California's investor-owned utilities(IOUs) have launched an attack to undermine rooftop solar through their proposals for residential rate structure, and for the new net metering program. IOUs want to impose a fixed charge on solar customers only, limit compensation for energy exported to the grid through net metering, and shift the "true-up" cycle for net metering customers from yearly to monthly. These proposals would effectively make it impossible for customers to come close to "zero-ing out' their monthly bills. California has over 6GW(rooftop and utility-scale) of solar PV installed--we need to protect future growth of rooftop solar.
Homeowners and businesses with rooftop solar are paid for the energy they generate through a process known as net metering, in which they receive credits for the energy they export to the grid that cancel out the cost of the electricity they use at other times. With a large enough solar array, homeowners and businesses can have "net zero" energy use, and pay only small fees for their electric meters. California's net metering program is set to expire in 2017, and the CPUC is currently developing the next version of the program and taking input from stakeholders: the utilities, business groups, the solar industry, and some activist groups.
The utilities have proposed a new version of net metering under which homeowners with solar would be paid much less for the energy they export to the grid than what we pay for the energy they use, which would make it almost impossible to go "net zero." The utilities also want to change the "true-up cycle" for net metered customers from monthly to yearly, taking away the ability of the extra solar energy produced in the summer to "cancel out" energy used in the winter. The utilities also want to impose fixed charges for solar companies only!
For more information on net metering and the utilities' proposals: blog post from Alison Seel, attorney for the Sierra Club working on the net metering proceeding. Whether or not you can attend the rally, make sure you sign this petition to the CPUC to support rooftop solar.
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