Using Time Wisely: California’s “Option-R” Renewables Program

Julie Milea

If you are responsible for the energy expenses of a company in California, then you know that demand (kW) charges can nearly double your energy costs in the summer months. Fortuitously, an exciting Renewables Program with significant options to lower your demand costs is now available.Southern California Edison (SCE) and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) have created a new rate-based solar incentive called Option-R to lower energy costs and demand charges. The “R” is for RENEWABLE, and the program is exclusively designed to monetarily motivate medium and large businesses to use solar energy to reduce their grid reliance during the summer peak times.With Option-R, California businesses can finally take greater control over their annual energy spending with more predictability and reduced volatility. The Renewables Program will enhance the operating profits of those businesses looking to go solar.The economic benefit for businesses is realized through Option-R’s time-of-use treatment of demand (kW) charges. The Option-R utility rate has ZERO on-peak and mid-peak demand charges, and will also reduce Facilities-Related Demand (FRD) charges considerably.Demand charges are determined by the time of the day and time of the year when overall energy “demand” is highest (e.g. mid-day during summer months). During these “peak” demand periods, businesses are exposed to high demand charges during their normal working hours. Often, these demand charges are hard to control because they are determined by the amount of energy being used in any given 15-minute interval. To avoid some of these charges, businesses rely on curtailing energy usage during “peak” periods, but that can easily disrupt business operations. The Renewables Program will alleviate these operating risks and help control energy costs during peak periods when your company is busiest.Option-R is currently available to businesses operating in California that are seeking profitable ways to reduce energy costs with solar energy. A well-executed solar system installation that utilizes the Option-R Renewables Program will realize an impressive return-on-investment so your business can enjoy the financial benefits of producing and consuming your own clean, renewable electricity.California businesses interested in going solar can contact PowerFlex for a complimentary, no-obligation financial and technical analysis that demonstrated the financial benefits of going solar. For more information, email us at or call us at 888-225-0270.