The Big News from 2019 -what it means for you in 2020 and beyond.
The power shutoffs and our focus on community sustainability and resiliency were a major part of our efforts in 2019 and will continue into 2020.
The Public Safety Power Shut Off (PSPS) events that began in October overwhelmed our community as well as our business. We began a series of articles on backup power in our June newsletter, which we also posted on our website blog, with the intent of helping people prepare in advance.
While interest in backup power began when PG&E first announced the PSPS’s would be coming down the pike, most people weren’t prepared when they arrived. As soon as they hit we were absolutely inundated with people reaching out for immediate solutions. We and others in the business of backup power couldn’t possibly serve the demand immediately, however we’ve since hired additional installers and earlier this year an additional electrician to help with the increase in demand.
We’re still working hard to catch up on the flood of requests for battery backup options and generators and don’t see demand slowing down in 2020. We’ve continued to invest a lot of time looking into a multitude of battery options as well as options for adding batteries to existing solar systems in order to assure we’ve got the latest and greatest solutions.
Our focus on community sustainability and resiliency has taken many different forms in 2019. Each month our newsletter and blog posts feature stories we and other local experts have contributed on a variety of topics. The value-added, no-cost Energy Efficiency Assessment service we offer to all of our solar customers has contributed to the implementation of a wide range of cost-saving efficiency and conservation measures. We’ve also been active with the Grass Valley Energy Action Plan, including a workshop on energy efficiency last May.
In addition to the impacts of the PSPS we anticipate a surge to go solar this year given changes to the solar tax credit (ITC). The ITC is lowering from 30% to 26% in 2020, and then dropping to 22% for 2021 before going away all together. The exception will be the ITC for commercial systems, for which the credit will remain at 10% from 2022 onward. The decline of the tax credit will be a big driver for the industry but, unbeknownst to most, are considerable changes in the rules that will apply to new solar customers but, thankfully, not to those with solar installed in 2020 or prior years. Grandfathering protections will allow pre-2021 solar customers to maintain full retail credit for excess energy sent back to the grid for 20 years.