PG&E and Solar

Understanding how (and why) PG&E Quietly Subsidizes Solar


Purchasers of solar photovoltaic systems benefit from one large subsidy, the Federal Tax Credit, which is the equivalent of getting 30% off of whatever your final negotiated price is.

However the other, less visible subsidies are just as important.

  1. Though the California Energy Commission’s rebate ran dry in 2013, some cities and counties are funding their own rebates.
  2. If you are a heavy user, and paying tier 4 rates, your panels will be replacing PG&E power that costs you 32 cents per kilowatt-hour.
  3. If you presently have time-of-use metering, your panels will be replacing electricity that costs you 31 – 48 cents per kilowatt-hour.
  4. If you sign up for net-metering, you can offset two or three kilowatt-hours of your own evening/weekend consumption for every one kilowatt-hour of peak-hour production you provide the grid.

Each of these can help make your solar purchase one of the smartest investments you’ve ever made.

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Learn more. Email me (at and I’ll send you two other reports: Is My Roof Right for Solar, and Solar As an Investment.

Is My Roof Right for Solar provides an overview of the relative importance of orientation, tilt, weather and shade.

Solar As an Investment starts with a simple “years til payback” model, then adds layers of real-world complications, including utility rate increases, inverter replacements, panel degradation, and even the interest you might be earning elsewhere, if you didn’t invest in solar.

By reading and understanding these two papers, you will be a smarter shopper when interviewing solar salespeople offering to install solar panels on your roof.

Bill Fridl
Solar Advocate

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