Tuesday, March 17, 2009

3-year Graph of PG&E Residential Rates

The graph below shows how electricity rates have changed for each of the 5 tiers in PG&E's normal residential rate plan, which is called the E-1 rate. After holding fairly constant throughout 2007 and early 2008, the top 3 tiers rose rather dramatically starting on October 1, 2008. On 9/30/08, the day before the rates jumped, you could have bought a kWh of "Tier 5" electricity for $.359. Today, less than six months later, the price is $.441. That's 23% higher, and during most of that period the cost of oil and natural gas have been trending strongly downwards! I wish this kind of information was being more widely reported.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Local Electricity Prices Rise Again

PG&E raised its rates substantially on March 1, 2009.

For the standard E-1 residential rate plan, the new rates are:
Tier 5... $.44/kwh (up 7.4%)
Tier 4... $.38/kwh (up 6.9%)
Tier 3... $.26/kwh (up 5.1%)
Tier 2... $.13/kwh (unchanged)
Tier 1... $.12/kwh (unchanged)

Tiny changes were made to the E-6 and E-7 time of use rate plans usedby most solar homeowners.

For small businesses on the A-1 rate plan, rates increased 7.2% to $.179/kwh. For larger businesses on the A-10 non-FTA rate plan, the rate went up a whopping 13.5% to $.158/kwh.

PG&E's complete rate history for the last 10+ years can be found online at http://www.pge.com/mybusiness/myaccount/rates/ (By the way, few utilities make historical rate information as easy to find as PG&E does.)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Solar for your Church or Favorite Non-Profit

One of my new projects is to develop tools and templates to help not-for-profit organizations like churches and charities that own their own buildings go solar.

Non-profits with large enough electrical bills and enough roof space can already go solar for no money down with a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). This form of solar financing is available from some sources for projects as small as 20 kW, though more frequently a minimum of 50 kW is required. (20 kW of solar would cost a non-profit about $110,000 after incentives in California.)

However, I'm not aware of any provider who offers PPAs to churches and charities who need less than 20 kW. That's the niche I'm trying to fill. If you'd like to offer suggestions or know more, please leave a comment on this entry.