California cuts solar energy incentives for homeowners

A solar contractor installs LG Electronics solar panels on a home in Hayward, California, USA, Tuesday, February 8, 2022.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday passed a proposal to cut the compensation offered to homes for excess electricity that rooftop solar panels feed into the grid.

Utilities and consumer groups argue that incentive payments unfairly favor wealthy consumers and hurt poor, low-income households. Supporters say lowering compensation would slow down solar installations and thwart the state’s goal of tackling climate change.

The proposal, announced last month by California’s utility regulator, Change the net metering policy by paying solar owners for additional power at a lower rate determined by the cost the utility company must spend to purchase clean power from another source. The solar industry says the plan will reduce its average payment rate to its customers by 75%.

Today’s unanimous vote by a five-member committee was monitored nationally as California is widely seen as a leader in building renewable energy. The ramifications of today’s decision extend across states and could affect the solar industry across the country, especially companies in the residential solar space. Sunrun, sun power, SannovaWhen Tesla.

More than 1.5 million residential, commercial and other utility customers in California have installed solar panels on their rooftops. Together, the Public Utilities Commission estimates that these facilities can produce 12 gigawatts of electricity.

The proposal will not impact existing rooftop solar customers, maintain current coverage rates, and encourage consumers to install batteries in their solar panels.

Affordable Clean Energy For All, a California utility-funded nonprofit, argued that rooftop solar programs are outdated and utilities must pass on the cost of subsidies, arguing that solar It raises bills for millions of customers who do not install power generation. I can’t pay my electricity bill.

However, solar companies argue that an existing net metering system is needed to encourage people to opt for rooftop solar.

California’s solar market could halve by 2024 due to changes to the state’s solar incentive program, according to a report released earlier this year by energy research firm Wood Mackenzie.

Laura Deehan, state director of the California Department of the Environment, said after the vote, “This erroneous decision to underestimate the many benefits of solar for all Californians dims the light of solar growth in the Golden State. right.

Roger Lynn, an attorney for the Center for Biodiversity’s Energy Justice Program, said in a statement that the commission “has taken a step back, widening the gap between those who can afford solar power and those who cannot.” ‘ said.

“This is an insult to low-income communities that have been hit first and worst by the climate crisis, and we will do everything in our power to persuade the Commission to fix the serious flaws in its proposal,” Lin said. Stated.

California, which is suffering from wildfires and droughts caused by climate change, has set a goal of moving to 100% renewable energy by 2045. California cuts solar energy incentives for homeowners

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