Solar is currently the most affordable and attainable it has ever been. California has been a great state to go solar in, especially with its competitive incentives and ample sunshine. However, in 2021 California utilities tried to deprive Californians of a significant solar benefit: net metering. Net metering in California is one of the greatest benefits to California solar homeowners. If California utilities succeeded at reducing net metering rates or canceling it altogether, it could have made solar five times more expensive than it is today. Current solar homeowners would not be affected yet, but future solar system owners would. They would be deprived of net metering. Eliminating this benefit stunt solar energy growth and make the fight against climate change that much harder. There is a lot at stake, but luckily you have the power to help protect net metering and solar.
What is net metering, and why is it important?
Net metering is essentially an opportunity to save with your solar system. When your solar system produces more than enough energy to power your home, it sends the excess back to the grid. Other homeowners can then use this electricity to power their homes. In return, your utility company pays you for that electricity at retail value in the form of a bill credit. You are essentially selling your solar energy! It is a great way to offset your energy consumption, lower your monthly energy bill, and help supply green energy to the grid. This arrangement between homeowners and utility companies is mutually beneficial, but utility companies were rallying against it because they want to increase their profits.
AB 1139 is dead … for now.
AB 1139, the Utility Profit Grab, was officially put in the “inactive file” today. That means it is officially defeated for the remainder of the year. And it’s all thanks to people like you who made calls, rallied, and fought to keep solar safe in California. A heartfelt thank you goes out to all who helped make a difference. The contents of the bill could resurface later this summer in the form of another bill. The fight to save net metering is far from over. Please, if you haven’t already, sign the petition to Governor Newsom and the CPUC to defend net metering in California.
Solar benefits everyone
Making solar inaccessible is a major mistake. Solar helps generate clean, renewable energy and prevents the need for major grid infrastructure, saving taxpayers money. Even if you don’t personally have solar, you are still benefiting from it! If you do decide to invest in solar, you may see even more benefits. Homeowners can enjoy tax benefits, lower energy bills, and even increased home values. Not to mention one of the biggest reasons many go solar is to save the environment. Every home that goes solar contributes to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that pollute the atmosphere and our communities. Solar may actually be one of our biggest weapons against the climate crisis. According to a study by Vibrant Clean Energy, U.S. taxpayers could save between $301 to $473 billion over the next thirty years if green energy continues to grow. California rooftop solar currently produces nearly 13 billion kWh of clean energy per year. That means 5 million metric tons of CO2 less in annual emissions. If utilities are able to reduce the solar market in California, they would also be eliminating many jobs. Every megawatt of solar energy built supports sixty full-time jobs. In 2019 alone, California built over 1,200 megawatts of local solar!
What was at stake
There were a few things AB 1139 proposed. Eliminating net metering in California would greatly hurt the solar market. Current solar owners may still be able to benefit from current net metering programs, but this could change. Future solar owners would no longer be eligible for net metering. According to Save California Solar, California utilities were also lobbying to impose a monthly fee to new solar owners of up to $80, just for having solar! Utilities were trying to make solar inaccessible and expensive by imposing the following changes:
- Imposing a monthly fee of up to $80 for solar homeowners
- Reducing solar savings by 50-75% by eliminating net metering
- Removing the 20-year grandfathering for existing solar owners, ruining their investment
- Creating uncertainty of the solar market in California
What you can do to help save net metering in California
Saving the solar industry in California is crucial. Solar truly is an investment in the economic growth of the state and local communities. Not only does solar help the environment, but it saves taxpayers* and homeowners money. It is crucial to defend net metering in California and defend solar. To do so, you can sign the petition by Save California Solar to ask Governor Newsom to step in and strengthen net metering and make solar and batteries more affordable and accessible. We also encourage you to sign up for online learnings to learn more about solar and what you can do to be a solar advocate! Help save solar in California and fight against the climate crisis.