La Quinta Man Denied Solar Panels on his Roof for Being I.I.D. Customer

La Quinta Man Denied Solar Panels on his Roof for Being I.I.D. Customer

Max Rodriguez

When you put a solar system on our roof, you produce power, sometimes more power than you need. Utilities like Edison Electric will buy back that power at the going rate of electricity, but Imperial Irrigation District does not do that, they buy back power from home solar systems at pennies on the dollar and some solar installers said that simply is not fair.

The sales and marketing manager for FreeVolt, Mohamed Kastiro, said they do not do business with I.I.D. customers because the money does not add up.

“When the solar panels are on any excess power will be sent over to the grid and be cashed-out immediately at six and a half cents, instead of being rolled over,” Kastiro said. “Then at night when the solar panels are not working they are selling you back your own power at double the price, so I don’t even know how it is legal.”

And that angers some customers in the I.I.D. district, Keith Woodcox contacted KMIR You Ask We Investigate, upset that he is having a tough time finding a company willing to put solar on his roof, simply because he is an I.I.D. customer.

Woodcox wrote, “I told them my provider was I.I.D. and they said quote, ‘In all good conscience we do not install in their district because unlike Edison Electric, they do not support net metering.”

Some solar companies are not willing to work with I.I.D. customers because their net metering policy changed to net billing.

Kastiro said, “Instead of those credits rolling over for the full value, they are being crashed immediately at six and a half cents I.I.D. is about 11 and a half cents you are pretty much getting half the value every single time you’re sending electricity to the grid.”

But I.I.D. said hold on, that is not fair. They said their customers already get a break because their electricity rates are lower than surrounding utilities like Edison. So naturally, the money they give back to solar customers for excess power is not going to be the same as it is for customers with different utilities.

Marion Champion is the public affairs officers for I.I.D. she said, “We have about 50% less energy rate than what Edison, and so it is a little bit tough to offer Edison programs if you’re not charging Edison rates.”

Champion said they have about 100 solar contractors who work with their customers, but it just some of the larger companies that are rebelling. They said despite the lower compensation I.I.D. gives its customers for solar when they consider the lower rates, customers are still getting a good break compared to utility giants.

The CEO of Renova Solar, Vincent Battaglia, also contacted KMIR News, he said he is re-introducing an ordinance to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, he said that ordinance would force the way I.I.D. reimburses its solar customers for their excess power, the board will take their first look at the ordinance on May 29.