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California Decision Would Gut Net Metering, Harm Clean Energy Progress

Monday, Dec 13 2021

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Press Release

SACRAMENTO, Calif. and WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the California Public Utilities Commission issued a proposal that will create the highest solar tax in the country and tarnish the state’s clean energy legacy. 

The proposal imposes fees on solar and storage customers, making solar and storage more expensive and less accessible to all Californians. The new program will rapidly reduce the bill credit solar customers get for selling electricity back to the grid, adding unpredictability and instability for customers that already have solar. 

This decision will deter many Californians from installing rooftop solar and storage and slow clean energy deployment, leaving the state’s grid vulnerable to blackouts and power outages, and harming California’s ability to reach its clean energy goals.

“Only the wealthiest Californians will be able to afford rooftop solar, shutting out schools, small businesses, and the average family from our clean energy future,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “The only winners today are the utilities, which will make more profits at the expense of their ratepayers. We urge Governor Newsom to act quickly to change this decision — at risk are 65,000 solar jobs, the security of our electricity grid, and the health of California residents and our planet.”

Before today’s decision, about 40% of all rooftop solar installations in California were going to low- or middle-income homes in California, but the new costs and fixed fees are going take away the value proposition for virtually all Californians. This will slow the massive momentum the state was building toward a grid powered by clean energy.

In addition, the proposal will curb the use of energy storage as a part of solar systems, which is an essential part of boosting community resilience and ensuring a stable and reliable electricity grid. 

“The last thing we need is to go backward on our climate goals,” Ms. Hopper said. “California is now on the wrong path, and without intervention, California won’t be able to benefit from federal actions to extend the solar Investment Tax Credit and expand solar adoption.” 

Learn more about California’s solar market.

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About SEIA®: 

The Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA) is leading the transformation to a clean energy economy, creating the framework for solar to achieve 20% of U.S. electricity generation by 2030. SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies and other strategic partners to fight for policies that create jobs in every community and shape fair market rules that promote competition and the growth of reliable, low-cost solar power. Founded in 1974, SEIA is the national trade association for the solar and solar + storage industries, building a comprehensive vision for the Solar+ Decade through research, education and advocacy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org and follow @SEIA on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram

Media Contact: 

Jen Bristol, SEIA's Director of Communications, jbristol@seia.org (202) 556-2886

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