California public utility officials recently took a giant step forward in encouraging residents to be wise with their electricity. In January of this year, the California Public Utilities Commission voted to adopt guidelines for establishing time-of-use electricity rates, which encourage smart use of electricity by charging more for electricity during peak usage hours and less for power during non-peak times.
Companies are proposing moving peak hours to the evenings, beginning between 4:00 and 5:00 PM and ending between 9:00 and 10:00 PM. Currently, these peak hours are set sometime between noon and 6:00 PM, when most business have their doors open, air conditioners and computers running. However, this doesn’t account for the sudden surge in home consumption that occurs around 6:00 PM, when many Californians get home from work and turn on major appliances their microwaves, televisions, and dishwashers. This new pricing structure would encourage people to wait to turn on these appliances until after these peak hours and let them run when the grid is used the least, which helps reduce the load on the grid and would save homeowners money.
This switch would have an impact on Californians who have made the switch to solar, as it would alter the pricing structure on electricity that is sold back to the grid. Late mornings and early afternoons have traditionally been the optimal time for harvesting solar energy due to bright sunlight being directly overhead. Under this new pricing structure, the early-afternoon hours of 12:00 PM to roughly 4:00 PM would become “non-peak,” which means the value of electricity sold back to the grid decreases when your panels are producing the most power.
However, it would have some significant benefits during the late peak hours, particularly during the summer season when daylight lasts well past the 6:00 hour in California. Since these hours would then become “peak” and a considerable amount of electricity is used during this time, the price of the electricity flowing back to the grid would increase dramatically, helping you save even more money. The less you use during these times, the more you get back, particularly if your panels are still producing a lot of power.
While time of use rates have not yet been fully-implemented, these new rates could see a dramatic benefit for the California grid overall, as it would reduce strain during the highest-demand hours as well as give Californians the ability to save money by simply moving the running of their most expensive appliances to earlier or later off-peak times.
Sunpower® by Quality Home Serviceswas founded over 30 years ago with the mission of helping customers improve their quality of life while helping the environment. Our highly-trained Fresno solar panel installation specialists can help you develop a clean energy solution for your home that helps you save money on your utility bills while also helping the environment by reducing your reliance on fossil fuels. With offices in both Fresno and Bakersfield, we are close by and can serve you and your home or business’s needs anywhere in California’s central valley.