CPUC Takes Steps to Fix the Unfair Customer Cost Shift Created by 25-Year-Old Rooftop Solar Program

Posted on December 13, 2021

If Adopted, the Updated Program Would Help Ensure All Customers Contribute Equitably to State’s Electric Grid So Non-Solar Customers No Longer Shoulder an Unfair Burden

Sacramento –Affordable Clean Energy for All, the coalition of 115 groups representing electricity customers, low-income advocates, faith-based, senior, business and taxpayer groups, offered the following statement in response to the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC’s) proposed decision on Net Energy Metering (NEM), the state’s rooftop solar subsidy program. The statement can be attributed to Kathy Fairbanks, spokeswoman for the coalition:

“The CPUC’s proposed decision recognizes we can grow rooftop solar in California while taking steps to reduce inflated subsidies that have put an unfair cost burden on renters, seniors, disadvantaged communities and other working Californians who don’t have the ability or means to install rooftop solar systems.

“Although the proposed decision does not eliminate the cost shift, it is encouraging that steps may soon be taken to modernize a policy that has forced non-solar customers to bear an unfair burden of the expenses associated with the electric grid and mandated public policy programs. Currently, Californians who don’t have solar panels are paying about $245 more each year in electric bills to cover the costs for those who do have rooftop solar. If NEM isn’t fixed, that $245 per year cost shift will grow to $555 per year by 2030. 

“The solar industry will tell you the ‘sky is falling.’ but what they won’t say is that the cost of rooftop solar has dropped 70% while the subsidies have continued to increase over the past 25 years. They won’t say that current NEM subsidies make rooftop solar the most expensive source of clean energy – 8x costlier than the market value of solar energy. They won’t say that rooftop solar continues to grow in states where NEM has been reformed and subsidies better reflect the actual value of the energy exported to the grid.  

“It’s time to update this 25-year-old program so we can more affordably accomplish our clean energy goals.”