California residential solar and net metering are in jeopardy if the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Governor Newsom have their way.
Whether you have solar or not, if you live, have a home, or work in California, please read and contact Gov. Newsom as soon as you are able. See below for suggested message to leave for Gov. Newsom. His office number is 916-445-2841. Note: the proposed charges will be retroactive on existing solar users!
The CPUC released their proposed decision on net metering, and it appears that the CPUC has sided with the utilities. This is a terrible proposal and makes no sense when California plans to be carbon neutral by 2045.
The only other utilities that charge solar penalty fees this high are in Wyoming and Alabama.
3) These changes will be retroactive on existing solar users. The current 20-year protection for solar users on “NEM1” and “NEM2” will be reduced to 15 years.
The bottom line: Most middle and working class people will not install solar if these changes go into effect. That would cause the rooftop solar market to significantly contract, putting tens of thousands of jobs on the line.
As expected, the CPUC included items intended to make it seem like they are helping more working class people afford solar. For example, they exempt some low-income people from the solar penalty fee, and also offer a temporary subsidy for ten years (unless you happen to live in SDG&E territory). These items are window-dressing. The CPUC’s “incentive” would only partially offset the other changes, making it on the whole worse for working communities than the status quo.
Groups like CALSSA and Protect Our Communities Foundation and Vote Solar have already laid out how to actually increase solar access in working class communities. The CPUC chose to ignore those substantive proposals.
“My name is _____. I live in ______. I am strongly opposed to the rooftop solar proposal released by your Public Utilities Commission. California should not charge people penalty fees for putting solar panels on their rooftop! If you are serious about helping people control their energy bills, avoid blackouts and fight climate change, you need to encourage MORE people to install rooftop solar. Governor Newsom, this is on you. We are watching what you do next. Thank you.”
More analysis will come in the near future along with more resources to mobilize and take action.