A messasge from Dave Rosenfeld, Executive Director of the Solar Rights Alliance:

On December 15, 2022, the CA Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted 5-0 to effectively put solar out of reach for the millions of households, churches, schools and businesses that don’t have solar yet. The changes will go into effect in April of 2023.

The CPUC’s decision slashes by 75% the credit for sharing extra solar energy with the grid. The new rules apply to those who go solar after April 2023. States and localities that have made similar changes saw solar adoptions drop by half or more. The utilities and their allies applied tremendous pressure, spending more than $40 million in recent years. Even though more people and organizations spoke against the CPUC’s efforts than any other proceeding in CPUC history, the utilities’ point of view prevailed.

Watch an in-depth webinar outlining the details of the CPUC’s proposal

Fact sheet

Key details

  • The proposed changes will affect new solar users starting April 2023.
  • Most consumers who get solar after April 2023 will see an average 75% reduction in the credit they receive for sharing their extra energy with the grid – from an average of $.30/kWh to about $.08/kWh.
  • Churches, schools or businesses who go solar after April 2023 will see an even bigger reduction in the solar credit.
  • Protections for existing solar users will remain in place with no changes (NEM1 or NEM2) for 20 years from the date their system turned on.
  • There is no solar tax in the CPUC’s most recent proposal.

How this proposal will harm solar

  • When other states and localities made similar cuts to the solar credit, solar adoptions plummeted by half or more.
  • That’s because these deep cuts shrink the monthly savings from solar. That extends the length of time it takes to pay off a solar investment to longer than most people can afford.
  • The CPUC’s proposal will nearly double the length of time it takes for a solar investment to pay back.

Utilities will now be able to make a 4x profit off of their customers’ solar energy, even though the utility spent nothing to produce that energy.

Grassroots pushback avoided worse

The decision could have been much worse. Together, we prevented these changes from affecting California’s 1.5 million existing solar users, and we stopped the solar tax. Over the last two years, we beat back multiple efforts to pass these terrible ideas at both the CPUC and the Legislature.

Together, we organized one heck of a grassroots campaign:

  • More than 170,000 wrote, called, testified and/or protested over the last year.
  • More than 600 other nonprofits, cities, schools, Members of Congress, Mayors and other community leaders spoke up as well.
  • Our efforts sparked hundreds of stories in the newspapers and on TV and the radio, including 61 stories from our simultaneous rallies in ten cities on December 1.

It’s a good thing, too, because I’m quite sure the utilities are going to keep pushing for a solar tax, retroactive changes on existing solar users, and other gambits to get rid of rooftop solar. We are going to have to defend the moat we built together. And, I believe there is a path forward to correct the damage the CPUC just created.

Thank you for everything you have done in this fight. Nothing worthwhile is easy. This is a worthy fight and I’m proud to be in it with you.

Dave Rosenfeld, Executive Director of the Solar Rights Alliance