Going Solar with Desert Community Energy

Whether you are interested in getting solar or already have it on your home or business, you can participate in Desert Community Energy’s Net Energy Metering (NEM) program that offers the same rates for your excess energy production as Southern California Edison (SCE).

How DCE’s NEM program works 

If you are already a net energy metering customer with SCE, you don’t have to do anything. As a Desert Community Energy (DCE) customer, you will be automatically enrolled in our NEM program. Your system’s energy production will be monitored monthly. At the end of your new relevant period with DCE (May 2021 for most NEM customers) if you produce excess energy, you will receive a credit on your bill that can be applied to charges in future months. If you use more energy than your system produces, you will be charged for the energy you draw from the grid. You can choose from either Desert Community Energy’s Carbon Free (more green) or Desert Saver (lower cost) plans.

Annual True-up

After you are enrolled into DCE, each May on your meter read date, the kilowatt usage is evaluated. If you produced more energy than you used, you will see a credit on your bill. In the event that you used more power than your system generated, you will be charged for the net amount you used. You will be compensated at Desert Community Energy’s Net Surplus Compensation Rate that will match SCE’s rate.

The Advantage of DCE’s NEM program versus SCE

If you need energy beyond what your system produces, you can purchase energy from Desert Community Energy at a lower rate than SCE with our Desert Saver plan.  You also have the choice to go green and make a bigger impact on the environment by choosing Desert Community Energy’s Carbon Free plan that will cost about 10% more than SCE’s base rate. The City of Palm Springs has prioritized reducing greenhouse (GHG) emissions and chosen to automatically enroll every residential and commercial customer (including solar) into Desert Community Energy’s Carbon Free plan. To opt down to Desert Saver, click here or call our customer service center toll-free at (855) 357-9240.

And, DCE is locally controlled. The money generated by DCE will go back into the community in the form of local incentives, instead of paying SCE shareholders.

Information for Customers with Existing Solar & Battery Storage Systems

If you are already a NEM customer with SCE, you don’t have to do anything. Your account will automatically be enrolled in Desert Community Energy in May 2020. Credits for surplus electricity earned under SCE’s NEM program prior to May 2020 will be trued up and paid by SCE following enrollment into Desert Community Energy’s NEM program.

With DCE’s NEM program, electricity usage will be monitored monthly and you will receive a credit for any surplus energy generated. At the end of your relevant period (May 2021 for most DCE NEM customers), you will either receive a check or a bill, and if you are a net consumer for that year, you will only receive one bill annually. Desert Community Energy will true up all customers on an annual basis each May, rather than on a unique date for each customer.  This allows you a full 12 months to net out any generation charges.

There is no impact to customers NEM 1.0 and 2.0 grandfathering status by enrolling in DCE service.

 Desert Community Energy will honor SCE’s NEM 1.0 and 2.0 status for those customers already grandfathered in at that status. However, should a NEM customer decide to opt-out of DCE outside of the 60-Day post enrollment window to go back to SCE, they will be enrolled in SCE’s most recent NEM status. NEM 1.0 and 2.0 customers that opt out of DCE prior to the 60-Day post enrollment window will retain their NEM 1.0 or 2.0 status when they return and their original relevant period will be restored.

Information for Customers Interested in Going Solar

If you are thinking about going solar, or other self-generation, here are some basic tips to get you started:

Steps for Going Solar

Step 1: Choose a Contractor

Find a qualified, licensed solar contractor to provide a free evaluation and comprehensive quote. Compare multiple bids to find the contractor that’s right for you.

Step 2: Financing Options

Want solar but don’t think you can afford it?  There are organizations out there who will assist low-income families in putting solar on their property.  One such organization is Grid Alternatives.  Visit their website to find out if you qualify at https://gridalternatives.org/

You may also finance solar through a program called Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, where solar, energy efficiency, and water efficiency projects can be financed with no money down through your property taxes for up to 30 years in some cases, keeping your monthly payment low.  Often times, the money saved on the reduced electric bill will offset the monthly cost of the improvement.  Search the internet for PACE providers servicing the Coachella Valley or click here to view a list of organizations licensed as program administrators under the California Financing Law.

Step 3: Installation

Installation typically takes one to three days, depending on the size of your system. It may take an additional one to three months before your solar panels are connected to the grid and producing energy for your home.

Step 4: Sign up for Net Energy Metering  

Net Energy Metering (NEM) customers enjoy credits to their bill along with other benefits when they generate more solar energy than they use. DCE customers sign up for NEM through SCE and will be automatically served by DCE’s NEM program.

Have Additional Questions about Solar?

Download our NEM factsheet here and visit our Frequently Asked Questions page as well as contact your solar installer for help understanding how NEM works.

For more information:

California Solar Consumer Protection Guide

Solar Customer Advisor - SCE Net Metering Explained

Planet Earth - How to Read Your SCE Net-Energy Agreement Electricity Bill 

 

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