Solar system in California. Author: Matt Montagne. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.
November 11 (Renewables Now) - The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on Thursday announced a revised proposal on changes to solar net metering in the state after its previous proposal in December 2021 caused a backlash from solar supporters and was subsequently shelved.
CPUC said its proposal supports the solar and battery storage industry and will save average residential customers installing solar USD 100 a month and those installing solar plus a battery at least USD 136 a month. It estimates that new solar and solar plus battery storage customers will be able to pay off their systems in up to nine years.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said that the proposal replaces retail rate compensation with a net billing structure for new customers.
“The CPUC rightly rejected proposals to impose unprecedented grid access fees on new solar and storage customers. However, additional work is needed to ensure a more gradual transition to net billing so that all Californians, including schools, farms and low-income residents can adopt solar and storage,” commented SEIA president and chief executive Abigail Ross Hopper.
The California Solar & Storage Association (CALSSA) said that while the proposal avoids solar taxes and fees, the reduction in export rates would make solar less affordable and called for further adjustments.
According to its initial analysis, the proposal would reduce the average export rate in California from USD 0.30 per kW to USD 0.08 per kW with effect from April 2023. “An immediate 75% reduction of net energy metering credits does not support a growing solar market in California,” said CALSSA executive director Bernadette Del Chiaro.
According to CALSSA, 1.5 million consumers currently use net metering and distributed solar energy systems have brought 13 GW of solar energy to the state.