San Diego County CA— Over the last eight months, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has helped nearly 3,000 private solar customers collectively save more than $3 million on the costs to go solar. August 2015 was when SDG&E first announced its Renewable Meter Adapter invention, a technology that was developed as an alternative for expensive and time consuming electric panel upgrades that are often required to accommodate solar.
“I work with a number of solar customers and after many conversations I realized that electric panel upgrades were becoming an obstacle in the pathway to solar,” said SDG&E Customer Generation Manager Ken Parks and co-inventor of the Renewable Meter Adapter. “I knew that we could improve the customer experience if we could find a way to avoid the time and money associated with panel upgrades.”
Typically, homes built before 1995—or nearly three quarters of San Diego homes—require electric panel upgrades before connecting private solar. These upgrades, which can cost up to $10,000, often include construction to walls, stucco and landscaping, introducing additional delays and permitting requirements. Not only do these upgrades take time, they require intricate electrical work that bring with it safety risks.
“Homeowners have a new reason to consider going solar, because this device has made it more affordable and efficient,” said Councilman Mark Kersey, who represents San Diego’s fifth district, including Rancho Bernardo. “This is not only good for the environment, but also our local economy.”
Robert Clossin, one of SDG&E’s Rancho Bernardo customers who today had a Renewable Meter Adapter installed said, “When our solar contractor recommended the Renewable Meter Adapter instead of a panel upgrade we knew we would save money. However, the best part was avoiding the annoyance and extra time of having to upgrade our panel, trying to match the exterior paint on our home and coordinating additional inspections.”
The Renewable Meter Adapter device can be installed in under an hour, completing work that would have previously taken days and required additional electrical inspections. In addition, SDG&E will operate and maintain the device for the life of the product.
“When we first announced this innovative technology, we believed it would help to make solar more accessible for our customers,” said Parks. “The response has been staggering, and the fact that this technology has helped so many customers is a testament to how this technology has created a solution to a problem. It’s making clean energy more affordable.”
In addition to the Renewable Meter Adapter, SDG&E’s “fast track” option allows same-day connection of panels, once the panels are deemed safe by the city or county inspector.
SDG&E is an innovative San Diego-based energy company that provides safe, reliable, clean energy to better the lives of the people it serves in San Diego and southern Orange counties. More than 4,300 employees work to provide the most reliable and clean energy in the West. The company has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for leadership in addressing climate change, was the first to meet California’s goal of delivering 33 percent of energy from renewable sources, has fueled the adoption of electric vehicles and energy efficiency through unique customer programs, and supports more than 600 non-profit partners. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.