Environment California submits letter on behalf of 173 groups calling on Gov. Newsom, CPUC to save solar

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On Friday, December 9, Environment California submitted a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom and commissioners of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to save rooftop solar in California. The letter is in response to a CPUC proposal that would slash rooftop solar incentives in California by 75%, risking the continued growth of clean energy in the state. The text of the letter is included below:


Dear Members of the California Public Utilities Commission (cc: Governor Newsom)

California set out to be a national leader in clean energy in 2006 with the goal of putting solar on one million rooftops. The state displayed its leadership once again in 2018 by committing to 100% clean electricity, and also in 2022 by setting bold interim targets to get there. However, California’s position as a national clean energy leader is at risk if the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) newest proposed decision on net energy metering (NEM) is adopted. As climate, clean energy, conservation, faith, and environmental justice leaders from across the country, we urge you to defend California’s highly successful solar incentive program by directing the CPUC to issue an alternate proposed decision.

The proposal put forth by the CPUC would discourage Californians from investing in solar panels by slashing the subsidies they would receive by 75%, making it more expensive to go solar at a time when we should be accelerating our shift to clean energy. While this proposal is a modest improvement upon the CPUC’s previous proposed decision, it is still too extreme. The state should encourage more adoption of rooftop solar, not less. If adopted in its current form, this proposal would disincentivize consumer adoption of the very technologies that will enable California to achieve its greenhouse gas reduction plans and grid resiliency in the face of ongoing blackouts and public safety power shutoffs.

History shows that when drastic cuts are made to NEM programs, people stop putting panels on their rooftops. Nevada’s January 2016 cut to NEM compensation was followed by a 47% reduction in residential solar installations over the next year (compared with the 12 months preceding the change). The September 2017 restoration of net metering was followed by an increase in solar adoption that eventually led residential rooftop solar adoption to return to its earlier level.

In California, the Imperial Irrigation District abandoned net metering in July 2016, causing residential solar installations to fall from a peak of more than 11 MW per year to less than 2 MW annually two years later – a decline of 88%.

Rooftop solar is key to California’s clean energy transition, and we should be speeding up our progress. Under existing policies rooftop solar has become increasingly accessible for low- and middle-income families in the last decade, according to data from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. This trend towards more solar accessibility across income levels, however, will not continue if it becomes more expensive to go solar under the new CPUC proposal.

Now is not the time for California to backslide. California’s electricity grid was severely strained during September’s heat wave, and we continue to watch the climate emergency accelerate with each additional wildfire, day of extreme heat, and year of drought. Rooftop solar, especially when paired with battery storage, is critical to protecting the environment by reducing dirty and dangerous fossil fuel pollution, protecting fragile habitats and natural areas, and creating a more resilient electricity grid.

California cannot help lead the nation to a 100% clean energy future without empowering its 40 million residents and businesses to put solar panels on their rooftops and batteries in their homes and buildings.

We urge the CPUC to issue an alternate proposed decision that allows rooftop solar and solar paired with battery storage to continue to grow. The alternate proposed decision should fairly compensate solar and solar plus storage customers for the true value that they are adding to the grid, more gradually phase out existing solar compensation rates, and ensure strong solar incentives going forward that align with our climate and clean energy goals.



Steven King, Environment California

Monica Embrey, Sierra Club California

Liz Robinson, Philadelphia Solar Energy Association

Laura Neish, 350 Bay Area

Jennifer Tanner, Indivisible CA Green Team

Caroline Henderson, Greenpeace

Glen Brand, Solar United Neighbors

Roger Lin, Center for Biological Diversity

Allis Druffel, California Interfaith Power and Light

Nick Jensen, California Native Plant Society

Mary Brooks, Mountain Progressives

Gerald Meral, Natural Heritage Institute

Emily Brandt, San Joaquin Valley Democratic Club

Pauline Seales, Santa Cruz Climate Action Network

Yvonne Elkin, Indivisible Resistance San Diego

Jack Eidt, SoCal 350 Climate Action

Janey Robinson, Indivisible Media City

Eileen Austen, East Valley Indivisibles

Jan Dietrick, 350 Ventura County Climate Hub

Jill ZamEk, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace

Jill ZamEk, Mothers for Peace

Eric Brooks, Californians for Energy Choice

Kristine Johnson, St. Mary’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church

Katie Ricklefs, Democratic Party of Contra Costa County

Lani Faulkner, Equity Transit

Magi Amma, Santa Cruz for Bernie

Magi Amma, The Climate Alliance of Santa Cruz County

Linda Seeley, Biodiversity First!

