot more energy than your home actually needs. All of that excess energy feeds back into the grid, and you’ll receive credits for it on your future Con Ed bills. These credits are then used up at times when your home needs more energy than your solar system is currently supplying, like at night or on a very rainy day.
What are the financial benefits of net metering?
Through this program, NYC solar owners are able to bank a ton of credits during the summertime and see their bills drastically reduced all year-round. The current system in NYC values solar at the retail rate, meaning your solar power is just as valuable as grid electricity and will increase in value over time as retail rates rise.
Net metering in its current form could be considered a virtual battery – it allows you to utilize the full value of your solar production even when the sun isn’t shining. This is important because FDNY currently does not allow solar batteries in residential settings. Net metering ensures New Yorkers benefit financially from all of the energy their solar systems produce.
Is net metering the same for all states?
Net metering programs differ across the country, as they’re determined by states and utility companies. In some arrangements, like here in New York City, Con Edison values solar at the retail rate. Other programs, however, value solar at less than retail or at a predetermined amount.
Unfortunately, as interest in home solar grows across the US, net metering policies from state to state have been under scrutiny.
What happened to California’s net metering program?
For a long time, special interests and opponents to solar have been attempting to enact changes to California’s net metering program. Previously, there was a proposal to implement a monthly charge of up to $50 for solar owners – essentially a solar tax.
While that proposal was not approved, in December of 2022, California’s Public Utilities Commission approved a plan to reduce the value of solar exported into the power grid by an average of 75% (!). This new policy will affect customers who install solar systems starting in April 2023 in the service areas of CA’s three investor-owned utility companies – 75% of the state’s population.
Under the new policy, Californians won’t be able to reap the benefits of net metering – instead, they’ll be subject to “net billing.” Net billing compensates solar owners on an avoided-cost basis, meaning the utility decides how valuable the power export is based on when and where it’s produced.
Needless to say, this policy change is a major blow to California’s solar industry. It drastically reduces the immediate savings that families receive from installing solar, and increases the payback period by several years. As a result, home solar will be far less affordable and accessible to California residents – at a time when climate-related natural disasters continue to escalate and energy costs continue to rise.
What does this mean for New York’s net metering policies?
Policy changes like California’s represent a growing trend of efforts to reduce the growth of solar in the US, often influenced by political opponents and utility and fossil fuel interests. In recent years, states such as Nevada, Hawaii, Florida, and North Carolina have all seen similar proposals and bills meant to undermine solar.
New York is no stranger to uncertain solar policy either. The state’s utilities have sought to change net metering here too – most recently, a monthly solar tax from Con Edison was implemented for new solar owners as of January 2022.
For now, net metering in New York City is safe. But there have been changes, and there will likely be more. If California – the largest solar market in the country – can enact anti-solar policies like this one, it’s not implausible that it could happen here too.
Go Solar Now to Lock in 20 Years of Savings
It’s not all bad news though! If you’re considering solar for your home in NYC, the benefits of net metering are still available to you. If you go solar now, you’ll be locked into Con Ed’s current net metering arrangement for the next 20 years. So, even if there’s a chance that net metering could go away in New York, your savings will be safe.
Get ahead of the uncertainty and go solar now! Schedule your free consultation & learn if your home qualifies for solar.
If you’re a resident of New York City, you’re likely a customer of Con Edison. And you most likely didn’t have a choice in the matter! We won’t sugarcoat it – if you’re looking for alternatives to Con Edison in NYC, there’s unfortunately not many. Read on to learn about why this is, and why solar is the key to energy independence for New Yorkers.
New York Energy Rates
Compared to the rest of the country, New Yorkers are very energy efficient. Yet, New York energy rates are some of the highest electricity rates anywhere in the US. Why is that?
New York City uses the majority of the state’s electricity in a small, densely populated area. Demand for energy is very high in an area that cannot supply it through local power plants, meaning power must come from further upstate. On top of that, NYC’s energy infrastructure is complex and largely outdated, meaning Con Ed is continually making upgrades – the costs of which are passed onto consumers.
Combine that with the fact that the majority of the state’s electricity is powered by fossil fuels, you’re going to get high Con Ed bills (that only continue to get higher).
Why Shop NYC Energy Suppliers?
