173 groups sign letter calling on Newsom, CPUC to save solar

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Clean energy, environmental justice, business and faith leaders request public utility regulators withdraw plans to cut rooftop solar incentives

On Friday, 173 groups submitted a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom and commissioners of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to save rooftop solar in California. 

Last month, the CPUC issued a proposal that would slash rooftop solar incentives in California by 75%. This is a major cut to the state’s bedrock solar incentive program that has helped California lead the nation in solar power. Environmental advocates say the CPUC’s proposed decision, while an improvement on its initial proposal from last year, is still “too extreme” and would discourage further rooftop solar adoption by slashing the credit that new solar customers receive for selling extra solar-generated electricity back to the grid. 

“As we build a clean energy future in California, rooftop solar needs to be a key tool in our toolbox,” said Steven King, Clean Energy Advocate with Environment California. “Rooftop solar is critical to protecting the environment by reducing dirty and dangerous fossil fuel pollution, protecting natural areas and creating a more resilient electricity grid. The CPUC shouldn’t be slashing proven solar incentives at a time when we need to build more clean energy than ever.” 

“The benefits of solar should be available to all Californians,” said Esperanza Vielma, executive director of the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water. “Slashing a successful solar incentive program will put solar out of reach for many Californians, especially our most vulnerable environmental justice communities, and put our environment and health at risk. We need to make going solar easier, not more costly for all Californians.”

“Rooftop solar has propelled California toward our climate goals and energy needs, and driven the state to be the leader in clean energy jobs, empowered millions of customers to go solar, brought in millions of dollars of investments, and balanced the state grid,” said Mary Leslie, President of the Los Angeles Business Council. “The CPUC’s proposal will make achieving the state’s climate goals nearly impossible by making distributed clean energy more expensive and less appealing for the average family to go solar, while putting the resiliency and reliability of our grid at risk.”

The letter calls on Gov. Newsom and the CPUC to defend California’s highly successful solar incentive program from drastic cuts to keep rooftop solar and storage-paired solar growing in California. Signers want to see an alternate proposed decision that fairly compensates solar and solar-plus-storage customers for the true value they add to the grid, more gradually phases out existing solar compensation rates and ensures strong solar incentives going forward that align with California’s climate and clean energy goals. 

The CPUC will vote on its rooftop solar proposal next week on December 15.