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California Utilities Want to Tax the Sun

Utilities Propose Tax

On June 2, 2022, large crowds gathered in Los Angeles and San Francisco. But they didn’t gather to merely enjoy the warm California sun, they gathered to support it. Once again, power utilities are using bureaucracy and politics to keep their hold on California’s power supply. And once again, California residents, workers, and business owners voiced their desire for a better system.

Powered Response

Recently, power utilities and their constituents attempted another maneuver to devalue photovoltaic power systems. A few months ago, they tried to pass Net Energy Metering 3.0, a proposal to severely reduce how much credit a person gets for injecting surplus energy into California’s electrical grid. Public, commercial, and industrial outrage led to the proposal being postponed indefinitely.

Utility companies, however, are not finished. They and their supporters revised the proposal and asked the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to consider the revision. The new NEM 3.0 proposal still intends to slash payments to homeowners while increasing payments to utility companies, but in a more subtle and gradual way. Instead of fixed charges, reductions to the homeowner would be based on system size, accompanied by irrevocable charges and a new tariff on all residential homes (solar or not) to encourage community solar instead.

Public Response to NEM 3.0

Large public crowds gathered before CPUC representatives in Los Angeles and San Francisco to express their disapproval at public comment events in both cities. The events were organized by the California Solar and Storage Association. Online comments were also submitted up to seven days after the event. Many testified that non-bypassable charges and tariffs on solar power generation was essentially a “tax on the sun.”

Along with the public’s disapproval of NEM 3.0, an organization called Environment California offered another significant benefit. They found that rooftop solar systems could prevent 148,000 acres of land from being developed for the sake of utility-only progression. In other words, accepting NEM 3.0 would result in more power line distribution, more repairs on old lines, more transformer stations and storage plants, more utility support structures and vehicles. Most – if not all – of these increases could be avoided by using rooftops that are already in place to generate electricity for California residents and businesses.

Another consideration is California employment. The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) reports that the U.S. solar industry provides work for 68,000 employees in California. Also, they reported that there are over one million homes in California with solar panels on their rooftops. But according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are over 14.5 million homes in California. Even if only half of that number qualifies for solar power, it shows that there is plenty of growth available for California solar power!

Despite attempts from utility companies to “tax the sun,” recent events show that industry experts, organizations, businesses, and homeowners in California recognize the benefits of solar power systems. To find out more about how you and your home can benefit from solar power now and in the future, give Solaron a call or schedule an appointment online. We’re happy to answer all your questions about solar power systems, so you can make informed decisions. We’ll provide you with a free solar analysis that identifies what kind of panels are best for your home, how many, where they should be placed, an estimated cost, and much more.

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