When it comes to electricity rates, there’s two different factors to keep in mind: delivery and supply. Con Edison is responsible for delivering New York City’s electricity, meaning they transport it to your home and maintain the city’s energy infrastructure to keep power flowing. On the other hand, supply refers to where your power actually comes from.
Con Ed has control over delivery charges: the costs associated with transporting your electricity. However, it does not have control over supply costs, which was the main driver behind the most recent Con Ed bill increases – as the war in Ukraine threatened US energy supply, consumers saw the price of energy rise across the board.
Con Ed may not have control over supply costs, but you do. Rather than purchasing your energy supply from Con Edison, you can choose to use an energy service company (ESCO) or produce it yourself by installing solar panels on your home.
The benefits of looking into these Con Ed alternatives are clear:
- Cut down on monthly electricity bills
- Gain energy independence
- Power your home with clean energy
Con Ed Alternatives for NYC
If you’re shopping around for alternative utility companies in NYC, you may come across the name PSEG. Be advised: this is the utility responsible for delivering electricity to Long Island and parts of the Rockaways. By and large, it is not available as an alternative option for New Yorkers.
You might come across the name National Grid if you’re shopping around, or may even be a customer already. National Grid is a supplier of gas, not electricity. Depending on where you live in the city, your home or building’s heating system and appliances may be powered by gas from National Grid. But it is not an option as an electric utility.
Energy Service Company (ESCO)
One of your main alternatives to Con Edison is choosing to use an ESCO. ESCOs are companies that supply electricity and natural gas to residences in New York, often offering lower rates, fixed costs, or clean energy options. If you search for ESCOs in Brooklyn, you’ll see an extensive list of providers with various offers.
ESCOs often seem like an attractive option to Con Ed customers who want to cut costs and reduce their use of fossil fuels. But if you’re looking for an ESCO, it’s important to be discerning about the arrangement you’re getting into. Be aware that they can often be more expensive than retail rates, and may not guarantee fixed rates. They may entice you with the possibility of using clean energy, but may not be upfront about where their energy actually comes from.
If you choose to use an ESCO, you’ll still receive bills from Con Edison. ESCOs only change where you get your energy from, not how it’s delivered. ESCOs are an alternative if you’d like to change your power source, but don’t give you a ton of independence.
If you’re a homeowner in NYC, the best alternative to Con Edison is home solar. When you install solar on your home, you become your own energy provider. No fees, no contracts – just clean energy from the sun, powering your home for decades.
Through a program called net metering, you can export excess electricity that your solar system produces back into the grid and Con Ed will compensate you through retail credits on your monthly energy bills. This way, the average residential customer in NYC can not only completely cover their energy needs, but also bank credits that are usable for 20 years (!).
We’ve helped over 1,500 homes in NYC switch to solar and unlock decades of energy savings. Want to know if your home is right for solar? Schedule your free consultation & home assessment today.
Benefits of Renewable Energy
At the end of the day, a major factor in rising energy costs is the volatility of fossil fuel prices. Around 70 percent of NYC’s energy supply comes from natural gas, and until that changes, utility costs will continue to get more expensive and fluctuate with energy market conditions.
As a homeowner, making investments in renewable energy isn’t just good for the environment – it’s a smart financial move too. Benefits include:
- Cutting down on monthly electricity bills
- Reducing your personal carbon footprint
- Gaining energy independence
- Collecting government tax credits
- Raising your home value
Learn More About Solar Energy
Unfortunately, there are not many alternatives to Con Edison in NYC. But if you’re a homeowner looking to cut costs and make your home more sustainable, look no further than solar energy.
Interested in learning about what solar power could do for your home? Schedule your free consultation & home assessment today.
Not only does going solar benefit the planet, it benefits your wallet too. It will drastically reduce your electric bill, and you can take advantage of some of the best solar tax credits in the country as a New Yorker.
We want to make sure our customers understand the entire solar panel installation process, so that they can get the savings and credit they deserve for switching to clean energy. That’s why we believe it’s important that we let our customers know what to expect, even after the installation. We’re here for you and your new flat roof solar system!
Read on for what you can expect in the weeks and months post solar panel installation.
What happens after your solar panels are installed?
