Green Rebate Programs
Solar Rebate Program

For businesses interested in taking the next step in reducing their impact.
 

Which type of Solar Rebate Program would you like to see?
    Business Photovoltaic Incentives Program

    You can power your business with clean energy from the sun, and Riverside Public Utilities can help. With our Business Photovoltaic (PV) Rebate Program, we make it easier for commercial customers to harness solar energy by providing rebates for installation of PV systems on their businesses.

     


     

    NOTICE TO ALL COMMERCIAL CUSTOMERS:

    UPDATE: July 25, 2014  

    The Commercial Photovoltaic (PV) Rebate Program still has funds available.  Please observe the new guidelines for 2014 below:

    1. No PV Rebate applications will be accepted without a reservation appointment. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

    2. Reservations must be scheduled by phone only starting May 19, 2014.  No walk-ins, email, or voicemails will be accepted for reservation appointments.

    3. Only ten (10) applications per reservation appointment will be accepted. If you have more than ten (10) applications, you must schedule an additional reservation appointment. Only one appointment may be scheduled per phone call to RPU.

    4. You must receive a reservation from RPU before building your PV system. PV systems constructed without a valid solar rebate reservation from RPU will not be eligible for the solar rebate program.

    We thank you for your continued interest in RPU’s solar rebate program. With your support, RPU has exceeded 8 megawatts of locally generated clean solar energy.

    In accordance with our published solar rebate guidelines, the program is limited to funds available on a first-come-first served basis.


     

    What are the business PV incentive amounts?

    The level of incentive starting July 1, 2014 will be $0.75 per AC watt. Rebate amounts cannot exceed 50% of the project costs:

    • Up to $50,000 per commercial customer account.
    • Leased systems are not eligible to participate in the PV rebate program.

    Please Note: A final invoice showing either a $0.00 balance due or stamped "Paid in Full" and the City of Riverside Building & Safety sign off must be submitted in order for rebate to be paid.


     

    In order to have a reservation request accepted and guaranteed, customers must follow these steps:

    1. FIRST STEP:  Starting May 19, 2014 at 9:00 AM, please call 951-826-5760 or 951-826-5532 to request a reservation appointment.  Reservation appointments will be scheduled during the entire month of June.  No applications will be accepted without a reservation appointment and incomplete applications will not be accepted.  Emails, voice messages, or walk-ins will not be accepted to request a reservation appointment. 

    Please bring the following to your appointment:

    Once your application packet and reservation request have been approved, RPU will send a confirmation letter of your PV system reservation. You will have a 120 days from date reservation is approved to obtain a building permit from the City of Riverside Building and Safety Department. Once you have obtained a building permit, you will have 12 months in order to complete construction of the PV system and receive final inspection. Failure to abide by these timelines may result in your reservation and/or rebate being forfeited.

    After your PV system has been verified and approved through a final inspection by the City of Riverside Building and Safety Department, your rebate check will be issued within 6-8 weeks. Depending on the number of reservations we receive, it could take a little longer; we sincerely appreciate your patience throughout this process.


    It is important to note that incomplete applications will not be accepted for a reservation. Such applications will be rejected and your place in the reservation process will be forfeited.
     

    The following steps are often taken care of by customers’ PV contractors. We recommend that you consult your contractor to determine their responsibilities.

    2. Follow RPUs Interconnection Standards in designing your system.

    3. Apply for a PV construction permit.

    4. Follow Riverside’s Photovoltaic Permitting Guidelines when building your PV system.

    5. Schedule and complete the final inspection by calling Building & Safety Department: 951-826-5697
     

    If you have any questions about this rebate program, please call our solar program administrator at 951-826-5475 or e-mail us.


     

    Design Requirements:
    Before installing your PV system, there are a few things to consider. Things like system size, location, shading, tilt and even panel orientation may affect your RPU rebate, so we encourage you to carefully review Riverside’s compliance standards and safety requirements.

    Your photovoltaic system must comply with:

    Rebate amounts are calculated based on system performance in California Energy Commission (CEC) AC watts (not capacity), which is influenced by the factors mentioned above. Riverside Public Utilities calculates system size based on component information from the California Solar Initiative.

    All solar energy installations require a production meter socket installed after the inverter; RPU does not accept ring-less sockets or panels (please see the city’s Interconnection Standards). The meter for this socket will be installed, owned, and operated by Riverside Public Utilities.

    Under this program, PV systems are primarily intended to offset part or all of the customer’s electricity demand. Systems should be sized to produce no more than 120% of the customer’s average annual energy consumption (kWh) as shown on the RPU billing record for the previous two years leading up to the issuance of the rebate reservation. If the customer’s account history is shorter than two years, the formula of 2 watts per square foot of building space can be used.



     

    Inspections:
    After your PV system has been installed, you’ll need to schedule an inspection with the City of Riverside Building and Safety Department. This inspection is generally fast and easy, and helps ensure that your PV system has been properly installed and functions as efficiently as possible.


