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June 15, 2021


Paloma Ave

About a year and half ago I also looked into solar. The solar guy I contacted told me it would be a mistake. (How about that, an honest salesman!).

Unless your electric bill is over $200.00 a month and you will be living living in the house at least 12 more years (the real expected life of a solar panel) you would be wasting your money.

So go ahead and ease your mind, thinking you are 'helping the planet', but that won't be actual outcome. Your could also buy an electric vehicle and be doubly happy with your efforts.

As an aside, should those councilmembers who voted to ban natural gas in new construction, take steps to eliminate natural gas appliances in THEIR own homes, as a sign of putting their money where their mouth is? Just wondering.


I'm a pragmatist so I will only spend real money to 'help the planet' if I can at least break even on the deal. The good news is my electric bill is well over $200/month and I expect to be here for more than 12 years. The snowflakes and gas-banners will still be dealing with me in B'game after 2033..God willing.


From today's WSJ editorial as the B'game temperature hits 100+ in the East Bay:

Last August Californians experienced rolling blackouts amid a heat wave that engulfed the Southwest. California generates half of its electricity from solar during summer afternoons, but it didn’t have enough power in the evenings when the sun faded. It also relies heavily on imports, but other states didn’t have power to spare.

Now the problem is reoccurring while a severe drought also limits hydropower. In a few years the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant is scheduled to retire. The plant provides nearly 10% of the state’s power and backs up intermittent renewables. But green groups want the grid to run completely on solar, wind and batteries. Blackouts could soon become as common as wildfires.
Maybe Lorena Gonzalez should be seeking funding for a bunch of batteries instead of making rooftop solar harder to pencil out. Of course, that would be proactive, reality-based leadership instead of equity-signalling.


Here's a cautionary tale if I've ever heard one. 20 minutes after I made the comment directly above, my power went out. Sure it was hot today, but not blazing. We were out for 4 1/2 hours--so glad I have a gas cooktop and could heat up some chili for lunch :-)

Paloma Ave

I am proud to say I have five natural gas appliances (a decision I made in 1989 + a tri-fuel generator [which includes natural gas]). Of course that was long before 'woke' people felt we needed to save the planet.

I can cook, have hot water, even heat my home in a prolonged power outage.

Two of our current city councilmembers can come to my house and be comfortable during a future electricity outage. (Guess which two?)


I imagine you will be happy with your solar panels. My experience (in Bgame Park) is that you will indeed get just about the watts you estimate in your post. They are pretty trouble-free, and you essentially pre-pay for 20 years of a large annual amount of electricity at a decent rate, while PG&E rates go up quickly. A change in NEM is always possible - that would be a big deal. But it would mostly mean that all of us panel owners without storage would go out and buy batteries.


Thanks, CB. It's good to know a Burlingame Park neighbor is getting the watts as designed! I haven't bitten the $bullet on batteries, but will if I have to. Steve Pariani just told me his preferred battery vendor just dropped prices a bit.


Here's another reason why the CPUC should not make rooftop solar LESS attractive!:

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey, which tracks whether households have heating and cooling, shows that just over 47% of the San Francisco metro area’s 1.7 million households had air conditioning in 2019, the last year of published data. Among the 15 largest metro areas in the country, the San Francisco metro area was second to last in terms of the share of households with air conditioning, with Seattle lowest at 44%. This compares with 81% of households in the Los Angeles metro area.

In the second half of the 2010s, the share of Bay Area households with air conditioning increased more than 10 percentage points, from 36% in 2015 to 47% in 2019.


The AC units are likely to be running hard in the exact same Time-of-Use as solar is generating.

BTW, I assume everyone got the mailer from PG&E about being automatically switched to TOU pricing in September. Has any spreadsheet jockey run the numbers on this "savings"?


It looks like the levels of rate increase that Steve Pariani has built into his financial model are on target:

PG&E proposes another rate hike in 2023 - 18% - to boost wildfire safety

PG&E is planning another round of rate increases for its gas and electricity customers, starting in 2023 with a roughly 18% bump over current rates, much of it to pay for safeguarding the power grid against wildfires.

The company’s four-year billing proposal is among the many routine rate increases for which government-regulated power providers must get state approval. The CPUC is expected to review the request, which has already begun drawing criticism for its size, to make sure the increase accurately reflects the utility’s new costs and that the costs are fairly split among customers. The agency also regulates what expenses should be borne by shareholders.

PG&E’s last major rate hike was on March 1. That roughly 5% increase was the latest in a series of billing changes intended to bring in more revenue to make the company’s power infrastructure safer and more reliable, particularly in an era of increasing wildfires.

The proposed rate hike would dedicate roughly half of the new revenue to broadening such wildfire safety work. The balance would go to updating gas lines, including safety upgrades, and a slew of clean energy projects, including expanding electrical vehicle charging infrastructure.