The Brooklyn SolarWorks crew has just left your home after completing your solar installation. You might be thinking: what’s next?
The next step in the solar process is receiving final approval from the various entities that issued permits for the installation. This involves inspections and a meter swap, all of which Brooklyn SolarWorks will schedule and facilitate – all you need to do is grant us access to your home on the scheduled dates.
The Department of Buildings requires that each installation is inspected to ensure compliance with building and electrical codes. In this inspection, a representative will check over your installer’s work to make sure, for example, that the panels were mounted securely and that the electrical wiring was done correctly.
Once your solar panel system is installed, Con Edison will also pay a visit to your home to do a final inspection and swap out your old meter for a net meter. This device enables net metering to take place, ensuring that you receive the proper credit for the amount of energy your system exports to the grid.
Once Con Edison issues a final acceptance letter, your system will be given permission to operate (PTO). This means the system is registered in their billing system and it’s ready to be activated in your home’s electrical system. This is done by turning on the AC disconnect switch or dedicated solar breaker in your electrical panel. We’ll provide instructions or stop by to assist.
How to Read Your Electric Bill from Your Utility Company
Getting your first ConEd bill after your solar panel installation is an exciting moment. It can be a bit confusing though, because ConEdison does a poor job of explaining their billing and recordkeeping system.
Below is an example of what your bill will look like after installing solar panels. The following is a quick breakdown of each section on your new bill and what it all means.
Your Net Meter Summary
This new section lists ConEd’s record of how much energy you’ve bought from them. It also tells you how many credits (if any) you have stored up through their net metering program.
Your Electricity Usage
If your house required more electricity than your solar array produced in a month, the value will be positive. This is because you bought some extra from the grid to make up the difference.
If your system produced more energy than you needed in a month, the value will be negative because you gave away your excess to the grid.
In other words, this first column should read ‘Your Grid Electricity Use.’ It indicates how much energy from the grid your home used that month.
How to Read Your Net Meter Summary
Cumulative Net Meter Energy Credit
The negative value from the previous column gets stored in this column. ‘Cumulative Net Meter Energy Credit’ is your “bank” of stored up solar credits.
If your grid use in the first column is negative in a given month, that amount will get added to the previous month’s banked amount.
If your grid use is positive, that amount will be withdrawn from your credit bank if you have any.
If your credit bank hits zero, ConEd will charge you for any remaining amount of power. The last column lists this amount as ‘kWh Billed.’
Note: If you get an unusual bill, it’s good to check the reading type. If the most recent reading says ‘Estimated’, ConEd didn’t take a true reading this month. Your bill may be much different than what really happened. They often incorrectly estimate that recently installed systems are not active. In this case, they will take a true reading within a month or two and correct for any overcharges.
Understanding Your Energy Consumption
You may need to do some math in order to get the full picture of your home’s energy consumption. One confusing factor here is that ConEd cannot see how much power your solar system generates. All they can see is how much power you take from or give to the grid.
We’ve created the chart below to show how adding your Sunny Portal production data to your ‘Net Meter Summary’ can give the complete picture of your home’s energy consumption.
For example, if your solar system produced 598 kWh between September 10th and October 9th, but 411 kWh were sent back to the grid, that means your home consumed 187 kWh in that period.
Similarly, if your system produced 498 kWh between February 11th and March 12th, and an additional 157 were brought in from the grid, that means your home consumed a total of 655 kWh.
Keep this in mind if you need to figure out your home’s true electric consumption for any reason, or if you’re interested in determining your true solar offset percentage for a given month or year (Solar Production divided by Actual Home Usage).
If you have trouble finding your solar production numbers, please let us know and we can direct you to them. Also, feel free to reach out if you believe there are issues with your solar system’s performance.
If you believe there is a problem with your billing, contact ConEd’s Net Metering division at email@example.com or 212-780-6600. Remember, they cannot see how much energy your system has produced.
Claiming Your Solar Tax Credits
The final step in the solar process is an exciting one: collecting your tax credits! When tax season arrives, there are a few different tax credits your system may be eligible for. We can provide some basic information and resources on these credits, but because we are not financial professionals, be sure to look to an accountant or tax expert for guidance on filing.
For filing purposes, your installation date and signed contract are available in your customer portal.
