Save Our Solar

Solar Supporters,

We have good news and bad news to report on Assembly Bill 327. First the bad news: AB327 passed off the Senate floor today without inclusion of our requested amendments. The bill will now go back to the Assembly for a concurrence vote, which is widely expected to pass. From there it will go to the Governor’s desk for his signature. Unfortunately, the specific amendments we fought for were not added to the bill and therefore solar customers will lose some of their existing legal protections.

Not all is lost, here is the good news:

  1. The bill gives direction to the Public Utilities Commission to make certain that those who signed up for net-metering are afforded a reasonable pay-back period on their solar investment, based on the year the customer initially took service.
  2. The bill gives direction to the Public Utilities Commission to make certain the new rules and rates for customer generators (currently called net-metered customers) will be designed to continue to substantially grow the distributed generation market.
  3. The bill removes the 12.31.14 net-metering suspension order. This is perhaps the biggest "win" of this bill because if the arbitrary cap had not been removed, it would have been impossible to achieve the State's renewable energy goals.
  4. The bill requires the Public Utilities Commission to develop the new rules and rates for customer generators by March 31, 2014.
  5. The new rules and rates will not be applied to existing net-metered customers until such time that the Public Utilities Commission determines is reasonable. This is both a victory and a loss. We are hopeful that the Commission grandfathers existing net-metered customers for at least 20 years, when determining what is ‘reasonable’.

In summary, this bill has both good and bad components to it. Net-metered customers may be targeted with new fees but the Commission is given direction to continue to grow the market and therefore is unlikely to allow the utilities to wipe out the solar savings net-metered customers enjoy Customer generators will ultimately be transitioned to new rate tariffs, we will continue our fight at the CPUC to ensure the rules are equitable.

The groundswell of support from the petition signers, renewable energy advocates, environmental justice groups, schools, and others who spoke out meaningfully changed the direction of this bill. We thank you for your support and activism. While we did not get everything we wanted, material improvement came from the pressure we exerted.

The battle will continue on other fronts, and we fully expect to solicit your support again to beat back utility efforts to undermine our solar future. Please email us at info@saveoursolar.com so we have your email address.

We will not send emails to you for any reason other than to alert you if there are policy issues related to solar power. We will not send your info to any third party. We simply want to keep our collective voice strong. Again, please email us at info@saveoursolar.com

We are going to move this state towards clean energy whether the utilities like it or not. Onward!