California energy consumers may not be aware that traditional utility providers such as PG&E are working hard to undercut the progress of solar energy initiatives in our state. These providers (PG&E, So Cal Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric) proposed that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) charge a $78/month on average fee to solar customers. In addition, their proposal also reduces the value of solar energy exported to the grid by 77%.
Why utility companies are hurting solar
The conflict revolves around NEM (net energy metering). NEM allows building owners with solar on their rooftops to generate energy straight from their house, apartment complex, or office without extra chargers, and send that excess energy back to the grid for a credit on their electric bill. Everyone wins, right? Lower bills for solar customers and more electricity for everyone.
However, when solar panels are producing energy, it means other utility companies don’t have to build transmission lines to develop their own electricity. Since so many customers have installed solar panels since net metering was introduced back in 1995, the CPUC is reviewing compensation to determine if solar energy requires less government subsidies.
The utility companies argue that when solar customers produce excess energy for the grid, they avoid paying the upkeep costs for the grid that non-solar customers pay through part of their retail energy rate. To solve this, they propose increasing fees, decreasing energy credits, and banning customers from moving those credits from month-to-month, essentially creating a monopoly by these energy companies and eliminating most of California’s solar market.
This proposal will destroy California’s solar marketplace
These recommendations by the big utility companies will be detrimental to California consumers in several ways:
It will halt job creation. Currently solar energy employs over 77,000 Californians with good paying jobs that cannot be outsourced or moved overseas. This number is more than the top five utility companies in the state combined.
It will prevent families from accessing the benefits of solar. Currently, over 50% of the rooftop solar market is made up of working-class and middle-class neighborhoods.
It will move us backwards in the battle against climate change. The time has never been more important to look to renewable, green energy sources like solar. Relying on mainstream utility companies will not get us to the future we deserve fast enough. We need clean, local energy sources.
If you’re thinking about solar, invest now before it’s too late
The good news is that if you already have made the investment in solar, or you make the choice to do so before November of 2021, you’ll be able to stay on your current plan for 20 years after your interconnection was finalized. That’s still enough time for you to make the investment and have it pay dividends to both your home energy costs and the global climate. Avoid the chances you’ll have to pay more when you make the commitment to solar today. Contact SunPower by Milholland Electric today to begin the process of going solar!
How you can help save California solar
First, sign the petition to let Gov. Newsom know you support solar initiatives, and request that he stand up to the demands and money grab by utility companies such as PG&E. When he was mayor of San Francisco, Newsom was instrumental in the growth of solar energy. Now, we need his leadership to protect it for the entire state.
Secondly, encourage your organization to join this list of those endorsing this campaign to save California’s solar initiatives.
We need your help to ensure our communities and our climate are protected from this proposal. Visit savecaliforniasolar.com today to help us preserve solar energy in our state!