WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 29, 2016 – (RealEstateRama) — The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) commended the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which today voted 3-2 to continue net metering in California.
“By voting to continue net metering in California, the CPUC is driving a stake in the ground and solidifying its place as America’s leading clean energy state,” said Sean Gallagher, SEIA’s Vice President of State Affairs. “Today’s decision hands Californians a projected $1.6 billion a year and seizes upon a golden opportunity to enable Golden State’s homes, and businesses of all kinds, to choose to go solar.”
California joins Colorado, New York, New Jersey and New Mexico in recently continuing or expanding net metering programs, and acts as an example for other states. Today’s decision builds on recent initiatives by Gov. Jerry Brown and the legislature to slash emissions by 40 percent by 2030 to meet the state’s climate change goals, while increasing renewable energy to 50 percent of the state’s electricity supply.
More than 450,000 electricity customers in California have installed solar systems, increasingly in lower and moderate income areas. Recent research has shown that 65 percent of residential solar is being installed in communities with median incomes below $70,000, up from 49 percent in 2008. Net metering will be key to ensuring this access to clean, affordable reliable electricity continues.
In addition to maintaining net metering, the CPUC decision requires new net metering customers to pay a one-time interconnection fee, pay charges that support public purpose programs on all energy consumed from the grid and be subject to time-of-use rates. In 2019, the Commission will reconsider net metering once changes to residential electricity rates and grid modernization proceedings take full effect.
“The decision to rapidly move solar customers onto mandatory time-of-use rates is going to be difficult because we don’t yet know what those rates will be,” noted Gallagher. “But, we are committed to meeting this challenge and working with the state to achieve its climate and grid modernization goals.”
California’s solar energy industry currently employs over 55,000 people in more than 2,000 companies across the state. For more details about the implications of the California decision, please see our blog entitled “California Makes the Most of Golden State Net Metering Opportunity.”
Celebrating its 42nd anniversary in 2016, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.
Alex Hobson, SEIA Press Officer & Communications Manager, (202) 556-2886