A roundup of home and garden tips and events on the Midpeninsula, including rooftop solar changes and an orchid workshop.
ROOFTOP SOLAR CHANGES ... If you live in Palo Alto and are considering rooftop solar, the deadline is approaching for the end of the Net Energy Metering program. This gives customers with solar power on their homes a special billing arrangement for electricity generated by their rooftop systems. The city plans to transition to a different program once it reaches its 10.8-megawatt cap for the current program, which is expected to happen this month. Under the newer program, customers would still receive a credit for hourly electricity exported to the grid but at a different rate. To ensure that all customers evaluating solar can apply for the city's NEM program this year the city utilities staff is recommending that City Council extend NEM program eligibility to all solar applicants through Dec. 31. In addition, the city is planning to extend the program's window within which customers must complete their solar project to 12 months. The Palo Alto City Council will review these recommendations at its Dec. 11 meeting. If approved, the program rule changes will take effect on Tuesday, Dec. 12. For more information, go to cityofpaloalto.org/solar or cityofpaloalto.org/nemreservation.
GROW ORCHIDS ... These beauties can be grown here, with a bit of knowledge and TLC. Lyngso Garden Materials will offer a clinic on growing orchids on the coast and in the San Francisco area on Saturday, Dec. 9, from 10 a.m. to noon. Participants will get to know cool-growing orchids, such as masdevallia and cymbidiums, as well as everyone's favorite indoor orchid, the Phaelaenopsis. Discover how to successfully re-pot, water and feed orchids and get them to bloom again, as well as ways to deal with common pests and diseases. Master Gardener Lisa Erdos, who is leading the clinic, assists San Francisco seniors in gardening and growing orchids at San Francisco's 30th Street Senior Center and the St. Francis of Assisi Senior Housing Community. Lyngso is located at 345 Shoreway Road, San Carlos. To register, go to lyngsogarden.com