How California installers can prepare for NEM 3.0

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On December 15, 2022, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted to Net billed price, also known as NEM 3.0. As the April 15, 2023 launch date approaches, Aurora Solar, his provider of project design and sales software, is considering how this new incentive structure will impact the solar + storage market. .

Can you explain how this will affect solar plant design and the wider solar market in California?

Chris Hopper, CEO and co-founder of Aurora Solar, said:: First, we expect to see a surge in solar interest and installations across California as homeowners act quickly to apply NEM 2 pricing. But as homeowners talk to their solar installers and contractors, they will see a second impact. Homeowners will find solar is still a great investment even under NEM 3.0 pricing.

This is especially true for those living in areas that are increasingly affected by wildfires and power outages each year. The potential for solar power to provide energy independence and resilience is becoming an increasingly important selling point.

Now, to achieve that resilience, solar designs need storage. This brings us to his third impact, returning to the question of how NEM 3.0 will affect the design of solar installations. Our industry needs more solar + battery installations. Battery storage makes more economic sense under NEM 3.0, as homeowners must implement time-of-use utility pricing, lowering the price at which energy can be sold to the grid. . Homeowners who can generate and store energy can sell that stored energy to the grid during peak hours when the price of time of use is highest. This allows you to generate higher returns from your solar investment.

How will NEM 3.0 impact California solar installers?

In the short term, stock up on coffee.the next few months busy Homeowners are rushing to migrate their systems to NEM 2.0.

In the long term, however, there are some real opportunities for installers, starting with Solar + Storage. Storage batteries provide homeowners with the peace of mind that they can keep the light on no matter what happens to the grid. And now, this solar and storage combination has the added benefit of helping homeowners generate the highest return on their solar investment under the new NEM 3.0 rules.

To take advantage of this opportunity, installers must be educated on all available energy storage options and new technologies that are emerging. Not only should you be able to discuss and explain to homeowners, installers should be able to include storage in their pitches and offers. This means modeling storage as part of a solar installation. different Choose your storage options and clearly demonstrate your costs and savings. And all of this must be a natural and integrated part of what the installer presents to the homeowner in order to truly realize this opportunity.

What advice would you give contractors to prepare for this new future?

There’s a reason we call this industry the ‘solar coaster’. But homeowners are probably unaware of this. The best advice we can give you is to understand that your customers expect a seamless, flexible and easy buying process no matter what they buy.You can research and order almost anything online. right? If you need more information or support, you can also speak to someone directly via chat or video call. For example, if you are remodeling your home, you can also go online to see how a particular patterned wallpaper will look on the walls or how a sofa will look in the living room.

Solar is no exception. Homeowners want to feel involved throughout the sales, design and installation process. They want to be presented with multiple options based on their opinions and preferences. They want to see what the panels will look like on the roof.

Regarding solar + storage, specifically, we hope to see how the proposed system will yield the greatest return on investment and how many hours of backup energy in the event of a power outage. And they want input into the final product. When installers are able to provide this level of service (and often already do), buyers feel informed and empowered and confident in their decision to go solar. hold.

We also have to deal with some potential obstacles. First, solar + storage is generally more expensive than standalone solar. However, this doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. For example, seamlessly offering a variety of financing options can help homeowners regain some control and overcome initial cost concerns.

Likewise, soft costs can start to rise for installers as everything from system design to procurement to installation can become more complex. Having the most accurate, streamlined and best platform for selling, designing and financing solar projects continues to be a great way to keep these costs as low as possible. The progress made in the last two years, such as increasing accuracy, eliminating errors, and removing routine tasks, has helped installers improve efficiency and reduce costs. It was amazing in a way. Provides a much better customer experience.

As an example, Aurora’s software was found to help a solar company reduce overall installation soft costs by as much as 35%. But installers have to do their homework. Research the software options out there and see which one best suits your company’s needs.

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