SAN FRANCISCO, CA — In a big win for solar energy, today the California Public Utilities Commission voted to extend the state’s keystone rooftop solar program, rejecting a high-profile lobbying push by the state’s largest and most powerful utility companies.
At issue is California’s net metering program, which allows rooftop solar owners to connect to the electricity grid and deliver any excess power they generate to other electric customers. Studies show that this arrangement results in net benefits to the grid, such as reduced capital investment costs, avoided energy costs, and reduced environmental compliance costs.
Utilities have long claimed otherwise, however, and have waged campaigns to raise fees for rooftop solar owners in Nevada, Arizona, and Wisconsin, and other states around the country. In California, they had worked to discontinue the program entirely.
“Today will shine bright in California history, bringing cleaner air, more local jobs and a more secure energy future for all Californians,” said Michelle Kinman, clean energy advocate for Environment California. “We applaud the CPUC for listening to the outpouring of support from Californians all over the state to protect net metering and uphold Governor Brown’s vision for climate and clean power leadership.”
“Utilities should be encouraging more people to go solar, not fewer,” said Bret Fanshaw, coordinator for Environment America’s Solar Program. “That’s why we’re delighted that California leaders didn’t bow to special interests today and instead are protecting this critical program to support rooftop solar. State leaders around the country should follow California’s example and strengthen programs that ensure that every family, business, and community that wants to go solar, can go solar.”