Nancy Macy, Valley Women’s Club Environmental Committee for the SLV

Jed Pauker, Venice Resistance

Joyce Lane, San Diego 350

Lynda Marin, Citizens Climate Lobby Santa Cruz

Suzanne Hume, CleanEarth4Kids.org

Ellie Cohen, The Climate Center

Michelle Merrill, Novasutras 

Tom Benthin, Indivisible Sonoma County

Genevieve Guenther, End Climate Silence

Dennis Arp, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, SoCal Tri-Counties Chapter

Robert Gould, MD, San Francisco Bay Physicians for Social Responsibility 

Kenneth Unger, Indivisible San Pedro

Andy Carman, Environteers.org

Bill Allayaud, Environmental Working Group

Susan Morgan, Indivisible Marin

Janet Cox, Climate Action California

Cheryl Auger, Ban SUP

Dr. Rev Ambrose Carroll, Coalition for Environmental Equity and Economics

Dr. Rev Ambrose Carroll, Green the Church

Francisco Moreno, COFEM

Haley Ehlers, Climate First: Replacing Oil and Gas

Esperanza Vielma, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water 

Mary Leslie, Los Angeles Business Council

Willow Katz, End Solitary Santa Cruz County

Lisa Swanson, Climate Reality Project Orange County Chapter

Jenn Engstrom, CALPIRG

Clara Castronovo, CALPIRG Students

Debbie Mytels, Peninsula Interfaith Climate Action

Katie Huffling, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments

Sam Ricketts, Evergreen Action

Mikey Knab, Climate Action Campaign

Maryam Dallawar, Sunrise Movement Orange County

Lucero Sanchez, San Diego Coastkeeper

Harry Wang, Physicians for Social Responsibility Sacramento

Tara Hammond, Hammond Climate Solutions Foundation

Tara Hammond, San Diego Climate Hub

Karinna Gonzalez, Hammond Climate Solutions

Adam Aron, Green New Deal at UC San Diego

Marilyn Bruno, Aequor Inc.

