Utility Watchdog in San Diego
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Energy

When you take electricity from the electric grid for your needs, your meter runs "forward" as it counts up the kilowatt hours consumed. But if you generate electricity with a photovoltaic (solar panel) or wind generating system and you make more electricity than you need at the time it's produced, net metering allows this excess electricity to run the other way through the meter and back into the electric grid. Net metering measures the difference between the electricity you buy from your utility and the electricity you produce using your own generating equipment. At this point, Net Metering is applicable to solar and wind generators that are 1 MegaWatt (MW) or less in size. Net Metering allows you to effectively store excess electricity you generate in the transmission grid, therefore curtailing the need for expensive storage batteries for your on-site generation system. If you produce more power than you consume, your bill will be zero. At this point, you would not receive a credit from the utility for additional power you produced beyond your own demand. Please be aware that if there is a power outage and you are net metering without a battery storage mechanism, you will not be able to use the power produced by your system during the outage.


Learn about Net Energy Metering In California

Learn about How Solar Electricity Systems Work

Learn about the Interstate Renewable Energy Council's (IREC)

Download a copy of SDG&E's Interconnection Agreement to connect your solar or wind-powered system to SDG&E's power grid.

Wind is a great way to produce electricity and pump water from wells—if you have the wind. Windmills are best located along coastlines, on hills, or in other areas where higher winds are more commonly found.  You can find wind maps at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the California Energy Commission, and this interactive Energy Atlas. A site-specific assessment is usually necessary. A good wind speed is 16 mph but many wind generators will produce some power with as little as 7 mph. Check with your local zoning for height constraints. For more information about wind energy, visit the America Wind Energy Association's website. Wind generators also qualify for the Calif. Energy Commission's Emerging Renewables Program.  

Solar water heating systems typically are roof-mounted panels that absorb the sun's heat into water and deliver it to the home's water heater or swimming pool. Solar systems can also provide indoor space heating by running the heated water through baseboards or radiant floor-heating pipes. These systems can provide heat and hot water with very little energy use. Before purchasing a solar water heater of any kind, make sure the equipment you're considering is certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation. For a list of solar water heater manufacturers that have been certified by the SRCC certification program, click here. For more general information about solar water heating, check out these Dept. of Energy links here

Appliances account for about 20% of your household’s energy consumption, with refrigerators, clothes dryers and washers at the top of the list. If you're looking for information about hot water heaters, clothes washers or dish washers, see our Water Heating section.

Make Your Refrigerator Purr: Gently brush away dirt and dust from the exposed coils at the back of your refrigerator, and make sure it has breathing room. Also, check the seals on the doors to make sure they are tight. If you can put a dollar bill in the door and pull it out after it is closed, you probably need new seals. If your fridge is more than ten years old, it may pay to get a new one.
Cost: Free to clean; new seals vary.
 
$35 Rebate for Old Refrigerators: If your old refrigerator is operational and more than 10 cubic feet, you qualify for this rebate. Contact the Appliance Recycling Center of America (ARCA) at 800-599-5792 for more information. You can use this incentive to purchase a new Energy Star refrigerator.
Clothes Line or Rack:Investing a few dollars in a clothes line or clothes-drying rack can cut your utility bill by as much as 20%. Check with your homeowners' association before installing. And remember, the lint that you collect from your dryer after every cycle used to be in your clothes! A clothes line or drying rack will keep your clothes more intact and help them last longer.
Cost: Less than $15
 
Energy Star Refrigerator: Can save you between $35 to $70 a year compared to models designed 15 years ago. This adds up to between $525 and $1,050 during the average 15-year life of the unit.
Cost: $500 or more
 
Energy Star Central Natural Gas Furnace: New central furnaces are available that use 20-30% less energy to heat your home than older models. Replacing your old furnace with an Energy Star furnace or an Energy Efficient furnace may qualifie you for a rebate, click here to find out.
Cost $500 to $1500
 
No need to keep the pilot light on your furnace lit during the hot summer months. Turn off the pilot until the cooler weather comes or contact the utility to come to your home to do it for you.
Energy Star Central Heat Pump: A heat pump can trim the amount of electricity you use for heating as much as 30% to 40%. If you use electricity to heat your home, consider installing an energy-efficient heat pump system. Heat pumps are the most efficient form of electric heating in moderate climates, providing three times more heating than the equivalent amount of energy they consume in electricity by collecting heat from the air, water, or ground outside your home and concentrating it for use inside. Heat pumps do double-duty as a central air-conditioner. They can also cool your home by collecting the heat inside your house and effectively pumping it outside.
Cost: $100 to $500
 
Whole House Evaporative Cooler:Also known as a 'swamp cooler', this appliance uses significantly less energy than an air conditioning unit for those who live in drier, desert areas.  
Cost: $300 to $700
 
If you need to purchase a gas oven or range, look for one with an automatic electric ignition, so that a pilot will not need to be continuously on.
 
Whole House Fan: A whole house fan allows hot air in your home to easily escape to your attic and out of your house. To qualify for the utility rebate, the whole house fan you purchase must move 1,000 cubic feet per minute or more and you must have existing air conditioning.

Energy Efficient Central Air Conditioner: Qualifying Central air conditioners must be listed by the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) and must have an ARI reference number obtained from the licensed contractor who installs the unit.

About UCAN

UCAN has represented the interests of San Diego County utility customers since 1983. UCAN focuses its efforts on the rates and services of San Diego Gas and Electric Company, telecommunications utilities and the City of San Diego Water Department.

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