California delays decision on rooftop solar reform

Californian authorities stated that they needed more time to consider adopting a controversial proposal that would reform the main incentive to solar energy on the rooftops of the state.

The move is at least a temporary victory for solar installation companies such as Sunrun, Tesla and SunPower Corp that have warned of a sharp decline in installations that would hurt California’s efforts to combat climate change if the revisions were applied.

California is home to about 40% of the nation’s residential solar power capacity.

A notice to parties involved in the regulation by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) said that the commissioner assigned to the proceeding “has requested additional time to analyze the file and consider revisions to the proposed decision based on the parties’ comments.”

The commissioner, the president of the CPUC, Alice Reynolds, joined the regulator late last year and was not involved in the lengthy process to consider policy changes, known as net metering, that has underpinned California’s dramatic growth in residential solar. In recent weeks, another member has joined the five-person board.

Reynolds intends to hold oral arguments to be scheduled “at a later date,” the notice said.

Under the proposal, which was filed by the CPUC in December, homeowners would receive a lower rate for energy that their rooftop panels feed into the grid and would pay a monthly charge of $8 per kilowatt to maintain the electrical infrastructure.

The CPUC said then that the changes were necessary to encourage technology adoption of storage in batteries to be able to keep the excess energy in reserve, and affirmed that the policy amounted to a multi-million dollar subsidy to wealthy homeowners at the expense of other utility payers.

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The proposal could have been voted on by the commission as early as last month. In recent weeks, the solar energy sector has mounted a pressure campaign against the reforms.

Solar power panels in California.  |  REUTERS

“The proposed decision never made sense for a number of reasonsSean Gallagher, vice president of state and regulatory affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association, a national solar trade group, said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work with the California Public Utilities Commission as it considers any metering changes. net”.

Kathy Fairbanks, portavoz de Affordable Clean Energy for Alla group backed by utilities that has supported reforms like rates for homeowners solar energyHe said he hoped the delay “means more is being done to address the unfair cost shift that is driving up utility bills for non-solar customers.”

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