You May Be Eligible for These Solar Tax Credits:
- The Federal Solar Income Tax Credit: an income tax credit worth up to 30% of your installation costs.
- The New York State Solar Income Tax Credit: a state income tax credit worth up to $5,000.
- The NYC Property Tax Abatement: allows NYC homeowners to claim 20% of solar energy system costs as a property tax abatement over a 4 year period.
- NYS Historic Homeownership Rehabilitation Credit: If you live in a qualifying historic neighborhood, your solar installation may be eligible for an additional 20% tax credit.
Learn more about the solar tax incentives available to New Yorkers.
Monitoring Your System with Your Solar Company
When your solar PV system is installed, the solar system’s inverter will be connected to your home’s WiFi. This connection enables your new solar panels’ production data to be collected in your Sunny Portal. This allows you to track your system’s energy production and determine your offset, if you feel so inclined.
Connecting your system to WiFi also allows us, your solar installer, to monitor your system remotely. As part of our insurance package, we provide all of our customers with 24/7 real-time monitoring in the event that there are any issues with your system at any point in the future.
Enjoy the Many Benefits of Your New Solar System
The use of solar energy is important for a number of reasons, and it’s an exciting moment to finally have your rooftop solar system installed. Once your system is installed, you have access to clean energy produced right in your own home.
Because switching to solar power is such a meaningful decision, it’s important to us that all of our customers fully understand the solar panel installation process, from contract signing through post solar panel installation.
Ready to make the switch to solar for your NYC home? Trust an expert. Talk with us today!
Starting next year, Con Edison will be charging new solar customers a Customer Benefit Contribution (CBC) charge. This new charge is effectively a solar tax in New York City. While it will not significantly affect the investment in solar, we want to make sure our customers are aware of the upcoming changes.
Read on for what you need to know about the New York “solar tax.”
What is the CBC charge?
Starting January 1, 2022, Con Edison will be applying a Customer Benefit Contribution (CBC) charge to the electric bills of solar owners whose systems were interconnected on or after this date.
Note: If your system was installed prior to this date, you will not be charged for the CBC. You’ll continue to receive the full retail value of the energy produced by your system for the next 20 years.
The CBC charge is based on the DC nameplate rating, service class, and location of the solar system. We expect this “solar tax” to cost NYC solar owners $7-$10 per month.
Where did this solar tax come from?
Last year, Con Edison announced it would be making changes to its current Net Metering program. Some states have begun to do the same in order to address cost shifting. Utility companies claim that they need to charge their non-solar customers more money in order to make up for the revenue they lose from the Net Metering of clean energy.
To address cost shifting at the state level, NYSERDA announced last July that Phase One Net Metering (the program as it is now) will only be available for projects interconnected before January 1, 2022.
Making the switch to clean, solar energy is a significant financial investment that benefits the entire grid. However, it will now result in an extra charge from Con Edison. This charge is effectively a tax on solar in New York.
Is the CBC charge final?
This charge will unfairly target solar customers and therefore stunt the growth of solar in NYC, which undermines the city and state’s sustainability goals. For this reason, members of the solar industry are doing what they can to fight back. Brooklyn SolarWorks, NYSEIA, and a number of other solar companies and organizations in New York have filed comments with the state on the charge.
The current Net Metering program has been instrumental in the spread of solar throughout NYC; yet this new charge disincentivizes the investment in solar. When it comes to cost shifting, the truth is that solar owners account for only about 1% of total electric customers in the state. Thus, any cost shifting that occurs cannot be very significant. Further, making the switch to solar is an investment that has considerable economic and environmental benefits for both Con Edison and the city as a whole.
The CBC is just another barrier to residential solar in our city. We believe solar should be becoming more accessible to New Yorkers, not the other way around.
Will the CBC charge affect my investment in solar?
While the potential savings from the current Net Metering program will decrease, it is important to know that the return on your investment in solar will not change significantly.
Though payback periods may vary when factoring in these new changes, the investment in solar is still worthwhile, for yourself, for your community, and for the planet.
With that said, energy policy in New York is always evolving. If you’re considering solar, we urge you to move forward as soon as possible to avoid any potential uncertainty.
Take charge of your electric bill and help spread solar! Talk with us about making the switch to solar today.