Solar FAQs

Below are answers to commonly asked questions about going solar with TID.

Although we’ve given out all the available rebates for installing solar on your home or business, we have no rules against our customers installing solar if they choose. In fact since we’ve changed to the new Net Metering 2.0, we’ve had over 330 new solar installations totaling more than 34 megawatts installed in our District. Our philosophy is not to put up barriers to our customers installing solar generation as an energy option and the rate of installations in our District is proof that we’ve done just that.

If you’ve been told by a solar salesperson that we don’t allow solar systems to be installed or, that we put up unreasonable restrictions on their installation, shop around. There are plenty of installers actively working in our area.

There are rate schedules for our customers who wish to install solar, wind or other self-generation facilities on their properties of businesses in the Turlock Irrigation District service area. Below are links to the Self-Generation Rates.

These rate schedules all have the same components: Customer, Time-of-Use Energy and Demand charges as well as taxes and fees assessed by government agencies. For many customers these charges are nothing new – they already have Customer, Time-or-Use Energy and Demand Charges on their existing rate schedules. However, for some customers new to the Self-Generation rates, the Demand Charge and Time-of-Use billing will be unfamiliar.

A Demand Charge is a charge for the maximum amount of energy used in any fifteen minute interval within the billing period. TID stands ready to supply as much energy as our customers demand at any given moment. This charge is for TID’s costs associated with the infrastructure necessary to provide reliable demand service to our customers.

“Time-of-Use” or “TOU” simply means that instead of a single rate for energy all day and night, there will be a different rate during two different time blocks each day. The cost and value of power is different in the on-peak block than in the off-peak block each weekday, and customers can choose to use energy in the off-peak block at a substantially lower rate. This could also affect the credit or compensation of customers who generate more electricity than needed depending on which Time-of-Use block the generation occurs within. In summary, TOU recognizes the different value of electricity depending on the time of day.

Customers are able to net their generation with their use each month for the on-peak and off peak periods. If at the end of the billing period the customer has generated more than they used, the customer will be credited TID’s Short Run Marginal Cost for the excess generation. The Short Run Marginal Cost will be published to the District website daily.

When a customer installs solar they will need to pay the additional metering costs required by TID to properly calculate a net bill and track generation. That charge is typically $600 for an average residential system.

That’s called “Aggregation” and is not available under the current self-generation rate schedules.

System sizes are not limited to a customer’s electric load under these rate schedules at this time. Keep in mind, TID reserves the right to perform an interconnection study or may otherwise limit the size of the solar system now or in the future. Contact TID for more information.

Customers that have installed or are considering installing solar should be aware that the District regularly makes changes to rate schedules and these changes could negatively impact your expected return on investment.

A house with a southern-facing roof with little or no shade is the optimal situation for solar generation. East and West facing rooflines can be used as well but, their output will be decreased.

Click here for TID’s Solar Calculator to help determine if your home is a good candidate for solar.

Solar panels or photovoltaics, work by converting sunlight into electrical energy. This happens when certain types of semiconducting materials such as specific types of silicon are exposed to sunlight. When sunlight hits them, they emit small amounts of electric energy. This is called the photovoltaic effect. When linked together, these photovoltaic panels can create enough electricity to power external loads.

We recommend that you get at least three estimates prior to agreeing to install a solar system. The emerging renewables program requires PV systems to be installed by an appropriately licensed California contractor. For PV systems, this requirement means either an “A” (general engineering), B or C-10 (electrical or C-46 (solar) contractor’s license.

As with any project that necessitates hiring a contractor, due diligence is recommended. The California Contractor’s State License Board maintains records of all licensed contractors and their work history. These records can be access at (800)321-2752, or on the board’s website at

Solar systems are made up of PV modules which are commonly referred to as Solar Panels, racking to attach the panels to a sub-structure like your home’s roof, an inverter to convert the DC charge produced by the solar panels to AC and wiring to connect the panels to the electric meter.

Most systems have a warranty of 20 years. The average system degrades in output by approximately 1% per year. So, you can expect that your system which originally may have produced 1,000 watts of electricity when new will produce just 800 watts 20 years from now.

No. Solar pool heaters use a different process to heat water. Solar water heating systems contain solar collectors that either heat the water directly or, heat a “working fluid” that then is used to heat the water. This process is called a solar thermal system. Solar thermal systems and photovoltaic systems do not share any components. Some people who install solar will switch their gas-fired water heater to an electric model in order to capitalize on the energy generated from their system.

There is very little maintenance required for your home solar system. Your solar contractor can provide you with tips to keep your system operating at its best.

Solar contractors have created mounting systems for most commonly used roofing systems.

Newer mounting systems have been improved to be more resistant to leaks. You should ask your contractor how the system will be mounted and the attachments sealed against leaks.

The potential savings will depend on several factors, including your current utility rate structure, the size of the solar system you install and the amount of sunshine your system will receive. Your solar installer should be able to provide you with an estimate based on those and other factors.

Several factors will influence the size of the solar system you need. Determining your present electricity needs is a first step in sizing your solar system. You should conduct an energy efficiency survey of your home or business before you determine the size of the system- by installing energy efficiency measures, you’ll require less energy and could save thousands of dollars on panels.

Your solar electric system is designed to shut down immediately for safety reasons, unless it includes a battery storage system.

Yes. You will probably need to obtain a permit from the city or county building department, and may be required to purchase a building permit and/or electrical permit to legally begin installation. A solar installer should be able to assist you with local permitting issues.

For even more information click here.

For even more information click here.

Have more questions or need some help?

Click here to contact us online.
TID Alert

Receive Notifications from TID Alert

TID Alert – get emergency messages straight to your inbox or cell phone. Click here to learn more. 

The Wire Newsletter

The Wire  Customer Newsletter

With information about rebates, special programs, energy savings tips, invitations to special events and more, The Wire is one publication electric service customers don’t want to miss. Delivered quarterly with your TID bill, we bring The Wire directly to your mailbox. Click here to read the latest issue.

Save Energy & Money

Save Energy & Money

Save energy and money with TID’s energy efficiency rebate programs. From light bulbs and appliances, to shade trees, sunscreens and commercial rebates, there’s sure to be a program to help you reduce your energy bill. Click here and start saving today.