NEM-A Helps california businesses go solar
In March of 2014, PG&E began accepting applications for their Aggregate Net Metering program also referred to as NEM-A enacted by SB 594, with other California Utilities (including SCE & SDG&E) soon to follow.
This new version of net metering, known as “meter aggregation,” allows landowners to choose the best location for solar or wind on their property and then use the power generated to offset their bills from any of their electricity meters on the same or contiguous properties. Contiguous properties must be owned, leased, or rented by the same owner as the property where the energy facility is located.
Aggregate net metering provides cost advantages as it is cheaper to build and own a single energy production facility that yields the same energy output as many smaller systems. A perfect example where NEM-A works best is when there are multiple pumps on meters that vary in usage and span long distances. In the past, these would turn out expensive because each one of these small arrays was required to be individually interconnected to a meter possibly miles away. Now, the customer-generator will be able to use the sum of the load of the aggregated meters for purposes of establishing the maximum size renewable generation system to be used for net metering purposes. However, the existing maximum size limit (1 MW) for net-metered generation facilities will apply to customer-generators applying under the NEM-A program. Also, each utility will only accept a 5% cap of aggregate demand making this the time to explore this opportunity before the program is full.
This is a huge advantage to many businesses with multiple meters where solar previously did not seem feasible. With the 60% drop in the cost of PV modules in the past few years and now with programs like NEM-A, solar projects make smart business sense with returns on investment typically as low as 3-4 years and millions of dollars of savings in avoided utility bills. Overall NEM-A provides a way for customers with multiple meters to use on-site sustainable generation more efficiently and economically.
As shown above in the NEM-A document diagram: a road does not interrupt that continuity of eligibility.
An existing meter can be used as the master meter if the switch gear is large enough, or a new generation meter can be requested depending on the size of the system.