I'm not sure why PG&E needs to get into the EV infrastructure business. If any company needs to "stick to the knitting" it's PG&E!


Here's a real gem of a letter to the editor of the Comicle with my responses:

Regarding “Utilities are attacking rooftop solar” (Open Forum, July 3): Under the state’s rooftop solar subsidy program, Net Energy Metering, non-solar customers — including seniors, lower-income Californians and renters — are paying about $200 more annually in their utility bills to cover the generous subsidies for homeowners who install solar panels. (What is Kelly's source for this? This would be a complicated equation any way you look at it. It doesn't come close to passing the basic smell test)

By 2030, that will grow to more than $500/year if NEM is not reformed. (Same question, according to who and where is the back-up? How do we know if Kelly has captured all of the cost savings the utilities get from needing to build less capacity and transmission lines?)

Since 1995, when NEM was established, credits solar homeowners receive for selling their excess electricity back to the grid have gone up while the cost of solar has decreased by 70%. (Completely irrelevant. The comparison should be what it costs PG&E and SoCal Edison to generate the same amount of juice. Kelly is clearly no financial genius).

The credit is so generous that homeowners with rooftop solar, who tend to be wealthier, are paying only nominal and sometimes even zero electric bills. (If they tend to be "wealthier" it's because rooftop solar is expensive! Duh. It's a major capital expense and saves the other ratepayers from paying for the utilities to make more investment.)

They no longer pay their fair share for grid maintenance, programs for low-income customers, energy efficiency programs and the like. (Now we get to the nut of the issue--he/she wants more money to redistribute. To heck with the environment or grid reliability or peak capacity needs, we gotta give more people more free money/electricity.).

Those costs are unfairly shifted to non-solar customers. The inflated subsidies mean homeowners are paying off an average rooftop solar system in fewer than five years but collect these generous subsidies for 20 years. (Maybe the payback is ~5 years, maybe not, we will see. I'm sure Kelly didn't include the cost of the new roof you might have to put in under the new solar panels and a few other expenses. And even if it is 5 years to recoup, so what? That is about on par with a lot of other capital expenses people and businesses make.)

We think NEM can and should be reformed. Done right, rooftop solar adoption will continue to grow, but in a way that ensures all customers continue to pay their fair share. ("done right". Yeah, right.)

Hene Kelly, legislative director, California Alliance for Retired Americans, San Francisco (If Kelly were really concerned about retired Americans he/she would know that they really like to keep their costs stable and predictable. PG&E's rates are predictable--predictably going up and it isn't NEM that is causing that!)


Today is the day I cut over to solar power and it feels like it is just in time:

PG&E, in Reversal, to Bury Power Lines in Fire-Prone Areas

California utility says plan for 10,000 miles of distribution lines carries estimated cost of $20 billion

“We know that we have long argued that undergrounding was too expensive,” Chief Executive Patti Poppe said. “This is where we say it’s too expensive not to underground. Lives are on the line.”

Ms. Poppe said there are more than eight million trees within striking distance of the company’s power lines. It plans to spend $1.4 billion this year to trim more than a million trees and remove more than 300,000 of them.
Ratepayers get ready.....


It sounds like the CPUC is going to try to do what the Legislature could not (pass)-- hamstring the economics of rooftop solar. It will be interesting to figure out whose pocket(s) they are in. The Comicle covered it:

About 500 supporters have signed on to an alternative campaign to fight the net metering overhaul, including advocates of rooftop panels and various other organizations, banding together under the moniker Save California Solar.

Rooftop solar-affiliated groups including Environment California and Vibrant Clean Energy have touted their own research on the benefits of rooftop solar and storage, contending that it’s critical to saving customers’ money and keeping the state’s clean energy progress on track.

Del Chiaro, from the solar and storage association, is frank about what could happen if the credits are slashed and the state imposes a fee on rooftop solar panels.

“We’ll see hundreds of businesses, tens of thousands of jobs in clean energy lost, and California will fall short of its goals of getting off of fossil fuels,” she said.


Richard Miller

Going solar is a big decision, but it's one that often pays off in more ways than one. While there may be uncertainties at the start, investing in solar energy can lead to significant savings on energy bills and a reduced carbon footprint in the long run. If you're hoping it ends up worth it, working with trusted solar panel contractors can help ensure a smooth installation process and maximize the benefits of your solar system. Here's to a brighter, more sustainable future powered by the sun!


Bot has entered the chat…


Yes, he entered just enough legit text to avoid the spam filter. The new net metering rules are decimating the California residential rooftop solar business. Thousands of layoffs and thousands of roofs that could have been generating green energy have been sacrificed for "equity". It's really stupidity.

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