Call Before You Install!
If you want to install a solar system (or any power generation system) while still staying tied to the electric grid, PLEASE CALL US BEFORE YOU INSTALL. Why?
- Safety - we have to be sure the specifications are correct to protect the electrical system, as well as prevent injury to our line workers from possible backfeed.
- False claims - some installers and salespeople are making false claims on the PUD's behalf and we want to make sure you are given the correct information.
Net metering allows customers to generate their own electricity with wind, solar, etc., (up to 100 kilowatts of generating capacity) while staying connected to the utility's electrical distribution system. Any excess electricity generated by a customer can be credited to the customer's next bill - meters can go backwards! Washington State RCW 80.60.030 requires that any excess kilowatt-hours are zeroed out on March 31 of every year.
Contact Kim Johnson in Energy Services for more information at 509-422-8428 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you miss our Solar 101 Workshop? Here is the SLIDE PRESENTATION and other info:
Solar Washington: www.solarwa.org - a non-profit agency devoted to all things solar
Department of Consumer Protection: www.atg.wa.gov/consumer-protection - concerned about scams or have you faced problems with a company? The Office of the Attorney General has information and help.
Better Business Bureau: www.bbb.org - don't just look at the rating, look at the customer comments as well to do some research on popular solar companies.
US Department of Energy: www.energy.gov - get statistics, industry information and the latest news and scam reports.
Check out a video demonstration on our YouTube channel: Solar Net Metering Demonstration
! Solar Scams & False Claims
As mentioned above, some companies/individuals are attempting to scam or mislead our customers. Unfortunately, some have even succeeded. Here are some examples of scams or false/misleading claims you might have heard or seen:
- "Never pay a utility bill again!" This is NOT true for net metering. Because net metering customers are still tied to the grid and all the same equipment is required to keep your home ready to access that electricity, customers will still have to pay the monthly basic charge and taxes. Only if you disconnect from the grid will you no longer receive a monthly PUD bill.
- "Your utility will buy power from you!" We actually (legally) can't. In reality, your meter goes backwards and you can build up a credit on your bill. However, on March 31 of every year, BY STATE LAW (RCW 80.60.030) any excess power you have credited zeroes out. That means you only want to build a system large enough to fit your needs - we will/can not buy extra power from residential customers.
- "Because of solar incentives, you can get solar panels for free!" Maybe, but not from this state or from any utilities we are aware of. There might be federal or state programs that can help offset the cost of your project, but these are not widely available and change frequently. You've probably seen ads for "free solar" online - these claims do not apply to all customers.
We recommend you contact more than one solar installation company to get bids and information - some are better to work with than others. Contact us as soon as possible in the process so we can make sure you are not falling for a scam or false claim. Solar can be great, but only when the system is designed with the individual customer's needs in mind. If you are still thinking about solar or other generation, please keep reading:
Understanding Net Metering
*Okanogan PUD does NOT provide or require a production meter.*
All customer meters are already bi-directional (they can already go backwards).
Download and review ALL the PDF documents listed on this page.
Identify the power generation equipment you would like to install. Net metering allows for systems rated up to 100 kW.
Contact the appropriate city or county building and planning department to discuss your project. Determine whether you must obtain permits or if there are zoning restrictions that would prohibit the installation of your generator. You must obtain an electrical permit.
Contact your property insurer to discuss the installation of your power generator. Your insurance agent may need copies of receipts for the purchase of the equipment and the installation costs to update your homeowner’s annual insurance premium. The PUD does not require liability insurance to become a producer.
Contact Energy Services by calling 509-422-8428 to discuss your project.
Applications, Agreements, and Fee
Complete and return the following documents and fee to the Energy Services department at Okanogan County PUD, PO Box 912, Okanogan, WA 98840:
Important information included in the application:
Interconnection inverter must be UL 1741 and IEEE 1547 listed.
An electrical schematic drawing must be included.
Cut sheets for products used in the generating system.
If a lockable visible disconnect is required, provisions for it must be included.
Include a check made out to Okanogan County PUD for $100.00 (application processing fee).
Pre-Pay Line Extension Charge (if applicable). If additional facilities are required those fees will be calculated as a line extension.
The Okanogan County PUD Engineering Department MUST approve each net-metered system before it may be interconnected with the PUD’s distribution system. Location and type of meters must be approved by the PUD before power generation starts. Safety-related testing of each net-metered system is required before interconnection to the utility grid is allowed.
BEFORE you install your system, complete and return the Application for Interconnecting a Generating Facility no Larger than 100 kW and the Net Energy Metering Interconnection Agreement (both attached above) for approval to be certain the system you own or intend to purchase meets all the requirements.
After receiving approval to become a net metering customer, you are ready to purchase and install your solar panels or other power-generating system! Remember:
Contact the appropriate city, county, and/or electrical inspectors during installation. Remember to install your generator according to the Net Energy Metering Interconnection Agreement (attached above).
Schedule an inspection with Washington State L&I (Labor and Industries): 509-886-6500 (East Wenatchee office).
- Call the PUD to schedule an inspection of your completed installation.
- When everything is approved and all inspections are complete, then the system can be turned on and production begins.
Enjoy watching your meter go backwards! If you have any questions or concerns, contact Kim Johnson in Energy Services at 509-422-8428 or email@example.com.