Update (May 24, 2012): Today the CPUC voted unanimously to give more Californians access to net metering. Our thanks to the 60,000 folks who sent messages to the CPUC in support of this action.
Update (May 15, 2012): we’ve added an address at the bottom for you to write to the CPUC and urge it to adopt the new proposal.
California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) chair Michael Peevey has put forward a proposal that would boost use of renewable energy by homeowners and businesses, and would lower energy costs for all ratepayers.
Net-metering is a billing arrangement that allows utility customers with their own renewable-energy systems (such as solar panels) to receive credits on their bills for the excess power they generate and put back on the grid.
California law places a cap on the amount of net-metering that utilities must make available to customers. The law sets the cap at “5 percent of aggregate customer peak demand”, but does not specify how to calculate that number. Utilities are using a restrictive methodology that allows almost 50%-less net-metered solar and renewable energy than would otherwise be allowed. Peevey’s proposed decision would clarify that utilities should use the calculation methodology that results in more Californians having access to the energy-bill saving benefits of net metering.
“When we crafted California’s original net-metering law, the goal was maximize the amount of clean distributed energy on the grid,” said former Assemblymember Fred Keeley, author of California’s net-metering law “By proposing this methodology, the CPUC is complying with the original legislative intent and helping California lead the way toward a clean-energy economy.”
“This decision is good for our health, good for our wallets, and great news for the California workers who rely on solar-installation jobs to feed their families,” said Jim Metropulos, senior advocate with Sierra Club California. ”Now, more California families who want to use the free solar power that falls on their roofs to lower their energy bills can do so, and benefit from the savings.”
The Sierra Club, along with the Solar Energy Industries Association, the Vote Solar Initiative, and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, submitted joint comments in the PUC’s cap-calculation proceeding. The proposed decision will be considered by the entire commission at an upcoming hearing.
Established in 1995, California’s net-metering policy has helped make the state the nation’s solar leader. The policy makes solar more affordable to Californians in low- and middle-class zip codes, where solar adoption has been largest in recent years.
In place in 43 states nationwide, net-metering is one of the most important policy tools for empowering homes, businesses, schools, and public agencies to invest in solar.
Write to the Public Utility Commission at:
505 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Urge the commission to adopt the proposed decision issued in Rulemaking No. 10-05-004.