    Once your PV system has been inspected and approved, your rebate application will be processed and your new PV production meter and electric revenue meter will be installed. To schedule your inspection, call Building & Safety at 951-826-5697. 


     

    Net Energy Metering:
    At times, your PV system may generate more energy than you need. During these periods, the extra electricity is sent through your utility meter and onto the electric grid for others to use. At the end of the associated billing period, you pay only for your net electricity use. This is called net energy metering (NEM), and it’s another benefit of becoming a solar energy generator. Please keep in mind that you will still be responsible for paying your customer charge, reliability charge, public benefits charge and all associated taxes.

    In order to benefit from net energy metering, RPU will issue a Net Energy Metering Interconnection Agreement for your PV system, which must be completed, signed and submitted to RPU.


    Here are the NEM Agreement requirements:

    •A Customer-Generator is defined as: a residential, small commercial, commercial, industrial, or agricultural customer who uses a solar (photovoltaic) or wind turbine electrical generating facility, or hybrid system of both, with a capacity of not more than 1,000 kilowatts, that is located on the customer's premises, is interconnected and operates in parallel with the utility's transmission and distribution facilities, and is intended primarily to offset part or all of the customer's own electrical requirements on the premises.
    Rule 22 describes the interconnection, operating, and metering requirements in detail for all types of generating facilities, besides NEM, generators which are limited to photovoltaic systems and wind turbines.
    •If you install a photovoltaic system within the City of Riverside’s service area, you will need to get building permits from the city’s Building and Safety Division: 951-826-5697.
    •Riverside Public Utilities’ Energy Delivery Engineering Division (951-826-5489) must approve the interconnection schematic and review the technical specifications on the inverter to verify that it meets safety requirements and Interconnection Standards.
    •Applicants are required to sign and submit two (2) original signed copies of the complete Net Energy Metering Interconnection Agreement to RPU.
    •Applicable rates are detailed in the NEM Rate Schedule.
    •Other costs may be associated with the installation of your PV system.

    For more information on the NEM agreement, Rule 22 or the Interconnection Standards, please contact Energy Delivery Engineering at 951-826-5489.

     



    Energy Compensation Form:
    To receive compensation for the extra electricity your PV system produces, a Surplus Energy Compensation Election Form must also be completed, signed and submitted with the Business Photovoltaic Rebate Program application package.

    Please Note:
    All renewable energy credits (REC), along with all environmental attributes associated with solar installations that have received rebates from Riverside Public Utilities will be the property of RPU. Additionally, customers receiving rebates for business solar installations agree to transfer all rights, titles and interest they have to RECs and environmental attributes to RPU.

     


     

    Frequently Asked Questions:
    If your question isn’t answered here, please call Gerald Buydos, Solar Program Administrator at 951-826-5475 or e-mail us.

    What is a solar electric, or photovoltaic, system?
    Solar electric or photovoltaic (PV) systems use sun’s energy to make electricity.

    Do I have a good site for a PV system?
    Your site must have clear, unobstructed access to the sun. Buildings, trees or other vegetation should not shade your site. South-facing roof exposure is best, but roofs facing east and west may be okay. If a rooftop is not available, your PV system can also be mounted on the ground.

    What is Net Energy Metering?
    At times, your PV system may generate more energy than you need. During these periods, the extra electricity is sent through your utility meter and onto the electric grid for others to use. At the end of the associated billing period, you pay only for your household’s net electricity use. This is called net energy metering (NEM), and it’s another benefit of becoming a solar energy generator. Please keep in mind that you will still be responsible for paying your customer charge, reliability charge, public benefits charge and all associated taxes.

    In order to benefit from net energy metering, RPU will issue a Net Energy Metering Interconnection Agreement for your PV system, which must be completed, signed and submitted to RPU.

    Will my electric bill change?
    Yes, once you become a solar customer of RPU, you will receive two separate bills. One bill will be for your new solar electric account and will show kWh delivered (KWHD), kWh generated (KWHG) and kWh net (KWHN) and track your PV production and credits. Your second bill will include other city services including water, trash, sewer, etc.

    How much does a PV system cost?
    An average PV system can cost $6 to $10 per watt installed. However, this amount may vary greatly depending on the roof structure of the building. If applicant is a tenant or renter, the property owner must sign the application. The application must be submitted within 90 days of the purchase date.

    Are financing programs available?
    The best way to finance a PV system for your business is through a mortgage loan that includes a primary mortgage, secondary mortgage or equity loan, or property tax loan secured by your property. If mortgage financing is not available, consider other sources such as conventional bank loans.

    Learn more about energy efficiency loans.

    How can I find a PV vendor?

    Vendors are listed in the yellow pages of the phonebook. You can also search the California Energy Commission’s website at www.gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov or www.findsolar.com.

