Rooftop solar remains under attack. We must continue to stand strong and defend our ability to develop and deploy community-based energy resources.
In May 2022, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) released a request for comments on new provisions for the Net Energy Metering (NEM) ruling. This was in response to a powerful public Save California Solar campaign that forced Governor Newsom to instruct the CPUC to revisit the proposed decision.
Unfortunately, the new provisions disregard the outspoken public opposition and represent no more than a re-packaged version of the initial proposed decision:
- Households will be charged a solar tax of $300-600 per year, on average, for generating and consuming their own electricity.
- The credit for surplus energy exported to the grid will be slashed.
- Retroactive charges for existing solar users are still on the table.
The CPUC is viewing rooftop solar as a threat to PG&E and the state’s other monopoly utilities rather than as a value to our communities. It is failing to account for the many community benefits derived from rooftop solar, including energy resiliency, local jobs, and deferring the buildout of long-distance power lines, which saves ratepayers money, protects ecosystems, and prevents wildfires.
Rooftop solar is only one of many technologies that reduce energy consumption from the grid. Penalizing rooftop solar will not solve energy inequities, as the utilities claim. Instead, it will kill rooftop solar and strengthen utility control over our energy system … because let’s be real, increasing their profits is what utility shareholders really care about.
Misinformation continues to be spread by the utilities and the elected officials who are in their pocket. Anti-rooftop solar propaganda is dangerous, as attempts to establish utility lies as facts. In the following short video, Dave Rosenfeld from the Solar Right Alliance debunks the utility propaganda and explains how rooftop solar actually helps all Californians – whether they have rooftop solar or not.
Save Local Solar
Make no mistake. If California communities want the ability to benefit from local solar, we must stand up and defend rooftop solar.
In December 2021, the CPUC released a proposed decision on the successor tariff for the NEM program. It’s no exaggeration: the proposed decision is as bad as it could be.
The California Alliance for Community Energy has been fighting for rooftop solar for years, yet the threat has never been this serious. Below please find links to our efforts, followed by a selection of resources to mount your own actions.
We agree with others: pressure must focus on Governor Newsom — will he be the Governor Who Kills Rooftop Solar?? We cannot let up until the CPUC backs down!
What’s At Stake: The IOUs Win, We Lose
- The Alliance’s Position Paper — “Newsom’s CPUC vs. the People of California” where we call BS on the CPUC putting the utilities’ interests and well-being before that of our communities, January 2022.
- The Avoided Cost Calculator and Why it Matters — debunks this utility-centric tool and its biased assumptions as the foundation for the specious arguments about solar ‘cost shifting’ onto low-income people, October 2021.
- “Don’t Undermine Solar Self-Generation!” – a letter to the CPUC, October 2021.
- Our position on AB 1139, the Utility Profit Grab bill — while ostensibly about NEM, this measure would have enshrined the utilities’ false equity arguments and cost shift claims to place rooftop solar out of reach for most Californians, May 2021.
Alliance Coordinator Al Weinrub speaking out for our communities at the State House, as over 120,000 signatures in support of rooftop solar were delivered to Governor Newsom on December 8, 2021.Photo courtesy of Solar Rights Alliance
Take Action: Resources from Others
Voices in Support of Local Solar
- Fact Sheet explaining how the CPUC’s proposed decision would be bad for all local solar in California, including people who already have rooftop systems. In fact, the decision would hurt lower income households the most.
- The “Save California Solar” campaign website also offers sample texts for calls to the Governor’s Office, tweets and other sample posts to share widely.
- “The Utility Cost Shift Fallacy” white paper, with lots of links to helpful references.
- “Is the California Coalition Fighting Subsidies for Rooftop Solar a Fake Grassroots Group?” Inside Climate News, February 8, 2022.
- “High Equity Stakes in California’s Solar Fight”, by Crystal Huang, Worker Owner of People Power Solar Cooperative and leader of the national Energy Democracy Project; February 1, 2022.
- “Climate Action Santa Monica to the CPUC and Gov. Newsom: Don’t Derail Decarbonization with a Narrow-Minded Policy for Rooftop Solar”, by Amy Butte, Climate Action Santa Monica and Alliance Steering Committee member, Santa Monica Daily Press, January 26, 2022.
- Guest column in the January 17, 2022, NY Times by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger “We Put Solar Panels On 1 Million Roofs in California. Now That Win is Under Threat”.
- “CPUC Proposal to Alter Rooftop Solar Will Hurt Working Families”, Reverend Dr. Ambrose Carroll, Sr., senior pastor, The Church by the Side of the Road, Berkeley; “Green The Church Initiative” and “Coalition for Environmental Equity and Economics”, in the Mercury News, January 13, 2022.
- “Decision on solar metering rules: Utilities vs. rooftop solar customers” by Sam Liccardo, Mayor of San Jose, in CalMatters, December 13, 2021.
- “Power to the People: Why We Need Energy Justice” an article in the Fall 2021 Non-Profit Quarterly by Alliance Coordinator Al Weinrub.