How California is Slowly Switching to Renewable Energy


Renewable energy in California

Renewable energy is something everyone in the Western world is thinking about these days, but Californians are even more forward-thinking than most. California has long made environmental protection a high priority and supported renewable energy in all forms.

What are the types of electricity plans offered in California?

Most electricity pricing plans offered in California are based on “time-of-use.” These plans offer different pricing depending on what time of day you use the majority of your energy. For example, in many households, the majority of energy is often used between 4 pm and 9 pm in the summer, and so the cost can be around $0.40 per kWh for that period. However, the price for using energy during off-peak times (all other hours than those) is just $0.35 per kWh.

Another form of energy plan is known as a “tiered-rate plan.” This kind of plan gives you different pricing options depending on how much energy you use. For example, you would be given a baseline allowance of energy use that will be based on various factors such as where you live, how you heat and cool your home, and so on. When you use energy within this baseline, you are charged the lowest price (or tier 1). This may be $0.25 per kWh.

If you go over this amount, you would then be charged the tier 2 price, which may be $0.30 per kWh. If you go over this, you’ll be charged a high-usage surcharge. In this example, this could be $0.40 per kWh.

Level pay plans average out what they believe your bill will be for the next three months and charge you the same each month. This allows you to better predict your bills to help with budgeting.

Renewable energy plans are those that allow you to purchase renewable energy at no additional cost or for a fixed monthly fee depending on which provider you choose to work with. This allows you to support developing renewable energy providers so they can continue to grow and build, and you can help increase the demand for renewable energy in the process. (Find out more about how you can do so with Inspire here.)

There are other plans that are geared toward homes with solar panels and for those with electric vehicles, so it’s a good idea to do your research before you purchase any new plan to ensure it not only aligns with your needs but also with your values.

How much of California’s energy is renewable?

As of 2018, renewables accounted for 31.3% of California’s energy use1. Better still, 32.4% of all energy produced within California was renewable, with the next two largest being natural gas (46.5%) and nuclear (9.4%).

Back in 2015, Governor Brown signed the SB350, which mandates that all utility companies operating in California must use renewable energy sources for at least 50% of the energy they supply by 2030. This means that the amount of renewable energy used in California will rise significantly over the next few years.

How much does electricity cost in California?

The average cost of electricity in California is rising and has gone from 14.90 cents per kWh for residents in October 2019 to 20.79 cents in October 20202. The national average is also rising, so this is not exclusive to California. This has led many residents to consider switching to renewable energy sources to cut back on their costs or try to avoid the varying costs of fossil fuels.

What is deregulation in California?

Deregulation means that residents have the option to choose their own energy company, buying into a tariff for a predetermined length of time. The theory behind this is that, because energy companies are in competition with one another, prices are driven down and better options are offered to residents.

In California, this means that you can buy your energy through whichever company you like best, but one major utility company will still deliver your energy and be responsible if anything goes wrong. This gives you the opportunity to save money and choose a company whose values align with yours. For example, you can choose an energy company that uses only renewable energy sources over one that uses entirely fossil fuels.

What is the California Renewable Energy Act?

The California Renewable Energy Act is a bill that mandates that all energy in the state will rely on zero-emission (AKA clean renewable) sources for electricity by 2045. This renewable energy act also called for statewide carbon neutrality by the same year, which means that the state will remove the same amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere that it creates.

Is it worth going solar in California?

It can be. California is actually the leading state for solar installations thanks to the abundance of sunny days, especially in the south. But solar panels aren’t right for everyone. A few considerations before moving forward are:

  • Do you own your home? (If not, solar panels are unlikely to be an option.)
  • Do you have an HOA that will need to approve your decision?
  • Do you have a suitable area or roof that gets sun all day?
  • Do you live in an area of California that sees the sun most days? (Solar panels cannot work when it is overcast.)
  • Are you prepared for the cost? (Solar panel installation costs between $12,500 - $17,000 on average.)

The high installation cost is usually a huge factor in whether or not someone decides to move forward with solar panel installation. If you have the cash, own your home, and live in the perfect area, it may well be the best choice for you. But if any of those points are not the case, then choosing a renewable energy plan could be the best choice for you.

Does California have a solar tax credit?

California does offer solar tax credits and rebates for those who choose to install solar panels. Local rebates vary depending on where in the state you live, so you should do your research and talk to local solar companies who should know which rebates you are eligible for. These are usually up to a maximum of $500, with the average being $300.

In many areas of the state, you can take advantage of the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) financing program, which allows you to finance your solar installation and pay it back through your property taxes.

While California doesn’t offer a blanket tax credit, the federal solar tax credit is substantial and has been extended into 2021.

Companies that provide renewable energy in California

The companies that provide renewable energy plans are:

  • Inspire Clean Energy (us!)
  • CleanPowerSF
  • Valley Clean Energy (limited area)
  • Solana Energy Alliance
  • Silicon Valley Clean Energy
  • San Jose Clean Energy

How do I change electricity suppliers in California?

Once you’ve decided which company you want to supply you with your energy, the process of changing electricity suppliers is easy. First, check whether you’re tied into a tariff or contract; if you are, you may have to pay a penalty to switch early.

All you need to do is tell your new company that you want to switch to them. They’ll start to make the switch and will tell your current (soon-to-be old) energy supplier that you’ve decided to move.

From there, provided you don’t have any outstanding bills or are ready to pay them off, they’ll “release” you so you can switch to your new supplier.

Your new supplier will then be responsible for your bill and purchasing energy for you. Since you live in California, you will still be supplied energy by whichever utility company is responsible for your area, but they will not be responsible for your billing or will bill you in tandem with your new supplier, depending on which plan you choose.

Why choose Inspire as your California renewable energy company?

Unlike many other states, you are lucky enough to have a few different options when it comes to renewable energy. Inspire supplies our customers with 100% renewable energy from clean energy sources, such as wind farms and solar farms.

We’re dedicated to changing the world for the better, and increasing the demand for clean energy so we can make a real difference in the world. The pollution that traditional energy sources emit causes global warming, damages the environment, and worsens respiratory diseases. The more of us that switch to clean energy, the cleaner our world will be and the better a place it will be for future generations.

We provide our customers with fully customized pricing based on their usage and home, and that price is fixed. That means no more trying to predict what your bill may be, and getting a surprise when you finally view the bill. And we don’t lock you into a long contract – you can cancel at any time, risk-free.

We’ll seamlessly switch your supply to us, so you won’t have to think about it again once you’ve made the switch. You can simply feel the relief of knowing you have drastically reduced your household’s impact. To find out more and join us on our mission, click here.

Sources:


  1. energy.ca.gov/data-reports/energy-almanac/california-electricity-data/2019-total-system-electric-generation/2018 

  2. eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epmtablegrapher.php?t=epmt56_a