On December 15, 2022, the California Public Utilities Fee (CPUC) voted on and handed the online billing tariff, also called NEM 3.0. Because the April 15, 2023, begin date approaches, undertaking design and gross sales software program supplier Aurora Photo voltaic weighs in on how this new incentive construction will affect the photo voltaic + storage market.
May you clarify how it will affect the design of photo voltaic installations and the broader photo voltaic market in California?
Chris Hopper, CEO and co-founder at Aurora Photo voltaic: First, we count on to see a spike in photo voltaic curiosity and installs all through California as householders act shortly to get grandfathered into NEM 2 pricing — April 14, 2023, is the ultimate day to submit an interconnection software to enroll into NEM 2.0. Nevertheless, on account of the conversations householders have with photo voltaic installers and contractors, we’ll see our second affect: householders will understand that photo voltaic continues to be an incredible funding below NEM 3.0 pricing.
That is very true for these dwelling in areas which might be more and more impacted by wildfires and energy shut offs yearly. The potential for photo voltaic to offer power independence and resilience is changing into an more and more necessary promoting level.
Now, to realize that resilience, photo voltaic design requires storage. This brings us to our third affect, and will get us again to the query on how NEM 3.0 will have an effect on the design of photo voltaic installations: Our trade wants a rise in photo voltaic + battery storage installations. Underneath NEM 3.0, battery storage makes extra monetary sense than ever as a result of it requires householders to implement time-of-use utility pricing and reduces the value at which power may be bought again to the grid. Householders who can generate and retailer power can promote that saved power again to the grid at peak instances, when time-of-use costs are at their highest. This may assist generate a better return on their photo voltaic investments.
How is NEM 3.0 going to affect photo voltaic installers in California?
Within the short-term, refill on espresso, as a result of the following couple months are going to be busy as householders rush to get methods grandfathered into NEM 2.0.
Within the longer-term, although, there are some actual alternatives for installers, beginning with photo voltaic + storage. Battery storage supplies that peace of thoughts — that householders will have the ability to hold the lights on it doesn’t matter what occurs with the grid. And now, this photo voltaic plus storage mixture has the additional benefit of serving to householders generate the perfect return on their photo voltaic funding below the brand new NEM 3.0 guidelines.
To benefit from this chance, installers must be educated on all of the power storage choices out there — and new applied sciences coming. Not solely do they want to have the ability to talk about them with, and clarify them to, householders, however installers should have the ability to embody storage of their gross sales pitch and proposal. This implies modeling storage as a part of a photo voltaic set up, mannequin completely different storage choices, and clearly present the prices and financial savings. And to actually understand this chance, all of this needs to be a pure, built-in a part of what installers current to householders.
What recommendation would you give to contractors to arrange for this new future?
We name our trade the “photo voltaic coaster” for a cause — change is the one fixed. Householders, although, doubtless aren’t conscious of this. The very best recommendation we can provide you is to grasp clients count on a seamless, versatile and simple buying course of — it doesn’t matter what they’re shopping for. You may analysis and order virtually something on-line, proper? You then even have the choice to talk with somebody in-person, through chat or on a video name in the event you want extra data or help. While you’re making residence enhancements, for instance, you may even see, on-line, how sure patterns of wallpaper will look in your partitions, or how a sofa will look in your front room.
Photo voltaic is not any completely different. Householders need to really feel engaged all through the gross sales, design and set up course of. They need to be offered with a number of choices, primarily based on their enter and preferences. They need to see how the panels will look on their roof.
In the case of photo voltaic + storage, particularly, they count on to see how a proposed system will create the best return on their funding, in addition to what number of hours of backup power they’ve if an influence outage happens. And so they need enter into the ultimate product. When installers are in a position to present this stage of service — and plenty of already are — consumers really feel well-informed and empowered and have extra confidence of their choice to go photo voltaic.
We even have to deal with a pair potential obstacles. First, photo voltaic + storage is usually costlier than standalone photo voltaic. This doesn’t should be a dealbreaker, although. For instance, seamlessly offering completely different financing choices provides householders again some management and might help overcome their preliminary price issues.
Likewise, installers might even see smooth prices begin to creep up as every little thing from system design, to procurement, to set up probably turns into extra complicated. Having the perfect, most correct, most streamlined platform for promoting, designing and financing photo voltaic initiatives will proceed to be an effective way to maintain these prices as little as doable. The advances we’ve seen simply during the last couple years — together with utilizing AI to assist enhance accuracy, remove errors and take out rote duties — have been mind-boggling in how a lot they’ve helped enhance installers’ effectivity and minimize prices, whereas offering a a lot better buyer expertise.
Simply for instance, we’ve discovered that Aurora’s software program helped photo voltaic firms cut back total set up smooth prices by as a lot as 35%. However, installers should do their homework. Analysis the software program choices on the market and see which of them match greatest with what your organization wants.