The Avoided Cost Calculator and Why It Matters (October 2021)

The Avoided Cost Calculator (ACC) is a CPUC creation embedded deep within the debate about the “value of rooftop solar” and Net Metering policy in California.

This tool calculates the avoided cost to California utilities of each kilowatt-hour (kWh) that the utilities don’t need to provide, which the utilities argue should be the value to our communities of self-generation, rooftop solar, energy efficiency measures, and indeed anything–including local storage–that reduces the electrical energy the utilities must provide. Hence the ACC is used to influence policy debates about the value of these distributed resources.

The Alliance looked “under the hood” of this tool, to investigate WHY–in the midst of the climate emergency–the purported “value” of on-site solar generation could possibly be declining, as the utilities argue. This short paper examines the deeply flawed methods and assumptions built into the CPUC’s ACC.

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