ICYMI: Rooftop Solar Industry Files Two California Ballot Measures to Protect Industry Profits at the Expense of Low-Income Families and Seniors on Fixed Incomes

Posted on January 21, 2022

Measure Would Prevent Sensible Reforms to Current Rooftop Solar Subsidy Program that has Resulted in Significant Inequities

Sacramento – Solar corporations signaled a willingness to spend tens of millions to protect the profits of the rooftop solar industry and its billionaire investors by filing two California ballot initiatives with the California Attorney General last week (Measure #1Measure #2). The initiatives would maintain excessive subsidies that enrich large, publicly traded rooftop solar corporations. The subsidies are currently being paid by Californians who do not have solar. Many non-solar customers are renters, seniors on fixed income and residents who live in disadvantaged communities. 

News of the ballot measures was revealed in a Politico story Thursday and identified solar industry-backed group, Solar Rights Alliance, as sponsors of the measures. According to the story, the ballot measure would “block” changes to the state’s solar subsidy program, Net Energy Metering (NEM), now being considered by the California Public Utilities Commission.

The statement below can be attributed to Kathy Fairbanks, spokeswoman for the Affordable Clean Energy for All Coalition:

“Qualifying and passing ballot measures costs tens of millions of dollars in California. This is yet more proof that the debate over rooftop solar subsidies is about one thing only: Protecting rooftop solar subsidies because they juice the profits of large publicly traded rooftop solar corporations, their shareholders, and billionaire investors.

Unfortunately, those subsidies come at the expense of low-income families, disadvantaged communities, and seniors on fixed incomes who cannot afford or can’t purchase solar because they don’t own homes.”

“California leaders and voters remain committed to solar power. We can restructure the subsidy program to continue the growth of solar while alleviating the burden on non-solar customers who are paying higher energy bills due to the program. These ballot measures would lead to a growing financial burden on those who can least afford it.”

Affordable Clean Energy for All, the coalition of 115 groups representing electricity customers, low-income advocates, faith-based, senior, business and taxpayer groups.