Stephen Wheeler, Fossil Free UCD

Ector Olivares, Catholic Charities of Stockton

Rebecca Emigh, CANUCLA

Jay Buys, Visceral

Karen Nelson, Climate Reality, Silicon Valley

Marian Sedio, North County Climate Change Alliance

Lori Saldana, Protect Our Communities Foundation

Cherry Robinson, Climate Reality Project San Diego

Derede Arthur, UCSC Climate Coalition

Michael Thaller, Progressive Democrats of America- California

Sonja Robinson, Sustainable Urban Network

Scott Borden, Emerald Blue LCC

Michael J. Painter, Californians for Western Wilderness

Norma Alcal, California Democratic Council

Dave Shukla, Long Beach Alliance for Clean Energy

Mark Carrel, Breathe Southern California

Peter Sloan, SanDiego350

Thomas Wheeler, Environmental Protection Information Center

Bart Ziegler, Samuel Lawrence Foundation

Eileen Mitro, Climate Action Mendocino

Kevin Hamilton, Central California Asthma Collaborative

Johanna Neumann, Environment America

Tara Barauskas, Climate Reality Los Angeles

Stephanie Doyle, Vote Solar

Patrick Kelly-Fisher, Environmental Action

Liat Meitzenheimer, Fresh Air Vallejo

Andrew Truman Kim, Innovation & Sustainability PAC

Amy Woodsen, Indivisible Westside LA

Micah Perlin, California Climate Voters

Gary Ding, Silicon Valley Youth Climate Action

Anita Ghazarian, Indivisible Alta Pasadena

Rebecca Elliot, Indivisible San Jose

Ruth Richardson, Rooted in Resistance -Indivisible

Adriene Couter, Indivisible Ventura

Tina Cahill, Indivisible Sacramento

Darlene Patrick, Indivisible Stanislaus

James William, San Joaquin Valley Democratic Club

Jennifer Levin, Hang Out Do Good

Sherry Lear, 350 South Bay LA

Tama Becker-Varano, Change Begins With Me

Francesca Wander, Indivisible San Francisco

Michelle Fowle, The Resistance Indivisible Northridge

Mary Perner, Livermore Indivisible 

Angela Marshall, Indivisible Santa Cruz County

Doug Bender, Indivisible South Bay LA

Ogie Strogatz, Indivisible Resisters Walnut Creek

Ogie Strogatz, 350 Contra Costa Action 

Jessica Craven, Indivisible CA-34 Womens Feminists In Action

Janeen Pederson, Stand Strong LA Indivisible 

Wayne Morgan, The Climate Reality Project, Ventura County Chapter

Linda Brown, Napa Climate Now 

Dorothy Reik, Progressive Democrats of Santa Monica Mountains

Alan Weiner, 350 Conejo Valley

Indivisible East Bay Governance Committee 

Karla Albright, Together We Will Indivisible Los Gatos

Sanford Krasner, Citizens Climate Lobby, Pasadena Foothills Chapter 

Jim Gallagher Chino Valley Democrats

Rose Ann Witt, Conejo Climate Coalition 

John Mattes, Hillcrest Indivisible 

Merrill Berge, Camarillo Sustainable Growth

Ben Schwartz, Clean Coalition

Kevin Emmerich, Basin and Range Watch

Laura Cunningham, Western Watersheds Project

Amar Shergill, California Democratic Party Progressive Caucus

Leah Redwood, Extinction Rebellion SF Bay

Carol Coyote Cook, Our Revolution East Bay

Susan George, Progressive Zionists of America

Bonnie Hamilton, Climate Reality Bay Area Chapter

Igor Traub, Alameda County Democratic Party

Igor Traub, California Democratic Party Environmental Caucus

Mari Perez-Ruiz, CADEM Renters Council

Paola Laverde, Berkeley Tenants Union

Nancy Treviño, Alianza Americas/Presente.org

Keith Umemoto, California Alliance for Retired Americans

Jose Torre-Bueno, Center for Community Energy

Doug Jones, SEIU-UHW

Chirag Guvantbhai Bhakta, Food and Water Watch

Eric Veium, SLO Climate Coalition

Alice Sung, Greenbank Associates

Silke Valentine, 350Marin

Barbara Stebbins, California Alliance for Community Energy

Cheryl Weiden, 350 Silicon Valley

Paula Bauer, United Democrats of Southern Solano County

Jessica Mitchell, Ecology Center

Matt Leonard, Oil and Gas Action Network

Raj Fadadu, Environmental Health Working Group

Annie Stuart, 350 Petaluma

Bailey Henderson, Office of the ASUC External Affairs Vice President

RL Miller, Climate Hawks Vote

Nicky Gott, Sunrise Bay Area

Maureen Forney, NorCal Broads

Margaret Meyncke, SoCal Broads

Gary Gerber, Sun Light & Power

Christine Granger, Cool Davis

Linda Currie, Transition Berkeley

Russ Speer, Water Holistic West, LLC

Melodie Aduja, Environmental Caucus, Democratic Party of Hawaii

Gopal Shanker, Récolte Energy

Ash Lauth, Action for the Climate Emergency

Pamela Richart, Eco-Justice Collaborative

Lynne Plambeck, Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment (SCOPE)

Pamela Drake, Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club

Emma Martin, The Center for Independent Living, Inc.

Jessica Tovar, Local Clean Energy Alliance

Lynda Deschambault, Contra Costa County Climate Leaders

Kelly Herbinson, Mojave Desert Land Trust


Steven King

Clean Energy Advocate, Environment California

Steven leads Environment California’s campaigns to increase clean, renewable energy throughout the Golden State, spearheading efforts to transition away from dangerous fossil fuels and address climate change. Steven lives in Los Angeles where he enjoys spending time outdoors, watching his favorite L.A. sports teams, and playing the trombone.

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