PG&E customers who go solar face new fees

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. passed a renewable energy milestone Thursday when for the first time, rooftop solar panels on homes and businesses could produce 5 percent of the enormous utility’s electricity.

And at that moment, the rules governing new rooftop solar installations in PG&E’s vast territory changed.

Any PG&E customer hooking up a new home solar array must now pay a one-time $145 interconnection fee not faced by prior generations of solar homeowners.

They’ll also pay a new monthly charge — estimated to add 5 percent to their electricity bills — that will help PG&E cover such costs as subsidizing utility bills for low-income families. And they’ll have to switch to “time of use” electricity rates, which charge different prices for electricity at different times of day.

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