STATEMENT: Public Utilities Commission vote will stifle rooftop solar growth for schools, farms and multifamily buildings

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California slashes solar incentives for properties with multiple electric meters, threatening progress toward clean energy goals

LOS ANGELES — The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved a ‘proposed decision’ on Thursday that will reduce incentives to install rooftop solar panels. 

The CPUC’s decision reduces the compensation building owners and tenants receive for excess solar energy provided to the grid, which follows last December’s cuts to solar incentives for single-family residential properties.

It also bars buildings with multiple electric meters (with the exception of residential units) from using solar energy produced on their rooftops to offset utility bills. Instead, these properties will have to sell the energy they generate to utility companies at low rates and buy it right back at higher rates. The decision also prevents owners of multifamily buildings from using the solar to power common areas, including for shared electric vehicle chargers.

To meet its goal of generating 100% of its power from clean energy sources by 2045, California needs to quadruple rooftop solar capacity. Cuts to rooftop solar incentives have shown to result in precipitous drops in rooftop solar adoption.

In response, Environment California’s clean energy advocate, Steven King, released the following statement: 

“Today’s CPUC decision is likely to leave many of California’s prime rooftops barren, with little incentive to install solar panels. Every viable rooftop without solar panels is a missed opportunity to generate renewable energy and cut down on utility bills. 

This week’s National Climate Assessment reminds us of the potentially severe consequences of global warming. The best way to dramatically reduce California’s climate pollution is to go all in on proven, ready-to-deploy solutions like rooftop solar. California can grow solar smartly and quickly by installing it on rooftops, parking lots, and land along highways.

Decision makers should be helping Californians enjoy the benefits of renewable energy in their homes, schools, farms, and businesses, which will also move us closer to our climate goals.”

staff | TPIN

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