Last week (Aug. 27) the Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) launched a statewide campaign in California, calling on California utilities to explain why they’ve taken anti-solar—particularly anti-rooftop solar—stances. The new campaign comes as the state’s utilities are filing for changes to how they reimburse customers with rooftop solar power for the electricity they generate and put back on the grid.
California undoubtedly has more solar power installed than any other state in the U.S. It also has more rooftop solar power installed than any other state. For instance, Southern California Edison (SCE) revealed early in August that it “Has more than 125,000 rooftop solar systems installed in its territory, totaling nearly 600 megawatts.”Likewise Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) said it has 175,000 rooftop solar systems in its service territory. That utility wants to cut the amount it pays for net-metered power to 10 cents per kilowatt hour from 17 cents per kilowatt hour and add a service charge that solar customers must pay.
California has more solar energy generation for a number of reasons. It has more residents than any other state, high electric rates and it has one of the highest state requirements for solar energy. Utilities in the state have added and continue to add in more solar power but they’re trying to install large-scale solar plants and trying to reduce the amount of new rooftop solar power.
Case in point, in the same post from SCE mentioned above, the utility was defending its recent proposal to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). It and other utilities recently submitted updated proposals for their plans to add in more electric generation, including solar power. The measures they are proposing would gut gut their net-metering requirements—the amount they pay for the electricity that homes and small businesses generate—and/or would add payments that customers with solar would have to pay for their use of the—in excess of those payments they already make for such maintenance.
TASC charges that utilities, including PG&E, SCE and SDG&E are pushing for such changes and spending a lot of money to do so. “These same utilities are running misleading TV commercials, ad campaigns and blog posts to greenwash their anti-solar position,” the organization said.
“The utilities’ position on solar is so politically toxic that they are spending millions of dollars to hide that position from the public,” said TASC co-chairman Bryan Miller. “They owe their customers better than spending massive amounts of money on deceptive ad campaigns while simultaneously asking regulators to kill rooftop solar.”
TASC is trying to use humor in an attempt to: “Show the outrageousness of the utilities’ proposals.” It uses a Monopoly-like character they dubbed ‘Mr. Utility’ and its plans to use the campaign throughout the CPUC decision process. In addition, TASC and the state’s solar industry organization California Solar Energy Industries Association (CalSEIA) have launched letter writing campaigns to state policymakers to support net-metering in the state. California residents can write letters to their legislators by clicking on this link: Support Rooftop Solar in California.Tweet