Solar supporters will stage a live “phone-in” on the steps of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) headquarters during the March 17 virtual meeting, seeking answers about a rooftop solar proceeding that has largely occurred out of public view.
Net metering is not on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting. The commission delayed the decision-making process to review the arguments of both the utilities and solar industry and consider revisions. Some in the solar industry have expressed anxiety that a delay could work against their interests.
“The commission is caught in the middle of a tug-of-war and delay doesn’t necessarily help,” said Brad Heavner, policy director for CALSSA, in a February interview with Solar Power World† “We want to get this done. We want sensible policy to start getting phased in right away.”
For the past year, the CPUC has considered changes to net metering, the state policy that makes rooftop solar more affordable for consumers of all types by compensating them for the excess energy they produce and share with their neighbors. The CPUC’s initial proposed decision, which included a $700 annual tax on rooftop solar and an immediate gutting of the credits solar consumers receive, would have made solar unaffordable for most consumers, especially those in working- and middle-class neighborhoods where solar is growing fastest .
Now, as the CPUC reconsiders rooftop solar changes, solar advocates are calling for transparency in the process and answers to questions on things like how will the CPUC keep solar affordable for all types of consumers, ensure California remains on track for our clean energy and conservation goals, or promote the growth of solar and storage to build a more resilient electric grid.