An important aspect of going solar is the relationship between the home’s main electrical panel and the solar system. The home’s electrical panel must be able to handle the capacity of the solar system’s size, otherwise, it will be required to upgrade the panel. With certain homes that go solar, a main panel upgrade may become an obstacle to the installation process. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), since September 2015 has introduced a smart, affordable solution to their customers that need a new main panel when they go solar. Their alternative is a “Renewable Meter Adapter” (RMA) designed to simplfiy the interconnection process and allow their solar system to handle the power output it requires to generate electricity. According to SDG&E, the RMA has helped close to 3,000 solar customers and has saved a cumulative $3 million on their path to go solar.
In San Diego, homes that have been built before 1995 may require electric panel upgrades prior to connection to a solar system. Upgrades include extensive wiring, construction to the surrounding wall with re-stucco work, no electricity in the home for up to 8 hours. Some homes may have electric panels that don’t meet today’s electrical city and utility codes and may even have to be relocated to a different area of the home, which will incur more cost to the property owner. With the RMA device, it makes the solar process much more efficient, hassle free, and affordable. To add, it’s also considered safe by the city and county inspector.
SDG&E is currently accepting orders for the RMA to customers that are switching their homes to solar. What’s great about the RMA option is that is avoids electrical upgrades at a higher cost with no impact to the customer’s property, like stucco repair and re-painting walls.
The RMA can be installed within a 1 hour timeframe. The device will bypass the home’s existing electrical main breaker and bus bar. It will be installed between the meter socket and the revenue meter on the existing service panel. A conduit that’s about 6 feet will carry copper wires connecting the RMA to a disconnect box that is also mounted on the wall near the electrical panel. The RMA will accommodate a solar system that’s 11.5kW in size or smaller. The fee for the device is $1,326 saving the customer a minimum of $700 from a traditional main service panel upgrade. The RMA install will be installed, operated, and maintained by SDG&E through the life of the device.
To request an RMA, SDG&G requires the following:
1. Rule 2 Contract (FORM #106-1202) signed by the Customer of Record
2. Completed RMA Request Form
3. Photograph of the existing electrical panel