Statement: California Public Utilities Commission reopens discussion on rooftop solar

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.— The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has reopened the discussion on changes to the state’s rooftop solar program. It was the first action the CPUC has taken since it shelved a controversial proposed change to the state’s net metering program more than three months ago. 

The ruling requests input on three topics: how to best create a slow and predictable reduction in the credit that solar customers receive for the energy they provide to the grid, non-bypassable charges on gross consumption; and community distributed energy resources. The CPUC indicated comment on these topics will continue until June 24th, delaying any revised decision until after that. 

The joint agency SB100 report indicates that California will need 28.5 GW more rooftop solar capacity to meet the state’s clean energy goals by 2045. That would mean nearly quadrupling the rooftop solar capacity in the state.

In response, Environment California Research & Policy Center State Director Laura Deehan issued the following statement:

“The commission’s line of questioning shows sincere effort to support rooftop solar adoption in the Golden State. Seeking input on how to avoid a sudden cliff in payments to solar owners and how to expand access to solar through community solar projects shows interest in encouraging continued rooftop solar growth in California. 

“I remain concerned that the commission is still open to a solar tax, which should be off the table. A solar tax is unjustified, unfair and threatens a crucial component of our state’s clean energy future. So-called ‘non-bypassable charges on gross consumption’ would mean charging customers based on the energy they create with the solar system they installed on their own roof. This is just another way to package up a solar tax. If we want more Californians to go solar, we should not make it harder or more expensive. Instead, we should be doing everything we can to make going solar easier.”