     


     

    Helpful Links and Contact Information:
    Riverside Solar Map
    California Energy Commission Installers and Retailers Database
    Better Business Bureau
    www.gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov/Go Solar California
    WRCOG Energy Efficiency Financing
    Guidelines for California’s Solar Electric Incentive Programs (Senate Bill 1)
    •Riverside’s 2009 Senate Bill 1 Annual Report
    •For information about solar at Riverside Public Utilities, please contact:

    • Andrew Markis, Solar Program Coordinator
    • Phone: 951-826-5532
    • Email:  AMarkis@riversideca.gov
    • Griselda Rivera, Rebate Processing
    • Phone: 951-826-5760
    • Email:  GRivera@riversideca.gov
    • Gerald Buydos, Solar Program Administrator
    • Phone: 951-826-5475
    • E-mail: GBuydos@riversideca.gov
    • Address: 3750 University Avenue, 3rd Floor, Riverside, CA 92501

       

     

    Helpful Tips:

    Are you considering installing solar panels at your business? Here are some tips to help you through the decision-making process:

    •All RPU commercial electric customers are eligible for the Business Photovoltaic Rebate Program.
    •The average cost of a completely installed solar energy system in Riverside varies depending on the type of building you occupy. Typical systems are between $6 and $10 per AC watt.
    •Solar energy systems produce more energy if they are oriented in a south-facing direction. If a south-facing position is not possible on your site, the next best orientations are southwest, southeast, west and finally east. Do not install solar electric panels facing north.
    •Solar panels that are placed in shaded areas will produce less energy than panels that are placed in areas with lots of exposure to the sun.


     

    Photovoltaic Program Requirements & Guidelines:


    Before installing a PV system at your business, we encourage you to carefully review these system requirements and guidelines. Understanding these requirements and guidelines will help you avoid running into problems when setting up your PV system and applying for a rebate from RPU.

    If you have any questions about these requirements and guidelines, or would like more information about any aspect of RPU’s Business Photovoltaic (PV) Rebate Program, please call Gerald Buydos, Solar Program Administrator at 951-826-5475 or e-mail us.




    Program Guidelines:

    •Customer must fulfill all program guidelines to be eligible for incentives. Systems must be inspected by the City of Riverside’s Building & Safety Department and RPU’s Customer Engineering Division before a rebate can be issued.
    •If it is determined through inspection that the customer is not in compliance with the requirements of the program, RPU may recover the total rebate amount paid to customer.
    •Rebates totaling up to $500 will automatically be credited to the customer’s account.
    •RPU does not endorse or recommend specific products or dealers nor does it guarantee material or workmanship; acceptance of such is the customer’s responsibility.
    •A copy of the dated sales receipt, invoice or contract must be provided, and is subject to verification. •Project costs include the photovoltaic cells, modules, mounting or tracking structures, wiring, inverters, and utility-required interconnection and metering equipment.
    •Only CEC-certified PV modules and inverters qualify for this program and are subject to approval by RPU. The approved list can be found on the CEC’s website, and can be made available by RPU staff.
    •Qualifying systems must reduce electrical load at the meter site.
    •Systems cannot be sized over 120% of the maximum historical customer usage from the past 24 months.
    •Confirmed reservations are valid for 120 days, in which time customers must obtain a building permit from the Building & Safety Department. Once the building permit is issued, customers have 12 months to construct their PV systems. Failure to comply with these timelines will result in the rebate being relinquished. Reservations cannot be transferred between projects.
    •This rebate program does not cover PV system enlargements that are made after the reservation has been issued.
    •Applicant must submit two (2) completed and signed Net Energy Metering Interconnection Agreements and a completed and signed Surplus Energy Compensation Election Form to RPU prior to final connection to the grid and before any incentive can be paid.
    •All existing commercial customers are required to have a Commercial Energy Profile of their existing business conducted before PV incentives are paid. To show proof of the audit, complete the online profile, print the free downloadable report and submit it to RPU.
    •Production meters are required for all solar installations.
    •Applicant must comply with all Planning, Building & Safety, and Electric Plan Check procedures.
    •Per Riverside Public Utility Rule 13, each solar customer must provide and maintain unobstructed access to the electric meters, along with pet-free access for RPU employees to obtain monthly meter readings.
    •Contractors must have one of the following licenses:
    •Electrical C10
    •Engineering A
    •Solar Specialty C46
    •Financed systems must have a signed contract and proof of payments.
    •Incentive will be paid to the electric customer of record only. An exception will be made if the tenant or renter provides proof of purchase.
    •This program is available to RPU electric customers. If applicant is a tenant or renter, the property owner must sign the application.
    •Reservation numbers will not be given for incomplete applications. Incentive funds are issued on a first-come, first-served basis.
    •Our Business Photovoltaic Rebate Program is designed to be in compliance with California Senate Bill 1 (Million Solar Roofs Initiative).
    •RPU reserves the right to modify or discontinue this program without prior notice.
     

     
    What Do I Need To Do?
    Select the rebate programs of which you would like to participate:
    Business Photovoltaic Incentives
    Complete the application including all applicable receipts and mail to:
    Riverside Public Utilities
    Programs & Services

    3750 University Avenue, 3rd Floor
    Riverside, CA 92501
    Download Application