After almost a year of watching and waiting and reading tea leaves and anxious anticipation, a new proposal for billing and crediting solar roof owners has been released by government regulators – and everyone can still find something to hate!
This edition of the proposal would change that New Rooftop solar system owners are paid to feed energy into the grid based on how much solar energy is available at the time. But – and this is a tremendously big but – it would Not affect existing Rooftop solar system owners who maintain their current tariff plans for 20 years after connecting their systems to the grid.
In the future, people who install new systems that use batteries to store solar power and who can pump energy into the grid after dark when it’s needed most would get the most attractive compensation. People without batteries, just pumping excess energy into the grid during the day – when it’s already plentiful – would get less compensation.
The idea, of course, is to push people to save. That’s because solar owners without batteries have to pull energy off the grid at night just like everyone else, forcing utilities to ramp up fossil-fueled plants, making the whole climate change thing worse.
“To support this evolution and industry growth, the proposal provides additional credits for residential customers who adopt solar over the next five years, allowing the industry to gradually transition from solar-only sales to solar plus battery storage sales,” California said This was announced by the Public Utilities Commission in a prepared statement.
The new proposal for what is officially known as “Net Energy Metering” will be discussed (and contested) at the CPUC meeting on December 15. People can read and comment on the proposal at apps.cpuc.ca.gov/p/R2008020.
Critics of the current system are bitterly disappointed.
They say that the way things are structured now, solar owners are escaping the significant costs of maintaining the electricity grid, putting a burden of about $4 billion a year on people without solar power “forever.”
“It is extremely disappointing that under this proposal, low-income families and all non-solar customers will continue to pay a hidden tax on their electric bills to subsidize rooftop solar for mostly wealthier Californians,” said Kathy Fairbanks, spokeswoman for Affordable Clean Energy for All a prepared statement.
“The failure to finally address the growing cost burden of non-solar customers in California is particularly problematic given the billions of dollars in new government clean energy subsidies that will ensure continued growth and healthy profits for big solar companies over the next decade.”
Separately, the PUC is looking to restructure the way fixed charges are charged, away from volume-based charges and towards a “fixed income-based fee” for all residential customers, likely including those with solar power. This “would further reduce cost shifts through a fair approach to the distribution of electricity costs,” says the proposed resolution.
Even the champions of the solar industry, who want things to stay exactly the way they are, have been disappointed.
Although the proposal avoids higher fixed fees for current solar owners to pay for grid maintenance – what they call “unfair and illegal solar taxes and fees” – they fear it will make solar less affordable by reducing the credit consumers have to pay for the grid Providing their excess solar power will get energy back into the grid. Apparently, while everyone is still digesting the proposal, it would cut the average loan in California by nearly three-quarters, from 30 cents to 8 cents per kilowatt.
“The CPUC’s new proposed decision would really hurt,” Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar & Storage Association, said in a prepared statement. “It needs more work or it will replace the solar tax with a sharp drop in solar power. An immediate 75 percent reduction in net energy metering credits does not support a growing solar market in California.
“If passed unchanged, the CPUC proposal would protect utility monopolies and increase their profits, while making solar energy less affordable and delaying the goal of 100 percent clean energy. California needs more solar power and more solar-charged batteries, not less. We call on Governor Newsom and the CPUC to make further adjustments.”
The new proposal would save a residential solar customer an average of $100 per month and a residential Solar Plus battery storage customer an average of at least $136 per month, the PUC said in a press release. Again, just to be clear it would have no impact on existing solar roof customers, who would maintain their existing pay rates, the PUC said.
The proposals would also give eligible customers access to $900 million — with $630 million earmarked for low-income customers — to boost solar-coupled-with-storage systems and standalone storage. This funding will make these systems easier for eligible customers to access and further support Solar’s sustained growth, the proposal reads.
The average new solar and solar-plus-battery storage customer would pay off their systems in full with their savings in nine years or less, the PUC said. And again the proposal no impact on existing rooftop solar customers, who maintain their current rates of remuneration.
“Affordability is at the forefront of this process as it has been determined that there is a significant and growing shift in costs in the previous tariff and to a lesser extent in the adopted successor tariff,” the proposed resolution reads. “The successor tariff adopted in this decision is intended to compensate customers for the value of their feeds into the grid… This improved rating will significantly reduce cost shifting and improve affordability for non-participating planpayers, particularly low-income planpayers.”
There are currently more than a million rooftop solar homes in California, the vast majority without battery storage. California’s goal is to be fully renewable by mid-century.
The PUC was required by a 2013 law to address the shift in costs from solar to non-solar homes. His first proposal, released last December, would have charged all solar owners a higher fixed-cost fee and changed the way credit for exported energy works. When rooftop solar system owners went ballistic, the proposal was withdrawn. Now current owners are exempt from changes. One could argue that they won.
“The update moves the solar industry into the future so it can support the modern grid by incentivizing solar power coupled with battery storage and the adoption of electric vehicles, heat pump water heaters and other electrification devices, while making tariffs more affordable for Californians. ‘ the PUC said in a prepared statement. It “continues to support the solar industry as it evolves into a marketplace for solar and battery storage that will empower the local green energy economy.
https://www.ocregister.com/2022/11/10/current-rooftop-solar-owners-would-escape-big-changes-under-new-proposal/ Current rooftop solar system owners would miss out on major changes under the new proposal – Orange County Register