Solar job workers, solar companies, and supporters showed up in large numbers on Thursday telling Governor Newsom to protect the growth of local rooftop solar.
Last year, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) heard from large state utilities PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E, as well as long-time advocates for local solar expansion about their upcoming proposed changes to Net Metering NEM 2.0. Solar advocates, including faith and climate justice leaders, supported continuation of a strong payment for solar customers for electricity fed into the grid and no monthly fee for solar customers. The Big 3, instead, supported less local rooftop solar and more investment to go into large-scale remote solar installations that require a greater demand on production and transmission.
In December, despite a massive amount of letters, calls, and public hearings, the CPUC issued a proposed decision to impose a tax on solar customers, and drastically reduce the repayment rate for energy sent to the grid. If passed at the next CPUC meeting on January 27, this would place a significant obstacle to future solar installations and penalize current solar customers.
CIPL has been active with this campaign for almost a year for many reasons: one, keeping rooftop solar incentives strong speeds the transition to clean energy and our response to climate change; two, rooftop solar is now possible not just for the wealthy, but for households in under-served communities and all houses of worship; and three, the expansion of local solar has created tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, often for folks from communities faced with high rates of poverty and unemployment.
Thus far, CIPL’s solar petition has garnered almost one thousand signatures, the most from any campaign in CIPL’s history. It has taken its campaign nationwide as well, getting sign-ons from both California and national faith organizations that have seen attacks on local solar in many other states.
On Thursday, Jan 13, in San Francisco and Los Angeles, rallies were held demanding that Governor Newsom step in and stop the CPUC’s dangerous proposal. In Los Angeles, almost one thousand fully-masked solar supporters turned out. Speakers from the faith, solar jobs, and policy sectors inspired the crowd while shouts of “Save Solar Jobs” rang through. The rally then took to the streets, winding down to the CPUC’s Los Angeles office, and then back again to Grand Park for food trucks and further conversation. The feeling of excitement and energy was palpable, further strengthening the commitment of those present to keep solar expansion strong in the Golden State.
A final decision from the CPUC is due on January 27. To date, Governor Newsom has made non-committal remarks on the proposed decision saying that “changes need to be made.” Details are few and many in California – including the faithful – are anxiously awaiting what transpires.
If you’d like to take action, sign on to CIPL’s solar petition to Governor Newsom. Stay tuned for more!