Utility Companies Cost Solar Homeowners Over $4.7 Million in Delays Over the Past 4 Years

When considering solar, the potential savings are almost always the deciding factor. However, the cost of time that solar installations take is often neglected in this calculation.  Our previous study (California Cities Solar Rankings) ranked California cities based on permit fees and wait times. A new study looks at the costs of delays caused by utility companies.

4.02_ver5Before home owners switching to solar can start realizing savings, they must obtain interconnection approval from their utility company. Interconnection allows homeowners to tie into the grid, sharing their solar production with their communities. Prior to approval, the solar system may not be turned on or allowed to produce energy. Over the past 4 years, California residential solar owners lost $4,782,016.93 while waiting for utility companies to interconnect.

It is important to keep in mind that interconnection times are directly connected to utility companies. And overall, it can take anywhere from 0 days to more than a month, after installation is complete, to get that approval. Sacramento Municipal Utilities District, for example has given same-day PTO issuance to homeowners, while Palo Alto Utility comes close behind with a 1 day wait time. On the other end of the spectrum, SCE average a month for their issuance times. In terms of production, homeowners are losing an average of $4.02/day* while waiting for interconnection. So in 2 weeks, utility companies cost homeowners $59, and $113 in a month. With thousands of home owners switching to solar the costs in lost production add up.

PTO_infoGraphic [Recovered]

If you have any questions about this index, please contact us.

LADWP, which serves Los Angeles, was not included in the study due insufficient data, but our initial research has shown that they take 12-18 months to issue PTO. This would cost each customer $1,708.50 in delayed solar savings — far more than any other utility company.


*This number is based on our calculated “Average daily production in kWH (26.476)” multiplied by the “average price of electricity in California”, which was taken off of NPR’s website.  http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2011/10/27/141766341/the-price-of-electricity-in-your-state