Thursday, November 12, 2015

ANS -- Record response: CPUC hit hard on net metering

The fossil fuel industries and other climate change deniers are trying to kill the solar industry before it gets much off the ground.  Here's the current state of this war on reality.  

Record response: CPUC hit hard on net metering

November 9, 2015 | By 

Picture this: Wheelbarrows full of signed postcards and petitions being pushed (literally) toward the offices of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in support of net metering, whereby energy consumers can generate their own energy using solar power.

Rooftop solar in Los Angeles, California. Credit: Downtowngal/Wikimedia Commons

It really happened late last week, as residents throughout California -- representing a diverse coalition of consumer, environmental, faith, public health, environmental justice, and business organizations --gathered on the CPUC steps to deliver more than 130,000 signatures in support of net metering.

This petition marks the largest number of public comments ever recorded at the CPUC on any issue.

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Among those participating in the petition drive were 350 Bay Area, California Interfaith Power & Light, California League of Conservation Voters, CalSEIA, CREDO Action, Environment California Research & Policy Center, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, SolarCity, Sunrun and Vote Solar.

"Once again, Californians all across the state are making clear that access to clean solar energy is a top priority," said Dan Jacobson, program director with Environment California Research & Policy Center. "Eliminating the primary policy that has made California the #1 solar state in the country would fly in the face of public opinion, our newly minted 50 percent renewables law, and California's ability to be a strong leader at the United Nations climate change summit in Paris next month."

The petition is in response to what solar proponents say is a plan by the state's investor-owned utilities -- Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) -- that would eliminate net metering and add new discriminatory fees, effectively making solar two to three times more expensive.

If approved, the groups say, the proposals would halt consumer solar adoption and put local jobs, public health benefits and climate progress at risk, as well as make California the first major solar state to abandon net metering. Net metering is currently in place in 44 states.

"After the signing of AB 693 (Eggman), which creates the nation's largest solar program for low-income renters, it's more important than ever to ensure our rooftop solar programs support our state's climate and clean energy goals and ensure access to solar for all," said Strela Cervas, co-director of the California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA).

A recent statewide poll of 1000 California registered voters' reveals that 90 percent favor rooftop solar as a way to generate electricity while 88 percent feel that more should be done to encourage rooftop solar. Further, 82 percent see rooftop solar as an important way to reduce the threat of climate change, and 74 percent see it as a way to reduce the need to build more power plants.

"Solar power is the most popular energy resource in California, highly favored for its ability to give consumers choice and control over how to power our homes, schools, and businesses," said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA), which commissioned the poll along with Brightline Defense. "The public is strongly opposed to utilities interfering with consumer access to solar by attacking net metering. They think the state should do more to encourage rooftop solar, not make it more expensive."

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